The statement, attributed to Sarah Scalese, SU’s senior associate vice president for communications, reads:
“Over the last several hours, our team, as well as outside engineers have conducted a full review of what caused a game official to spot a few droplets of water on the court at the stadium last night. We have determined that the moisture was the result of condensation, not a leak from the roof. This is the first winter with our new roof, as well as a new heating and cooling system, and we are still fine-tuning the management of this system. We have resolved this issue and are ready to host the men’s basketball game this evening against Niagara.”
The men’s basketball game against Niagara is scheduled for 8 p.m. tonight in the Dome. The SU women’s game was delayed 45 minutes Wednesday after water was discovered on the hardwood floor. The game was eventually moved to the Melo Center, where it was initially declared a scrimmage and then later upgraded to an actual game.
Donna Ditota is a reporter for the Syracuse Post-Standard and Syracuse.com. Got a comment or idea for a story? Reach her at [email protected]
Organisms excrete DNA in their surroundings through metabolic waste, sloughed skin cells or gametes, and this genetic material is referred to as environmental DNA (eDNA).
As eDNA can be collected directly from water, soil or air, and analysed using molecular tools with no need to capture the organisms themselves, this genetic information can be used to report biodiversity in bulk. For instance, the presence of many fish species can be identified simultaneously by sampling and sequencing eDNA from water, while avoiding harmful capture methods, such as netting, trapping or electrofishing, currently used for fish monitoring.
While the eDNA approach has already been applied in a number of studies concerning fish diversity in different types of aquatic habitats: rivers, lakes and marine systems, its efficiency in quantifying species abundance (number of individuals per species) is yet to be determined. Even though previous studies, conducted in controlled aquatic systems, such as aquaria, experimental tanks and artificial ponds, have reported positive correlation between the DNA quantity found in the water and the species abundance, it remains unclear how the results would fare in natural environments.
However, a research team from the University of Hull together with the Environment Agency (United Kingdom), took the rare opportunity to use an invasive species eradication programme carried out in a UK fishery farm as the ultimate case study to evaluate the success rate of eDNA sampling in identifying species abundance in natural aquatic habitats. Their findings were published in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal Metabarcoding and Metagenomics.
“Investigating the quantitative power of eDNA in natural aquatic habitats is difficult, as there is no way to ascertain the real species abundance and biomass (weight) in aquatic systems, unless catching all target organisms out of water and counting/measuring them all,” explains Cristina Di Muri, Ph.D. student at the University of Hull.
During the eradication, the original fish ponds were drained and all fish, except the problematic invasive species: the topmouth gudgeon, were placed in a new pond, while the original ponds were treated with a piscicide to remove the invasive fish. After the eradication, the fish were returned to their original ponds. In the meantime, all individuals were counted, identified and weighed from experts, allowing for the precise estimation of fish abundance and biomass.
“We then carried out our water sampling and ran genetic analysis to assess the diversity and abundance of fish genetic sequences, and compared the results with the manually collected data. We found strong positive correlations between the amount of fish eDNA and the actual fish species biomass and abundance, demonstrating the existence of a strong association between the amount of fish DNA sequences in water and the actual fish abundance in natural aquatic environments”, reports Di Muri.
The scientists successfully identified all fish species in the ponds: from the most abundant
Unlike NASA’s MOXIE, this new technology can produce oxygen and hydrogen from salty water
The team behind this device wants to partner with NASA for its goal of bringing humans to Mars by 2023
Apart from Martian missions, the new technology is also useful on Earth
Access to water and fuel remains to be the biggest barrier to manned missions to Mars. The good news is that a new electrolyzer technology could trample that obstacle, making it possible for humans to survive the extreme conditions on the Red Planet.
A team of engineers developed an electrolyzer device that can turn salty water into fuel and oxygen. Details of their development were published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
This device can produce 25 times more oxygen than NASA’s Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE), which is currently used by the Perseverance rover that’s currently on its way to Mars.
Unlike MOXIE, which produces oxygen from carbon dioxide, the new tech from the engineers of Washington University can produce both oxygen and hydrogen even from salty water.
“Our novel brine electrolyzer incorporates a lead ruthenate pyrochlore anode developed by our team in conjunction with a platinum on carbon cathode,” Vijay Ramani, lead author and professor at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University, said in a press release.
“These carefully designed components coupled with the optimal use of traditional electrochemical engineering principles has yielded this high performance,” he explained further.
The team hopes it could partner with NASA for its goal of bringing humans to Mars by 2023. After all, it performed a simulation of the Martian atmosphere at -33 degrees Fahrenheit in testing its brine electrolysis device.
Salty water is abundant on Mars, a fact that has already been established by various studies in the past. In September, three underground lakes were also discovered on the Red Planet. The waters were found to contain extremely salty components.
Apart from Martian missions, the technology is also useful on Earth, according to the engineers. The standard electrolysis device on Earth requires pure water, whereas this new device can make oxygen and fuel even from salty water, making it more economical to use.
The electrolysis system also has diverse applications. For instance, submarines for deep ocean exploration can rely on the system to produce enough supply of oxygen and fuel from salty water.
Mars seen from the Hubble space telescopePhoto: NASA / NASA
During the two centuries Western archaeologists have excavated and investigated ancient Maya sites, comparatively little time has been spent understanding the structures that kept cities functioning for centuries. “Unfortunately, there’s this almost 200 year legacy of people focused on burial chambers and temples and hieroglyphics,” says Kenneth Tankersley, an archaeological geologist at the University of Cincinnati. “No one had been asking the question, ‘well, how did these people survive in this biologically stressful environment?'”
But over time, a decidedly mundane portion of ancient Maya life has entered the spotlight: water management. Research and excavations have gradually shown that ancient civilizations in what is now Mexico, Guatemala and Belize modifiedlandscapes to ensure regional water cycles worked for farmers and fed thriving cities. In a stretch of land hit with alternating hurricanes and droughts, Maya ancestors scooped out reservoirs and dug drainage systems capable of holding and transporting water. And the more researchers learn, the more the forged landscapes shine as marvels of ancient Maya culture.
A Flawed Western Perspective
When early archaeologists first examined ancient Maya remains, they fixated on wealth and power, such as temples, graves and their extravagant contents. This was in part because the investigators themselves were rich. The work was a hobby conducted and funded by wealthy Europeans. “Early gentlemen scholars were interested in the elite because they were elite,” says Adrian Chase, an archaeologist at Arizona State University. Europeans also first arrived in Central America on a quest for wealth. That attitude — and search — bled into the first archaeological explorations. Additionally, Western ideas about agriculture influenced how researchers thought residents could put land to use. Dense jungle seemed somewhat impossible to transform into agricultural fields for those who were used to seeing flat plains.
As research continued over the years, archaeologists began to reconsider their assumptions. In the 1970s, attempts to map Tikal, a major Maya city in Guatemala, showed that it was so densely populated that the inhabitants must have relied on a kind of agriculture that farmed the same plots of land repeatedly. It seemed to be the only way to feed a relatively packed metropolis.
Further excavations showed that terraces, or giant shallow steps, carved into hillsides contain layers of modified soil. Each step carries so few rocks that residents must have intentionally removed material from the Earth, and the design of each step allowed water to flow from one to the next.
In the early 2000s, LiDAR technology made its way into ancient Maya research projects. The imaging system emits bursts of radar beams from above and builds a topographic map of the land below by tracking where each of those beams makes contact. LiDAR maps can show a landscape as if it were stripped of any plants — a particularly handy feature when working with former Maya settlements now covered in dense jungle.
With this technology, archaeologists started to see the landscape features, reservoirs and terraces with exceptional detail. They also saw buried infrastructure they didn’t necessarily know
Researchers at Ehime University have recently measured the propagation speed of ultrasonic waves in an aluminum-rich hydrous mineral called Al-phase D at pressure conditions relevant to the Earth’s deep mantle. Their results suggest that seismic shear anomalies observed locally beneath subduction zones may reveal the presence of hydrous minerals in the uppermost lower mantle, which would have important implications for the Earth’s interior because hydrogen affects considerably the physical and chemical properties of mantle minerals.
Since the discovery of a water-bearing ringwoodite specimen trapped in a superdeep diamond from Brazil by Pearson et al. in 2014 (published in Nature), there is a regained interest for finding and characterizing the potential carrier and host minerals of water in the deep Earth’s interior. Among the candidate minerals, Dense Hydrous Magnesium Silicates (DHMSs) are considered as primary water carriers from the shallow lithosphere to the deep mantle transition zone (MTZ; 410–660 km in depth), but because of their relative instability against pressure (P) and temperature (T), DHMSs were generally associated with the presence of water up to the middle-part of the MTZ.
An experimental study also published in 2014 in the journal Nature Geoscience however showed that when aluminum incorporates DHMSs, their stability against P and T is drastically improved, allowing those minerals to transport and host water up to depths of 1200 km in the lower mantle (Pamato et al., 2014). Their experiments indeed showed that the aluminum-bearing DHMS mineral called Al-phase D is likely to form at the uppermost lower mantle P and T conditions, from the recrystallization of hydrous melt at the boundary of the mantle and the subducted slab. Although this reaction was justified by laboratory experiments, there were no direct measurement of the sound velocities of Al-phase D and therefore it was difficult to associate the presence of Al-rich hydrated rocks to the seismic observations at the bottom of the MTZ and in the uppermost lower mantle.
The researchers at Ehime successfully measured the longitudinal (VP) and shear (VS) velocities, as well as the density of Al-phase D, up to 22 GPa and 1300 K by mean of synchrotron X-ray techniques combined with ultrasonic measurements in situ at high P and and T, in the multi-anvil apparatus located at the beamline BL04B1 in SPring-8 (Hyogo, Japan). The results of their experiments provided a clear understanding of the sound velocities of Al-phase D under a wide P and T range, allowing for modeling the seismic velocities of hydrous rocks in the inner and outer parts of the subducted slab (Image 1). From these models they showed that the presence of an
When it comes to water and Mars, there’s good news and not-so-good news. The good news: there’s water on Mars! The not-so-good news?
There’s water on Mars.
The Red Planet is very cold; water that isn’t frozen is almost certainly full of salt from the Martian soil, which lowers its freezing temperature.
You can’t drink salty water, and the usual method using electricity (electrolysis) to break it down into oxygen (to breathe) and hydrogen (for fuel) requires removing the salt; a cumbersome, costly endeavor in a harsh, dangerous environment.
If oxygen and hydrogen could be directly coerced out of briny water, however, that brine electrolysis process would be much less complicated—and less expensive.
Engineers at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis have developed a system that does just that. Their research was published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
The research team, led by Vijay Ramani, the Roma B. and Raymond H. Wittcoff Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering, didn’t simply validate its brine electrolysis system under typical terrestrial conditions; the system was examined in a simulated Martian atmosphere at -33 F (-36 C).
“Our Martian brine electrolyzer radically changes the logistical calculus of missions to Mars and beyond” said Ramani. “This technology is equally useful on Earth where it opens up the oceans as a viable oxygen and fuel source”
In the summer of 2008, NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander “touched and tasted” Martian water, vapors from melted ice dug up by the lander. Since then, the European Space Agency’s Mars Express has discovered several underground ponds of water which remain in a liquid state thanks to the presence of magnesium perchlorate—salt.
In order to live—even temporarily—on Mars, not to mention to return to Earth, astronauts will need to manufacture some of the necessities, including water and fuel, on the Red Planet. NASA’s Perseverance rover is en-route to Mars now, carrying instruments that will use high-temperature electrolysis. However, the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) will be producing oxygen only, from the carbon dioxide in the air.
The system developed in Ramani’s lab can produce 25 times more oxygen than MOXIE using the same amount of power. It also produces hydrogen, which could be used to fuel astronauts’ trip home.
“Our novel brine electrolyzer incorporates a lead ruthenate pyrochlore anode developed by our team in conjunction with a platinum on carbon cathode” Ramani said. “These carefully designed components coupled with the optimal use of traditional electrochemical engineering principles has yielded this high performance.”
The careful design and unique anode allow the system to function without the need for heating or purifying the water source.
“Paradoxically, the dissolved perchlorate in the water, so-called impurities, actually help in an environment like that of Mars,” said Shrihari Sankarasubramanian, a research scientist in Ramani’s group and joint first author of the paper.
“They prevent the water from freezing,” he said, “and
In its bulk liquid form, whether in a bathtub or an ocean, water is a relatively benign substance with little chemical activity. But down at the scale of tiny droplets, water can turn surprisingly reactive, Stanford researchers have discovered.
In microdroplets of water, just millionths of a meter wide, a portion of the H2O molecules present can convert into a close chemical cousin, hydrogen peroxide, H2O2, a harsh chemical commonly used as a disinfectant and hair bleaching agent.
Stanford scientists first reported this unexpected behavior in forcibly sprayed microdroplets of water last year. Now in a new study, the research team has shown the same Jekyll-and-Hyde transformation happens when microdroplets simply condense from the air onto cold surfaces. The new results suggest that water’s hydrogen peroxide transformation is a general phenomenon, occurring in fogs, mists, raindrops and wherever else microdroplets form naturally.
The surprising discovery could lead to greener methods for disinfecting surfaces or promoting chemical reactions. “We’ve shown that the process of forming hydrogen peroxide in water droplets is a widespread and surprising phenomenon that’s been happening right under our noses,” said study senior author Richard Zare, the Marguerite Blake Wilbur Professor in Natural Science and a professor of chemistry in the Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences.
The researchers also speculate that this newly recognized chemical ability of water could have played a key role in jumpstarting the chemistry for life on Earth billions of years ago, as well as produced our planet’s first atmospheric oxygen before life emerged. “This spontaneous production of hydrogen peroxide may be a missing part of the story of how the building blocks of life were formed on early,” Zare said.
The co-lead authors of the new study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, are Stanford staff scientists Jae Kyoo Lee and Hyun Soo Han.
Along with Zare and other Stanford colleagues, Lee and Han made the initial discovery of hydrogen peroxide production in water microdroplets last year. Some outside researchers who went over the study’s results were skeptical, Zare said, that such a potentially common phenomenon could have gone undiscovered for so long. Debate also ensued over just how the hydrogen peroxide would ever actually form.
“The argument was that people have been studying water aerosols for years, and of course water is ubiquitous and has been intensively studied since the dawn of modern science, so if this hydrogen peroxide formation in microdroplets were real, surely someone would have seen it already,” said Zare. “That led us to want to explore the phenomenon further, to see in what other circumstances it might occur, as well as learn more about the fundamental chemistry going on.”
More than 2,000 years ago, the Maya built a complex water filtration system out of materials collected miles away. Now, reports Michelle Starr for Science Alert, researchers conducting excavations at the ancient city of Tikal in northern Guatemala have discovered traces of this millennia-old engineering marvel.
As detailed in the journal Scientific Reports, the study’s authors found that the Maya built the Corriental reservoir filtration system as early as 2,185 years ago, not long after settlement of Tikal began around 300 B.C.
The system—which relied on crystalline quartz and zeolite, a compound of silicon and aluminum, to create what the researchers call a “molecular sieve” capable of removing harmful microbes, heavy metals and other pollutants—remained in use until the city’s abandonment around 1100. Today, the same minerals are used in modern water filtration systems.
“What’s interesting is this system would still be effective today and the Maya discovered it more than 2,000 years ago,” says lead author Kenneth Barnett Tankersley, an archaeologist at the University of Cincinnati, in a statement.
According to Science Alert, archaeologists previously thought that the first use of zeolite for water filtration dated to the early 20th century. Researchers have documented other types of water systems—including ones centered on sand, gravel, plants and cloth—used in Egypt, Greece and South Asia as early as the 15th century B.C.
“A lot of people look at Native Americans in the Western Hemisphere as not having the same engineering or technological muscle of places like Greece, Rome, India or China,” says Tankersley. “But when it comes to water management, the Maya were millennia ahead.”
Per the statement, water quality would have been a major concern for the ancient Maya, as Tikal and other cities across the empire were built on porous limestone that left little water available during seasonal droughts. Without a purification system, drinking from the Corriental reservoir would have made people sick due to the presence of cyanobacteria and similarly toxic substances.
Members of the research team previously found that other reservoirs in the area were polluted with mercury, possibly from pigment the Maya used on walls and in burials. As Kiona N. Smith reported for Ars Technica in June, drinking and cooking water for Tikal’s elite appear to have come from two sources that contained high levels of mercury: the Palace and Temple Reservoirs. Comparatively, the new research shows that Corriental was free of contamination.
The researchers write that the Maya probably found the quartz and zeolite about 18 miles northeast of the city, around the Bajo de Azúcar, where the materials naturally purified the water.
“It was probably through very clever empirical observation that the ancient Maya saw this particular material was associated with clean water and made some effort to carry it back,” says co-author Nicholas P. Dunning, a geographer at the University of Cincinnati, in the statement. “They
A meteorite that originated on Mars billions of years ago reveals details of ancient impact events on the red planet. Certain minerals from the Martian crust in the meteorite are oxidized, suggesting the presence of water during the impact that created the meteorite. The finding helps to fill some gaps in knowledge about the role of water in planet formation.
There’s a longstanding question in planetary science about the origin of water on Earth, Mars and other large bodies such as the moon. One hypothesis says that it came from asteroids and comets post-formation. But some planetary researchers think that water might just be one of many substances that occur naturally during the formation of planets. A new analysis of an ancient Martian meteorite adds support for this second hypothesis.
Several years ago, a pair of dark meteorites were discovered in the Sahara Desert. They were dubbed NWA 7034 and NWA 7533, where NWA stands for North West Africa and the number is the order in which meteorites are officially approved by the Meteoritical Society, an international planetary science organization. Analysis showed these meteorites are new types of Martian meteorites and are mixtures of different rock fragments.
The earliest fragments formed on Mars 4.4 billion years ago, making them the oldest known Martian meteorites. Rocks like this are rare and can fetch up to $10,000 per gram. But recently 50 grams of NWA 7533 was acquired for analysis by the international team in which Professor Takashi Mikouchi at the University of Tokyo was participating.
“I study minerals in Martian meteorites to understand how Mars formed and its crust and mantle evolved. This is the first time I have investigated this particular meteorite, nicknamed Black Beauty for its dark color,” said Mikouchi. “Our samples of NWA 7533 were subjected to four different kinds of spectroscopic analysis, ways of detecting chemical fingerprints. The results led our team to draw some exciting conclusions.”
It’s well known to planetary scientists that there has been water on Mars for at least 3.7 billion years. But from the mineral composition of the meteorite, Mikouchi and his team deduced it’s likely there was water present much earlier, at around 4.4 billion years ago.
“Igneous clasts, or fragmented rock, in the meteorite are formed from magma and are commonly caused by impacts and oxidation,” said Mikouchi. “This oxidation could have occurred if there was water present on or in the Martian crust 4.4 billion years ago during an impact that melted part of the crust. Our analysis also suggests such an impact would have released a lot of hydrogen, which would have contributed to planetary warming at a time when Mars already had a thick insulating atmosphere of carbon dioxide.”
If there was water on Mars earlier than thought, that suggests water is possibly a natural byproduct of some process early on in planet formation. This finding could help researchers answer the
I’m not alone in this, right? As a water lover — yes, we exist — I’m always chasing what food critic Jeffrey Steingarten refers to in his 1997 book, The Man Who Ate Everything: “that pure, clear, ethereal Alpine spring of our imaginations.” I picture moon water to be my ethereal Alpine spring: glacially cold and crisp; satisfyingly thirst-quenching; achingly crystalline.
Sadly, I may never know the joys of sipping on a refreshing glass of lunar liquid. The water isn’t hidden away in small ice-cold grottos tucked below the moon’s surface, like I was hoping. Instead, these water molecules are spread so far away from each other that they don’t even technically form a liquid. “To be clear, this is not puddles of water, but instead water molecules that are so spread apart that they do not form ice or liquid water,” Casey I. Honniball, the lead author of the study published in Nature Astronomy, said in a phone press briefing. A NASA press release stated that the Sahara desert has 100 times the amount of water than what was detected on the moon.
It will take scientists a long time to figure out how to gather up and mash together enough of those molecules to fill up the first Lunar Water™ bottle. (I think that’s how it’ll work, anyway.) Until then, here’s everything we know about the liquid that we really should be calling Moon Juice.
How exactly do we know that the moon is wet?
Scientists have suspected that there’s been water on the moon for a while now — they just didn’t know what kind: H2O (the stuff we drink) and hydroxyl (the stuff you find in drain cleaner). Big difference — and something you probably want to know before you take a swig.
That’s where NASA’s flying observatory, SOFIA, came in. (Yes, it took a womxn!). SOFIA, aka Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, is a modified Boeing that NASA uses as an observational aircraft. It allowed the scientists to study the moon’s surface in more detail — using a six micron wavelength, versus the puny three micron wavelength they’d been relying on before. This confirmed that the chemical signature of much of what’s on the surface of the moon is, indeed, the good ol’ H2O, said Honniball.
Even better? That water is cold. Another study confirmed that ice covers more of the moon than we once thought. It’s not just sticking at the moon’s poles, but scattered in shadowed pockets across the moon’s surface.
Where does the moon water come from?
Okay, so we now know the moon is a WAPlanet. But how? “The water that we observed has two potential sources,” Honniball explained during the press briefing. “It could be either from the solar wind or micrometeorites.” In other words, solar wind