Top Story: October 22, 2010

Moon Water and Whale Poop

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Water on the Moon, Not-So Sustainable Seafood and Whale Poop: Here’s the scoop on some recent science headlines…

Water on the Moon

NASA announced Thursday that not only did the LCROSS mission find water on the moon as was reported last fall, but it also found evidence that the lunar soil within shadowy craters is rich in useful materials, and the moon is chemically active and has a water cycle.

Some of the details from Universe Today:

The most abundant volatile in terms of total mass was carbon monoxide, then was water, the hydrogen sulfide. Then was carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, methane, formaldehyde, perhaps ethylene, ammonia, and even mercury and silver.

The silvery moon!

The crater examined contains more water than previously thought, too. From the New York Times:

If astronauts were to visit this crater, they might be able to use eight wheelbarrows of soil to melt 10 to 13 gallons of water. The water, if purified, could be used for drinking, or broken apart into hydrogen and oxygen for rocket fuel — to get home or travel to Mars.

The many results are featured in six papers published in today’s issue of Science.

Fish in the Water

Eating seafood is getting trickier and trickier these days. (Have you ever tried to order sustainable sushi? Monterey Bay Aquarium’s excellent Seafood Watch has a great mobile app that can help you navigate these extremely rough waters.) But here’s some good news! Ordering seafood may get easier! Scientists actually want you to eat invasive species like Asian carp and lionfish in order to protect native species. Recipes, videos and info can be found within an article published this week in the New York Times.

Poop in the Water

Finally, in case you missed this publication in PLoS ONE last week—researchers have found that whale poop acts as an important fertilizer for the world’s oceans.  Here’s the poop on the findings from LiveScience:

Whales, by virtue of their nutrient-rich feces, play an important role in transporting nutrients from where they feed, in deep waters, up to the surface, where they often do their business and fertilize tiny, floating plants called phytoplankton.

Kind of makes sense when you think about it, right?

What science news did you find fascinating this week? Let us know below!

Image credit: Brown University/Peter H. Schultz and Brendan Hermalyn, NASA/Ames Vertical Gun Range

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