Titan Methane Lakes
April 17, 2013 08:03 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Lakes and all bodies of liquid on a world's surface come and go over time. Titan has vast lakes of liquid Methane. By tracking a part of the surface of Saturn's moon Titan over several years, NASA's Cassini mission has found a remarkable longevity to the hydrocarbon lakes on the moon's surface. A team led by Christophe Sotin of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., fed these results into a model that suggests the supply of the hydrocarbon methane at Titan could be coming to an end soon (on a geological timescale). The study of the lakes also led scientists to spot a few new ones in images from Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer data in June 2010.
Sulfur Based Batteries/Plastic
April 16, 2013 04:34 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids that are moldable. Plastics are typically organic polymers of high molecular mass, but they often contain other substances. How about mostly sulfur? A new chemical process can transform waste sulfur into a lightweight plastic that may improve batteries for electric cars, reports a University of Arizona-led team. The new plastic has other potential uses, including optical uses. The team has successfully used the new plastic to make lithium-sulfur batteries.
Maya Long Count
April 16, 2013 12:18 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Ancient calendars were remarkably accurate but over the centuries it is hard to compare the dates of one to the modern day calendar. Things change after all and no calendar is perfect in an ever changing world. The Maya are famous for their complex, intertwined calendar systems, and now one calendar, the Maya Long Count, has been empirically calibrated to the modern European calendar, according to an international team of researchers. Archaeologists want to place the Long Count dates into the European calendar so there is an understanding of when things happened in the Maya world relative to historic events elsewhere. Correlation also allows the rich historical record of the Maya to be compared with other sources of environmental, climate and archaeological data calibrated using the European calendar.
How Can You Find and Track Asteroids Near Earth?
April 16, 2013 06:05 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
It seems that every now and then we are surprised to learn that an asteroid is passing near the earth. Sometimes these are asteroids that NASA and others have been tracking for some time, but in other cases, they are newly discovered. The consequences of an asteroid hitting our planet range from relatively insignificant to catastrophic. At the University of Rochester, a team has developed a special type of camera that is capable of detecting and tracking asteroids. A sensor designed to be the eyes of a future asteroid-tracking mission has passed a critical test. The Near Earth Object Camera (NEOCam) sensor is a new infrared-light detector to improve the performance and efficiency of the next generation of space-based asteroid-hunting telescopes. It is the result of a long-term collaboration between the University of Rochester and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), together with Teledyne Imaging Sensors. A paper on the NEOCam sensor test will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Optical Engineering.
Fungi Found to be Culprit for Horseradish Root Rot
April 16, 2013 05:55 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
Horseradish grown in the Midwest of the United States has been experiencing significant yield reductions for the past 30 years due to internal discoloring and root rot. According to crop science professor Mohammad Babadoost at the University of Illinois, "If the roots are discolored, they are not accepted for processing." This affects the success of these plants and the livelihood of Illinois farmers who grown over half of the horseradish produced in the United States.
New Sinking Islands and Lands
April 15, 2013 03:45 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
The seas do rise and fall over the ages. Lands sink and rise depending on the weather. Dynamic modeling of sea-level rise, which takes storm wind and wave action into account, paints a much graver picture for some low-lying Pacific islands under climate-change scenarios than the passive computer modeling used in earlier research, according to a new report. A team led by research oceanographer Curt Storlazzi of the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center compared passive bathtub inundation models with dynamic models for two of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. The team studied Midway, a classic atoll with islands on the shallow (2—8 meters or 6—26 feet deep) atoll rim and a deep, central lagoon, and Laysan, which is higher, with a 20—30 meter (65—98 feet) deep rim and an island in the center of the atoll. Together, the two locations exhibit landforms and coastal features common to many Pacific islands.
Discovery finds waste sulphur can boost electric car industry
April 15, 2013 08:59 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen
A new chemical process can transform waste sulphur into a lightweight plastic that may improve batteries for electric cars, reports a University of Arizona-led team. The team has successfully used the new plastic to make lithium-sulphur batteries and discovered other potential applications, including optical uses.
Is Ice Loss by Glaciers Abnormal?
April 15, 2013 06:36 AM - Science Daily
In the last few decades, glaciers at the edge of the icy continent of Antarctica have been thinning, and research has shown the rate of thinning has accelerated and contributed significantly to sea level rise. New ice core research suggests that, while the changes are dramatic, they cannot be attributed with confidence to human-caused global warming, said Eric Steig, a University of Washington professor of Earth and space sciences. Previous work by Steig has shown that rapid thinning of Antarctic glaciers was accompanied by rapid warming and changes in atmospheric circulation near the coast. His research with Qinghua Ding, a UW research associate, showed that the majority of Antarctic warming came during the 1990s in response to El Niño conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean.
Arctic Nutrient Balance
April 11, 2013 04:03 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
The first study of its kind to calculate the amount of nutrients entering and leaving the Arctic Ocean has been carried out by scientists based at the National Oceanography Center, Southampton. Their results, which are published this month in the Journal of Geophysical Research, show that there is a mismatch between what goes into the Arctic Ocean and what comes out. This is the first study to look at the transport of dissolved inorganic nutrients nitrate, phosphate and silicate together, all of which are essential for life in the ocean. The study combined measurements of nutrient concentrations with measurements of how much water was transported across the main Arctic gateways — Davis Strait, Fram Strait, the Barents Sea Opening and Bering Strait during the summer of 2005.
New Camera Takes Better Pictures of Snowflakes
April 11, 2013 12:31 PM - Allison Winter, ENN
Winter may be over for most of us in the Northern Hemisphere, and hopefully we will not be expecting any more snowfall, but that doesn't mean we still can't marvel at the intricacies of the snowflake. A team of researchers at the University of Utah have developed a new high-speed camera system that records 3-D images of these snowflakes in hopes of improving radar for weather and snowpack forecasting. Funded in part by NASA and the US Army, the team studied falling snow and how it interacts with radar in order to improve computer simulations. As a result, the research has revealed more about how snowy weather can degrade microwave (radar) communications.