Tag Archives: oceans

Could We Colonize Mars?

Sending humans to Mars is something that many are hopeful will happen in the next few decades, possibly by the 2040s,according to NASA. But what chance do we have of actually living on Mars permanently one day?

In the second episode of the “Further” series(the first one was on aliens), former astronaut Jeffrey Hoffman discusses the possibility of us one day colonizing Mars. If humanity can, some day, establish a presence on more than one planet, weve really increased our chances of longterm survival, he says.

Early Martian explorers might face a unique psychological test in being so far from Earth, according to Hoffman. But perhaps they will have a unique goal to turn Mars back into the habitable environment it was once thought to be, with a thick atmosphere and liquid water on the surface, via a process known as terraforming.

The video imagines a future Martian explorer using a large facility to heat the Martian core, giving it back the atmosphere we know was lost. Hoffman notes, though, that this is farbeyond the realms of what is possible with current technologies.

Thats beyond anything that we can imagine today, he said. But I never like to say never because what our technologies will be like a thousand years in the future, I cant even imagine.

Check out the video below.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/space/can-we-colonize-mars

Scientist Says Used Car Tires Could Prevent Future Hurricanes


As natural disasters like hurricane Sandy become more frequent due to climate change, scientists have started working on solutions to prevent them, some of them very original.

Stephen Salter, an emeritus professor of engineering design at Edinburgh University, wants to use a cluster of used car tires that support giant tubes that extend as deep as 100 meters into the ocean. Salter has patented this idea with the help of Intellectual Ventures, a company that holds a large number of patents, founded by Nathan Myhrvold and backed by Bill Gates.

Through this device, dubbed “Salter Sink,” waves would force warm surface water down the plastic tubes to the deep ocean and valves would make sure the warmer water couldn’t come back up. This way, warm and colder waters would mix, cooling the temperature of the surface below 26.5 degrees Celsius, the critical temperature at which hurricanes start to form.

“If you can cool the sea surface, you would calm the hurricanes. I estimate you would need about 150-450 of these structures,” said Salter. “They would drift around and send out radar signals so that no one would collide with them.”

To find out more about this innovative solution to prevent hurricanes, watch the video above.

Thumbnail photo courtesy of NASA.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/11/07/used-tires-prevent-sandy/

Ocean vs. Space: Which Is the True Final Frontier?


Space may be called “the final frontier,” but anyone who has seen a picture of a goblin shark or a vampire squid will agree that the ocean can be downright alien. Both realms are ripe for exploration, offer extensive potential benefits and come at a hefty price.

So which wins in a battle between the two for the title of the final frontier? Which area of exploration will result in the greater good for humanity? Dr. Paul Bunje, senior director of prize development and ocean health at the XPRIZE Foundation, and Alexandra Hall, senior director of Google Lunar XPRIZE, met on the Social Good Summit stage to duke it out on Tuesday.

Space has been the clear leader for a long time. $17.8 billion dollars is going toward space exploration in 2013, compared to the $5 billion dollars that goes toward oceanic exploration. This discrepancy has led to skewed results: While 500 individuals have been sent into space, only three have visited the deepest part of the ocean, the Mariana Trench.

We have better maps of the surface of Mars than we do of our own ocean floor, and we understand more about the dark side of the moon than ocean life. Despite centuries of ocean exploration, we’ve only covered about 5% of the ocean.

Bunje insists that this needs to change.

“In that 5% we have some of the most amazing things on this planet. We’ve got a mountain range, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, that has thousands of peaks taller than the Alps are, for instance,” he said. “You’ve got, every time someone goes down, new species that are wondrous and unbelievably strange sometimes. And in reality, if you take all of the world’s oceans, that’s 99% of our living space on Earth, and we know almost nothing about it.”

Bunje also said that there are three reasons why the oceans deserve more research love: food, jobs and oxygen.

The ocean produces 20% of the world’s protein supply, and 3 billion people rely on the ocean for their livelihood. The ocean also produces 70% of Earth’s oxygen. These statistics, to Bunje and other ocean activists, mean that dangers like ocean acidification and climate change need our attention.

Hall insists that the investment isn’t as skewed as it seems. The simple fact that getting into space comes with a very large dollar sign must be taken into account when comparing the budgets. She insists that the reasons to explore space include economic benefit, national security and something that cannot be simplified down to a monetary amount: the satisfaction of our own curiosity.

Benefits of space exploration aren’t just about walking on the moon anymore. Research to put astronauts into space has resulted in great advancements in technology and medicine, and has resulted in the creation of jobs and economic benefits.

Beyond that, Hall insists, is the more romantic reason to continue space exploration: Space is inspiring.

Finding out about the origin of our planet Earth and the rest of the solar system is something that that we have a deep need to know about,” she said.

Hall insists that space research benefits the planet as well. Seeing Earth from space created a concept of Planet Earth. NASA has more money in its budget to be used towards Earth sciences than should go towards planetary sciences, and it has resulted in significant breakthroughs, including information on the melting ice caps, climate change and ocean surface temperatures.

The good news, when it comes to space versus the ocean, is that it doesn’t have to be one or the other. Both Bunje and Hall are working on million-dollar contests to increase research in space and in the ocean. Additionally, billions of dollars in government funding go toward research projects every year, in the hopes that some of these innovations can become a reality.

Which side are you on? You can continue the conversation online by using the hashtags #teamocean and #teamspace on Twitter and Facebook, or leave us a comment in the section below.

About Social Good Summit


The Social Good Summit is where big ideas meet new media to create innovative solutions and is brought to you by Mashable, The 92nd Street Y, The United Nations Foundation, The United Nations Development Programme, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Ericsson. Held during U.N. Week, the Social Good Summit unites a dynamic community of global leaders to discuss a big idea: the power of innovative thinking and technology to solve our greatest challenges.

Date: Sept. 22 through Sept. 24
Time: 12 to 6 p.m. each day
Location: 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., New York, N.Y.
Tickets are sold-out, but tune into the Livestream.

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BONUS: 10 Moving Quotes From Day 2 of Social Good Summit