white and black moon with black skies and body of water photography during night time

The Daily Dose: Earth used to be a water world; China and Russia strike a space station deal.

If you’re a member of the older generation (that being anyone older than 30), you may recall that clunker of a Kevin Costner movie Waterworld. Obviously, it was about a world where H20 represented the main terrain. Turns out, ancient Earth was a lot like that. Per Science, “Recent work using hydraulic presses has shown that many minerals would be unable to hold as much hydrogen and oxygen at mantle temperatures and pressures. ‘That suggests the water must have been somewhere else,’ says Junjie Dong, a graduate student in mineral physics at Harvard University who led a model, based on those lab experiments, that was published today in AGU Advances. ‘And the most likely reservoir is the surface.’” https://bit.ly/3rzn2zp

Anniversaries of historical events are great opportunities to analyze them and, in the case of disasters, a perfect opportunity to see whether we’ve learned our lesson. That’s what’s been happening on the 10th anniversary of the Fukishima Nuclear Power Plant disaster. In an editorial from Nature, the author writes, “A decade after the disaster, these serious questions linger, even as the climate crisis grows nearer. Many academics have cast nuclear power as an inevitable choice if the planet is to limit global warming. But, given the environmental and social concerns, others are more circumspect, or remain opposed. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in its 2018 special report on global warming, acknowledged a possible role for nuclear energy in limiting global temperature rise, but highlighted the crucial role that public acceptance will have in boosting or derailing investments.” Do the potential dangers of climate change outweigh those of a nuclear disaster? Climate change induced winter or a thermonuclear winter? There doesn’t seem to be a clear winner. https://go.nature.com/38pohte

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As the Mars rover Perseverance get ready to start moving on its groundbreaking mission to search for signs of life on the Red Planet, scientists here on Earth are getting ready to analyze whatever is found. For that purpose, they’ve located a patch of real estate that comes close to mimicking past conditions on Mars. Enter Lake Salda in Turkey. “NASA says the minerals and rock deposits at Salda are the nearest match on earth to those around the Jezero Crater where the spacecraft landed and which is believed to have once been flooded with water. Information gathered from Lake Salda may help the scientists as they search for fossilised traces of microbial life preserved in sediment thought to have been deposited around the delta and the long-vanished lake it once fed. “Salda … will serve as a powerful analogue in which we can learn and interrogate,” Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for science, told Reuters.” https://reut.rs/2PFLEbx

“Russia and China have unveiled plans for a joint lunar space station as Moscow seeks to recapture the glory of its space pioneering days of Soviet times, and Beijing gears up its own extraterrestrial ambitions.” So this begs the question. Who will be the senior partner? The current global power pecking order suggests China will be the big boss and the Russians the helpful sidekick. I’m sure that will go over well in Moscow. But, as they say, them’s the breaks. https://bit.ly/3qCcspU

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.

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