Climate Change Weekly Roundup: 08/05/14

Publication: Washington Post

Author: Terrence McCoy

Date: July 29, 2014

Title: Two new mysterious craters emerge in Siberia, deepening giant hole saga

Throughout July geologists, ecologists and historians have been analyzing the sudden appearance of three mysterious craters in Yamal and the Taymyr Peninsula of Siberia.

“It is not like this is the work of men,” one expert explained to the Siberian Times, which has been hot on the giant crater story from the get-go. “But [it] also doesn’t look like natural formation.”

Ranging in diameter from 13 feet to more than 100, the craters have broken through the permafrost layers that cover Siberia and sparked wild theories as to their origins, including aliens, a meteorite, a stray missile or an explosive, global warming-caused gas concoction.

“Undoubtedly, we need to study all such formations,” Marina Leibman, the chief scientist of the Earth Cryosphere Institute, told URA.RU. “It is necessary to be able to predict their occurrence. Each new funnel provides additional information for scientists.”

To read more, click here. To read the original Siberian Times article, visit here.


Publication: Science News

Author: Beth Mole

Date: July 30, 2014

Title: Recycled water may flood urban parks with dangerous germs

Recycling water may not be as good for the environment as previously thought, according to a new study from researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The study, which was published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, found that seven city parks throughout China that were irrigated with treated wastewater were also home to more antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

In fact, researchers determined the microbes in these parks had nearly 8,700 times more antibiotic-resistant genes than their freshwater counterparts.

Though China uses a high level of antibiotics and has a sewage treatment system that may be different than the U.S.’s, the study’s findings show a global problem: how easily bacteria that can cause hard-to-cure diseases can spread.

To read more, visit here.


Publication: Time

Author: Michael Lemonick

Date: July 30, 2014

Title: NASA Discovers 101 Active Geysers On Saturn Moon

NASA’s Cassini Space Probe recently captured evidence that suggests researchers’ best chance of finding extraterrestrial life in our solar system isn’t by examining other planets, but by looking at those planets’ moons.

According to two papers released in the Astronomical Journal, Cassini discovered more than 100 active geysers on the surface of Enceladus, a moon orbiting Saturn. The space probe captured images of the geysers shooting water, ice and vapor up into space, suggesting an ocean of liquid water lies beneath Enceladus’s hard surface.

Researchers have known about Enceladus’s geyser plumes since 2004, when Cassini took its first images of the moon’s surface. Since then, NASA has tried to uncover depth and contents of the underground water source.

Studies from 2009 to 2014 measuring everything from Enceladus’s gravity field to its geyser water’s salt content helped scientists determine that there is an ocean laying around 30 miles under the moon’s surface and in close content with mineral deposits near the moon’s rocky core.

Researchers believe the ocean contains about as much water as Lake Superior, which gives more leverage to the possibility of life on Enceladus, as large and deep reservoirs of water are more likely to remain in liquid form and allow for organismal development.

To read more, visit here.


Publication: New York Times

Author: Associated Press

Date: July 31, 2014

Title: NASA to Test Making Oxygen, Key to Rocket Fuel, on Mars

Getting people to Mars hasn’t been the biggest wrench in interplanetary travel. Living in the Martian environment and the return trip to Earth, now those are the main hurdles NASA scientists have been aiming to clear. And they may have just discovered a way to do this.

The solution is called Moxie, a $1.9 billion device that functions as a reverse engine and turns carbon-dioxide into oxygen. Not only could such a device be used to change Mars’s atmosphere into something more hospitable to humans, but it could also serve as a way for astronauts’ flight back home.

Oxygen is a key component of rocket fuel, which is both too heavy and too expensive to take for return flight purposes. With Moxie on Mars, astronauts would only need to supply a lightweight hydrogen-based propellant, which can be brought from Earth or mined on the red planet, in order to create fuel.

NASA plans to launch Moxie, which makes about three-quarters of an ounce of oxygen every hour, in 2020. This will give the device adequate time to pump oxygen into the Martian atmosphere before humans set foot on the planet, a feat that officials project will take place sometime in the 2030s.

If Moxie is a success, NASA plans to send another, 100-times bigger version of the device to Mars two years before the first astronauts arrive.

To read more, visit here.


Publication: Washington Post

Author: Abby Phillip

Date: August 4, 2014

Title: Second Ebola-stricken American will head to the U.S. on Tuesday

Researchers are franticly searching for a cure to the highly contagious Ebola virus that is rapidly spreading across Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone and has infected two American aid workers this summer.

The two Americans affected by the disease are missionary Nancy Writebol from Charlotte, N.C., and Dr. Kent Brantly, both of whom were in Liberia doing aid work for the Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief organization.

There is no cure for the virus yet: researchers are currently developing potential vaccinations, but over 825 people have died from the disease as of July 30, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to an NBC News report that cited family members, Brantly has received a dose of an experimental Ebola treatment.

Brantly, who is being treated in a state-of-the-art isolation facility at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, is showing signs of improvement, Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Washington Post.

To continue reading, click here.