It’s the start of a new year and a great time to look back at the top scientific discoveries of 2015 in relation to WATER. From a new method of water delivery via comets to astro-turf that absorbs water and reduces risk of accidents on concrete, we have rounded up the best to inspire you.
Scientists develop steel mesh that captures oil but lets water through
Researchers at Ohio State University have created a stainless steel mesh which boasts an invisible oil-repelling surface coating. This makes it possible for water to pass through the mesh, while oil is trapped, filtering out the oil from the water. This could have huge implications for future oil spills and environmental cleanups.
Source: Phys Org
Scientists create ‘thirsty concrete’ to help in floods
Thirsty concrete is an amazing origination that absorbs 4000 litres of water in seconds, which could prove essential in areas prone to flooding. The only downside? If that water happens to freeze, the entire system would be destroyed, so the concrete can only be used in places where temperatures are never likely to dip that low.
Source: Science Alert
Shadeballs were invented
Developed in response to the drought that has been ongoing in California, these ‘shadeballs’ are 4 inches in diameter, hollow, polyethylene spheres. These balls reduce evaporation and block sunlight, encouraging algae growth and reducing toxic chemical reactions. The balls are also coated with a chemical that blocks ultraviolet light and helps the spheres last as long as 25 years. They help prevent 300 million gallons of water from evaporating each year.
Source: Daily Mail
Water is discovered on Mars
One of the most amazing discoveries of the year, using an imaging spectrometer on MRO, researchers detected signatures of hydrated minerals on slopes where mysterious streaks are seen on the Red Planet. These darkish streaks appear to ebb and flow over time. They darken and appear to flow down steep slopes during warm seasons, and then fade in cooler seasons. They appear in several locations on Mars when temperatures are above minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 23 Celsius), and disappear at colder times.
New technology converts sea water into drinking water assisting in third world countries
Designed by a team of researchers at Alexandria University in Egypt, the procedure uses a desalination technique called pervaporation to remove the salt from sea water and make it drinkable. Specially made synthetic membranes are used to filter out large salt particles and impurities so they can be evaporated away, and then the rest is heated up, vapourised, and condensed back into clean water.
Source: Science Alert
New oceans discovered on the both Saturn and Jupiter’s moons
New evidence suggests that Saturn’s moon Enceladus has a warm ocean with hydrothermal vents and Jupiter’s moon likely has more water than all of Earth’s surface combined. More evidence that indicates casual space travel is closer than we think.
Scientists discover the only known warm-blooded fish on the planet
Described as something that looks like “a big startled frisbee, with thin red fins stuck on as an afterthought,” the Opah, a fish scientists have discovered has the distinction of being the only known warm-blooded fish on earth.
Source: National Geographic
Water is being delivered by asteroids and comets to other planets
New research suggests that water delivery via asteroids or comets is likely taking place in many other planetary systems. The research adds support to the idea that the same process that created a suitable home for life in our solar system also occurs in distant planetary systems.
Source: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
With all these breakthroughs in 2015, it’s an exciting time to be alive. There’s still room for new ideas when it comes to improving our planet and it’s natural resources. We hope you feel inspired!