As southeast Brazil grapples with its worst drought in nearly a century, a problem worsened by polluted rivers, deforestation and population growth, the largest reservoir system serving São Paulo is near depletion. Many residents are already enduring sporadic water cutoffs, some going days without it. Officials say that drastic rationing may be needed, with water service provided only two days a week.
As far as we know, life needs water to survive — and lots of it to thrive. Ceres is the closest large celestial body to Earth which is thought to have an abundance of fresh water. It is also closest to the sun of any large icy body, which along with possible interior heat might warm it enough for subsurface liquid water to exist.
Important criteria for a human outpost in space are available resources. Dozens of probes have been tasked with finding water deposits on the Moon and Mars. Ceres may in fact have more water than we would ever need.
Thus, Ceres would not only be a great place to search for life, but a possible future destination for manned missions and outposts as well.
Ceres is also interesting historically. First it was a Planet, then it was an Asteroid, and now it is a Dwarf Planet. The one mission to Ceres, NASA’s Dawn Mission, was cancelled, reinstated, told to “Stand Down”, “Indefinitely Postponed”, publicly cancelled, placed under review, and finally reinstated and given a go for launch in June 2007. While Ceres may be one of the gems of our solar system, its nomenclature and single planned mission have had a turbulent past.
A team of MIT researchers has found a novel way to mimic the process by which plants use the power of sunlight to split water and make chemical fuel to power their growth. In this case, the team used a modified virus as a kind of biological scaffold that can assemble the nanoscale components needed to split the hydrogen and oxygen atoms of a water molecule.
Splitting water is one way to solve the basic problem of solar energy: It’s only available when the sun shines. By using sunlight to make hydrogen from water, the hydrogen can then be stored and used at any time to generate electricity using a fuel cell, or to make liquid fuels (or be used directly) for cars and trucks.
Pentagon-backed researchers have come up with a novel new way to purify water: Just add bacteria.
Scientists at Sam Houston State University (SHSU) have successfully designed portable, efficient, bacteria-based water treatment units. Two of the devices are on their way to Army bases in Afghanistan, and the research team is in talks with the Pentagon about sending a working prototype to help relief efforts in Haiti.
The systems, called “bio-reactors,” clean putrid water using the same bacteria you’d find in a handful of dirt. The bacteria filter the water, then eat up the sludge that’s a common byproduct of waste treatment. It’s all done in less than 24 hours, and from devices smaller than a standard shipping crate.
There is water on the Moon, scientists stated unequivocally on Friday, and considerable amounts of it.
“Indeed yes, we found water,” Anthony Colaprete, the principal investigator for NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, said in a news conference.
The confirmation of scientists’ suspicions is welcome news both to future explorers who might set up home on the lunar surface and to scientists who hope that the water, in the form of ice accumulated over billions of years, could hold a record of the solar system’s history.
Chewang Norphel, 76, has “built” 12 new glaciers already and is racing to create five more before he dies.
By then he hopes he will have trained enough new “icemen” to continue his work and save the world’s “third icecap” from being transformed into rivers. […]
By diverting meltwater through a network of pipes into artificial lakes in the shaded side of mountain valleys, he says he has created new glaciers. […]
So far, Mr Norphel’s glaciers have been able to each store up to one million cubic feet of ice, which in turn can irrigate 200 hectares of farm land. For farmers, that can make the difference between crop failure and a bumper crop of more than 1,000 tons of wheat.
As part of the upcoming Aqua Metropolis festival in Osaka, engineering firm NTT Facilities has developed a pair of solar-powered, UFO-shaped floating water purifiers that will be deployed in the city’s canals and in the moat at Osaka Castle.
Oil companies have gained control over billions of gallons of water from Western rivers in preparation for future efforts to extract oil from shale deposits under the Rocky Mountains, according to a new report by an environmental group that opposes such projects.
The group, Western Resource Advocates, used public records to conclude that energy companies are collectively entitled to divert more than 6.5 billion gallons of water a day during peak river flows. The companies also hold rights to store, in dozens of reservoirs, 1.7 million acre feet of water, enough to supply metro Denver for six years.
ndustry representatives said they have substantial holdings of water rights for future use in producing oil from shale, though they could not confirm the precise numbers in the report.