Science Friday: Water In Space Edition

This week in Science Friday we have more news on just how much water there is in our solar system. And we meet the water bear — extreme solar system survivors. Plus we hear from Star Trek’s own Dr. Carolyn Porco speaking about the Cassini mission and learn the secrets to crazy alien technologies behind flying saucers. All this plus our gadget of the week: Seabreacher Submarine, and video of the week: visible magnetic fields.

Lunar Discovery: Evidence for Water on the Moon
Has NASA discovered Lake Armstrong? One of the biggest lunar discoveries of the decade — proof that the moon may have had water since its formation — was announced Wednesday in the latest edition of Nature. A team of geologists and geochemists disproved a longstanding belief that Earth’s nearest neighbor is bone-dry. The source of the discovery was two 1-gram samples of moon rocks brought back to Earth more than 35 years ago by the Apollo 15 and Apollo 17 lunar missions. Volatile elements (like water) provide insight into models of planet formation, and play a fundamental role in planetary evolution

Ok, Not quite like this, but locked away in magma in the moon’s interior

Mercury’s got water too
Enceladus, Mars, The Moon and now water on Mercury? After analyzing data from the Messenger spacecraft’s January flyby of the planet closest to the sun, scientists were "astonished" to find evidence of water. On it’s flyby, Messenger scooped up ions from Mercury’s "exosphere" and along with the expected sodium, potassium, and calcium there was also a "large amounts" of water ions. It isn’t yet clear where the water is coming from but scientists have three possibilities: ice in small permanently shadowed areas on the poles, comets, or ‘the process of chemical sputtering.’ More on this at The Planetary Society.

A shot of Mercury from Messenger, is there ice in those shadows?

Meet the Water Bear: The Solar System’s Most Extreme Survivors
Meet the water bear. These cute, unassuming little invertebrates, also called tardigrades, only grow to be about 1.5 millimeters long, but over 1,000 species of them exist, and they have a power unmatched by any other species on Earth. No one knows why, but tardigrades can withstand temperatures as cold as liquid nitrogen, radiation doses that would kill a human 100 times over, thrive in an outer-space-like vacuum, and survive without water for years. These little guys are so cool, they have their own website at

Tardigrades, or water bears, can brave space without a suit

Dr. Carolyn Porco – “Fly Me to the Moons of Saturn”
Science advisor to Abrams’s Star Trek, planetary scientist, and leader of the imaging science team on the Cassini-Huygens mission presently in orbit around Saturn, will be speaking at the Mars Society Convention this August. As director of CICLOPS, Dr. Porco has overseen the greatest visual survey of any planetary system, which will guide future explorers to Saturn and its icy moons. You can register for the convention online, and view a three part lecture by Porco available on YouTube (below).

Secrets of Flying Saucers Discovered!
An engineer from the University of Florida has figured out the secret behind the crazy alien tech that lets flying saucers zip around: ionized air. He plans to make a prototype showing off his discovery. How’s it work? The surface of the saucer-shaped craft will be covered with electrodes that will ionize the surrounding air to create plasma. The polarized plasma will repel the non-polarized air, creating lift and thrust, with the pilot controlling it by diverting the electrical charge to different parts of the surface.

Own your own flying saucer!

Gadget of the Week: Seabreacher Submarine
This new nature-inspired dolphin-shaped submarine — although it reminds me of careening through water and air in a sleek plastic coffin — looks like one heck of a ride. A follow-up to the original one-seat design (called the Dolphin), the Seabreacher uses the same canopy as an F-22 fighter jet, keeping the roomy interior nice and dry inside a watertight seal. The best part is how it jumps: Made to move like a dolphin, the vessel uses the downward lift of its wings to jump out of the water, and it can even do barrel rolls. See it at Innespace.

Video of the Week: Magnetic Fields Made Visible
A film group, called Semiconductor, created “Magnetic Movie,” where they’ve turned audio recordings of magnetic fields into arty animations. This innovative work won them honors as Best Film at Cutting Edge at the British Animation Awards 2008.

Science Quickies
Here’s a warp-speed look at science tid-bits that didn’t quite make the cut, but nonetheless merit mention.


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That must be a picture of the Lake Armstrong that Riker was talking about in First Contact. :D

Very interesting stuff. Maybe we can move the Experience to the Moon and do a convention at Lake Armstrong.

My favorite thing about the Tardigrades in Space was that the acronym was TARDIS.

Wow! flying saucers, water on the moon, and space dwelling invertebrates! It just keeps getting more exciting with each dicovery as time passes.

The water bear….very cool. But my favorite is the Flying Saucer “discovery.” Doesnt that seem like a relatively obvious idea? I hope to see it working sometime!

That’s NOT how Flying Saucers are driven…

…and I doubt that it will work.

US Govm’t needs to release the REAL UFO technology.

Our planet is in DIRE need of alternate power generation!


Oh good, I’m glad there’s a resident expert. Maybe you can consult with the Smoking Man and get us the real dirt.

I wouldn’t have any interest in those gas-guzzling gov’t saucers anyway.


Ions. Gotta love those ions. They get soggy in water and they make flying saucers zip around. Just watch out for ion storms.

right everywhere has water , let the terraforming begin ! we can use our new flying saucer tech to fly us there lol.

but talk about science copying sci fi again as the one man sub looks
just like something i seen on seaquest years ago

( in fact i remember there was two types of one man subs in the esp of seaquest , and the other one looked even more like Seabreacher Submarine but i could not get a picture)

Granted I skimmed over this, and not really so much a scientist, but water on/from Mercury? Huh.

And I’ll take two of those Innerspace Seabreachers. Thanks.

Thanks, Kayla. We’ll be skinny-dipping later on Mercury, if you’d care to join us…

#12 The good CmdrR.

Indeed, Kayla! I’ll take ya for a spin in my new Innerspace Seabreacher. And I promise to remain fully clothed. Well, I’ll be wearing a speedo and some SPF 3 jillion.

To be honest, those dolphin submarines scare the crap out of me. Sweet to watch, but so claustrophobic!

I like turtles.

The dolphin has been around for quite a while-

7. Spock with a crowbar:

You sound like a global warming denier.

If anything in Star Trek strikes a cord with you, how can you deny the high probability of intelligent extra terrestrial life and that we probably have been visited?…and that our government is hiding evidence of this while they attempt to reverse-engineer it (probably focusing on weaponizing rather than technology that could benefit mankind).

Or are you possibly a hypocritical self-deluding Christian and/or Republican Trekkie? (Or just Trolling?)

To not Herbert,

If you ever watched any of the Discovery channel in the 90’s, you would have learned some thing about the history of Weather on the planet Earth. Weather comes in cycles, if you were unable to learn this (most likely he could not because Al Bore was in control of his mind). If that had no effect look at the history of the News Media and how it creates horrors than indirectly promote sales of the News. Bad news sells, good news only makes people happy. One day Oil will run out so until we move fusion from the labs, and we have done fusion since 1996 but in labs only. Why not use the oil that will last 50 to 200 years at the rate we are now for the next 50 to 100 years until we master fusion.

And if you wish to BS us with your Global Warming theory’s just remember they are theory’s. Where is your undeniable proof. Global Warming is still an Idea.

I have a counter idea to go against your Global Warming theory, Remember back in the 70’s with the first Gas shortage. At the same time the left was always saying that we need to spread the wealth of the U.S. to give the World an equal chance so everyone becomes the best nation. How about all those that wanted to share had someone whom learned of how we were addicted to Oil figured out a plan that we would stop making Oil ourselves so our wealth goes to the poor. for proof no Oil refinery’s built since 1983, the Oil shale discovery in the 70’s and promoted in the 80’s but could only be profitable when gas cost more than three dollars a gallon. Did we not cross that point in the first Quarter of 2007. And now that we are making the poor rich but their minds are still in the middle ages of a millennium ago of the Dark Ages but with toys from the 21’st century.

Currently Oil is our best source for power, Oil is 93% efficient in producing Energy, At best from the five major alternative energy supply’s the best one is Solor at 13% and that is only if 100% of the light is used not the 5% we use now. And if we move from Oil to all the new alternative energy supply’s we only get 82% of the energy we use now. That would be like moving back to the 60’s. And going back to the 60’s pollution-wise would mean a 800% reduction in the cleaner environment we have today. You want to live like that move to China.

Sorry for my long rant but until the left learns they need factual proof to prove their ideas, I’m getting tired of them thinking they are right because no one counter states there we are all one World idea, but under one controlling federal ruler.

Now onto another previous topic brought up. The fed’s are hiding all the UFO tech. Fact is the feds have the power now and what do you think would happen to it if we all knew that there was some thing more powerful out their.

First off we would no longer listen to those Fed weenies any more, let alone pay them to waste our money like we do today. Then how many would we let live for hiding such a world changing fact.

Going back to my fusion as a power source the reactors we are creating now like H3 best to fuse together, and that is rare on earth but all over the surface of the Moon with the top inch or so of soil due to billions of years of solar radiation striking the Moon and nothing to move the irradiated soil.

When we colonize the Moon there is all that fusion fuel, solar energy, microwave energy, thermal energy. But the most efficent will still be fusion at 98.9% efficentcy in producing energy.

Self-deluding Republican? – check

You need to watch Discovery channel & History channel in 2008.

Also, please rent “An Inconvenient Truth” & Fahrenheit 911″.

Pay a little more attention to the underlying ethos of Star Trek – would Spock be a Republican? Would Jesus for that matter? I think not…

Wake up before it’s too late (if it’s not already). =(

I am not Herbert
warning for repeated flaming, trolling and going political

continue and be banned

spockish and others…keep the politics off this site

To All (& especially Anthony):

Please accept my sincere apology.

I let my emotions get away from me. I pledge that it will not happen again.

Peace be upon you

I try to not go into politics, but there are times when I just get feed up with the Leftys BS. Here is my last political comment until I get fed up again. I try to keep my politics recessed and hidden but I guess getting feed up is as controlling as the Pon’ Far.

In closing Discovery channel was given to One of the king lefty’s TED KOPEL. And at least on the History channel they state there is two sides to things they did not go ask heavy into the anti global warming as they did into the warming, but remember fear sells much better than goodness.

And sorry for bringing the evil topic of politics to ire. One day society may become perfect for ‘non Herbert’ and in the Star Trek Universe is nice on TV, but until we evolve to that level I think we still have to live in the Darwin world of evolution and not someone will decide for me and feed me everyday. Even in the Trek universe there is basic ethics that they learn so they do not become defendant or burdens on others.

P.S. I have those shows in my 1500+ DVD’s that I’ve made of Educational shows or Movies. I try to cover all topics that have News (good or bad) and I have all Treks but Voyager and animated, even most fan made ones, even the German made Enterprise: The next Generation Episode 01.