Even though so far it’s been a record warm fall (almost winter) in the US, there’s still plenty of freezing to go around. And if you’ve ever wondered what a drop of water looks like when it freezes, here ya go.
Clean, drinkable water is beginning to emerge as one of the biggest problems facing the emerging world, with populations in many areas quickly surpassing the ability of old infrastructure to keep up. And so every day, millions and millions around the world struggle to find clean water for cooking and drinking. But now there’s a low tech solution for those living near the coast— a solar oven that uses the heat of the sun to turn salt water into potable fresh water.
Whether it’s conducting cheap electricity or making super strong nanotubes, graphene is the stuff that just keep bringing amazing new uses. And one of those uses is using a single atom thick sheet of graphene to filter salt out of seawater, resulting in only pure drinkable water.
As vast and deep as the oceans look to us, compared to the rest of our rocky planet, our mighty oceans are but a thin skin of water . In the above illustration from the USGS above, you can see that all of Earth’s water, if condensed into a single ball, would only be half as wide as the US. Europa on the other hand, has quite a bit more. There goes the sci-fi stories about aliens invading Earth to get our precious water.
What’s the coldest water can get before it turns to ice? 32 degrees F/0 degrees C? Nope. If you’re clever, you might say 0 degrees F, the temperature at which salt water freezes, but that’s still not close. Turns out, the absolute coldest water can get before it absolutely has to turn to ice is -55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Even in places where there’s a severe lack of water, there’s one thing every place has. Air. And even in the most arid of climes, there’s moisture in the air, even if it’s not enough to be felt on your skin. So there’s water everywhere, it’s just a matter of getting to it, and that’s what Edward Linnacre did with his brilliantly simple low tech air harvester called the Airdrop.
Way out in the vacuum of space, way out around black holes, you might not to expect to find water vapor, especially in absolutely tremendous quantities. But around a black hole 12 billion light years from Earth, astronomers have discovered the largest reservoir of water in the entire known universe in the form of a massive cloud of water vapor that’s several hundred light years across. Surf’s up!