Sunday Science (25 – 31 Oct 2020)

Science News related to Water on Moon, Future of Oceans, Martian Soil Fertility, Evolution of Fish on Land, Designing Organic Solar Cell, Renewable Energy and Sustainable Future, Sustainable Water Purification, Black Hole ‘Family Portrait’, Jupiter’s and Saturn’s Births, Massive Stars Getting Kicked, Sample of Asteroid Bennu, Water on Ancient Mars

Note: I do not write/own any of the science news bits (and cover picture) given here. The links on each of the news bits will redirect to the news source. The content given under each headline is a basic gist and not the full story

1. NASA’s SOFIA Discovers Water on Sunlit Surface of Moon

Source: NASA

26 Oct 2020

NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) has confirmed, for the first time, water on the sunlit surface of the Moon. This discovery indicates that water may be distributed across the lunar surface, and not limited to cold, shadowed places. SOFIA has detected water molecules (H2O) in Clavius Crater, one of the largest craters visible from Earth, located in the Moon’s southern hemisphere.

2. The Uncertain Future of The Oceans

Source: Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR)

26 Oct 2020

Marine food webs and biogeochemical cycles react very sensitively to the increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) – but the effects are far more complex than previously thought. This is shown in a study published by a team of researchers. Data were combined from five large-scale field experiments, which investigated how the carbon cycle within plankton communities reacts to the increase of CO2.

3. Geologists Dig into Question of Martian Soil Fertility

Source: University of Georgia

27 Oct 2020

Humankind’s next giant step may be onto Mars. But before those missions can begin, scientists need to make scores of breakthrough advances, including learning how to grow crops on the red planet. Practically speaking, astronauts cannot haul an endless supply of topsoil through space. So, geologists are figuring out how best to use the materials already on the planet’s surface.

Original written by: Alan Flurry

4. Large Tides May Have Driven Evolution of Fish Towards Life on Land

Source: Uppsala University

27 Oct 2020

Big tidal ranges some 400 million years ago may have initiated the evolution of bony fish and land vertebrates. This theory is now supported by researchers, for the first time, have used established mathematical models to simulate tides on Earth during this period.

5. How to Design Organic Solar Cell Materials

Source: Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research

27 Oct 2020

A collaboration of scientists has recently scrutinized organic solar cells and derived design rules for light-absorbing dyes that can help to make these cells more efficient while tailoring the absorption spectrum of the cells to the needs of the chosen application.

6. Renewable Energy Targets Can Undermine Sustainable Intentions

Source: University of Queensland

28 Oct 2020

Renewable energy targets (RETs) may be too blunt a tool for ensuring a sustainable future, according to research. A PhD candidate said that, while RETs are a go-to for policymakers, more nuanced approaches were more effective at actually achieving holistic, sustainable outcomes.

7. Soil-Powered Fuel Cell Promises Cheap, Sustainable Water Purification

Source: University of Bath

28 Oct 2020

Engineers have shown that it’s possible to capture and use the energy created by the natural reactions occurring in microorganisms within soil. A team of chemical and electrical engineers has demonstrated the potential of cheap, simple ‘soil microbial fuel cells’ (SMFCs), buried in the earth to power an electrochemical reactor that purifies water. The proof-of-concept design was demonstrated during field testing and showed that SMFCs can purify about three litres of water per day- enough to cover a person’s daily water needs.

8. Black Hole ‘Family Portrait’ Is Most Detailed to Date

Source: Northwestern University

28 Oct 2020

An international research collaboration has produced the most detailed family portrait of black holes to date, offering new clues as to how black holes form. An intense analysis of the most recent gravitational-wave data available led to the rich portrait as well as multiple tests of Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

Original written by: Megan Fellman

9. Where Were Jupiter And Saturn Born?

Source: Carnegie Institution for Science

29 Oct 2020

New work reveals the likely original locations of Saturn and Jupiter. These findings refine our understanding of the forces that determined our Solar System’s unusual architecture, including the ejection of an additional planet between Saturn and Uranus, ensuring that only small, rocky planets, like Earth, formed inward of Jupiter.

10. Most Isolated Massive Stars Are Kicked Out of Their Clusters

Source: University of Michigan

29 Oct 2020

Studies reveal how some massive stars—stars eight or more times the mass of our sun—become isolated in the universe: most often, their star clusters kick them out. Massive stars typically reside in clusters. Isolated massive stars are called field massive stars. The papers published examined most of these stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf galaxy near the Milky Way.

11. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Successfully Stows Sample of Asteroid Bennu

Source: NASA

30 Oct 2020

NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission has successfully stowed the spacecraft’s Sample Return Capsule (SRC) and its abundant sample of asteroid Bennu. On Oct. 28, the mission team sent commands to the spacecraft, instructing it to close the capsule – marking the end of one of the most challenging phases of the mission.

12. Water on Ancient Mars

Source: University of Tokyo

31 Oct 2020

A meteorite that originated on Mars billions of years ago reveals details of ancient impact events on the red planet. Certain minerals from the Martian crust in the meteorite are oxidized, suggesting the presence of water during the impact that created the meteorite. The finding helps to fill some gaps in knowledge about the role of water in planet formation.

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