Algal blooms that feed on nutrient-rich manure and fertilizer runoff can deplete oxygen in the water when they die, creating inhospitable dead zones -- but the same green scum might also serve as a preventive solution upstream. A microbiologist with the U.S. Agricultural Research Service used algae to recover almost 100 percent of nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients from manure, and suggested that the dried-out algae can then act as slow-release fertilizer for farms.
A thin film of water ice and organic materials coats the space rock named 24 Themis, according to a study released today. That discovery marks the first-ever direct detection of water ice on an asteroid, and adds evidence to theories about how asteroids could have brought water and organic material to a primordial Earth.
A NASA telescope on Hawaii's Mauna Kea helped scientists gauge the spectrum of infrared sunlight reflected by 24 Themis. Their findings revealed a spectrum consistent with both frozen water and organic material on the 124-mile-wide asteroid, which sits halfway between Mars and Jupiter.
Space station residents could soon get a new choice for drinking water beyond urine, sweat, and vapor. A water generation system which can extract water from hydrogen and carbon dioxide waste products has reached the space station, according to Aviation Week.
The Sabatier Reactor System could create as much as 2,000 pounds of water per year when it officially goes online in several months. It uses the chemical process discovered by French Nobel laureate and chemist Paul Sabatier, who found that elevated temperatures and pressures could turn hydrogen and carbon dioxide into methane and water.
After years of patrolling New York City's water ways in antiquated, decades-old boats, the New York Fire and Police Departments are upgrading to some of the most technologically advanced vessels this side of an Aegis Cruiser. The modernized boats, a 45-footer for the cops and a 140-footer for the firemen, will give the departments greater range and speed, with the ability to deal with more dangerous situations.
With 884 million people lacking a reliable source of clean drinking water, droughts throughout Africa and the Middle East exacerbating already tense situations, and global warming only making those problems worse, finding water for the world's most arid regions is more important than ever. Luckily, the same technology used to look for life-supporting water on Mars may be able to find similar sources of underground water here on Earth.
High costs, in money and energy, limit the usefulness of desalination as a way to provide drinkable water in disaster areas. However, a new method could lead to portable desalination devices simple enough to run off solar power or a battery, but powerful enough to supply a family, or even a small village, with clean water. Additionally, the new desalination device also cleanses water of biological contaminants.
Last year's "moon bombing" proved that water ice exists beneath the lunar south pole, but new findings from a NASA instrument aboard an Indian orbiter have determined that tons of water ice is hiding on the lunar surface in permanently shadowed craters at the north pole as well.
Replacing treatment plants that use too much power, and 19th-century networks of leaky pipes
By Adam M. BrightPosted 01.29.2010 at 9:51 am 4 Comments
Our water infrastructure is older than our roads and power grid, with many pipes sitting in trenches dug by hand in the 1800s. In parts of the Northeast, up to 50 percent of our clean water leaks into the ground between the treatment center and the tap. Across the country, we lose an average of seven billion gallons of drinking water a day to leaks—and we have an 800,000-mile network of pipes that needs constant monitoring and repair. We also use far too much energy treating all our water, regardless of its end use, and piping it long distances. Besides fixing up the nation's pipes, the future of water is cleaning only what we need.
The World Health Organization estimates that around one sixth of the world lacks access to clean drinking water. Since those billion people are also the poorest people in the world, water purification techniques need to be cheap to help those most in need. Since it activates under plain visible light, this new water-purifying photocatalyst may help bring purer water to the world's neediest people.
The invention of plastics in the mid-1800s changed human civilization as profoundly as our earlier mastery of fire, bronze, and steel. Unfortunately, the environmental and health effects of plastic offer a significant downside to such a useful and affordable material. Now, scientists at the University of Tokyo, Japan, have developed a clay-based hydrogel that they hope will perform the same functions as plastic, but do so without endangering people or the planet.