As it's the foundation for all life on Earth, discovering carbon on other planets always gets scientists excited – and the Curiosity Rover on Mars has found an unusual mix of the chemical element that could hypothetically point to the existence of alien life.
That's by no means certain, but it's a possibility. It's one of three different scenarios that experts think might have produced the carbon found in sediment in the Gale crater, collected across nine years from August 2012 to July 2021.
A total of 24 powder samples were heated by Curiosity to separate individual chemicals, revealing a wide variation in terms of the mix of carbon 12 and carbon 13 isotopes: the two stable carbon isotopes that can reveal how the carbon cycle may have changed over time.
What makes these variations particularly fascinating – some samples enriched with carbon 13, and some extremely depleted – is that they point to unconventional processes different to those created by the carbon cycle in Earth's modern era.
Swedish green steel venture HYBRIT said on Wednesday that it had made the world's first customer delivery of steel produced without using coal as it looks to revolutionize an industry that accounts for around eight per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
HYBRIT, owned by SSAB, state-owned utility Vattenfall and miner LKAB, said it would deliver the steel to truck-maker Volvo AB as a trial run before full commercial production in 2026.
Reforestation (where appropriate) is an important tactic to battle climate change, but reforestation projects are costly. This is where Ecosia comes into play.
Ecosia is a search engine that donates about 80% of its profits to tree planting initiatives around the world. If that sounds too good to be true, note that Ecosia is recognised as a B-Corporation and generally receives good reviews. It's legit!
Much like other search engines, Ecosia generates revenue through advertising. This means that if you're an avid adblock user and want to try out this search engine, you'll have to make an exception for Ecosia.
(No shade whatsoever to adblock users: I am one myself. Online advertising has a surprisingly large carbon footprint.)
New nanocomposite improves solar evaporation for water purification
Global drinking water scarcity is a severe problem for humans. Water purification consumes a large amount of fossil energy and generates secondary pollution.
Solar-thermal interfacial evaporation has been considered the most promising strategy for addressing this problem. However, developing an optimized material featuring both efficient solar-vapor conversion and good environmental tolerance still remains challenging.
Researchers from the Institute of Process Engineering (IPE) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have developed an ultra-stable amorphous Ta2O5/C nanocomposite with a hollow multishelled structure (HoMS) for solar evaporation, which can improve the efficiency of water purification.
The study was published in Advanced Materials on Oct. 29.
This hydrogel tablet can purify a liter of river water in an hour
As much as a third of the world's population does not have access to clean drinking water, according to some estimates, and half of the population could live in water-stressed areas by 2025. Finding a solution to this problem could save and improve lives for millions of people, and it is a high priority among scientists and engineers around the globe.
Scientists and engineers at The University of Texas at Austin have created a hydrogel tablet that can rapidly purify contaminated water. One tablet can disinfect a liter of river water and make it suitable for drinking in an hour or less.
"Our multifunctional hydrogel can make a big difference in mitigating global water scarcity because it is easy to use, highly efficient and potentially scalable up to mass production," said Guihua Yu, an associate professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering's Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering and Texas Materials Institute.
Yu and his team recently published their findings in the journal Advanced Materials.