When considering whether to go solar, perhaps the most deciding factor is the cost versus the benefits of converting to solar energy. It goes without saying that solar energy will save you money, but installing a solar power system for your home isn’t exactly cheap. These benefits to installing a solar power system as well as the costs can help you to perform a cost-benefit analysis and decide whether solar energy is right for you. (more…)
— Researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory are developing robots to explore volcanoes — VolcanoBot 1 was tested at Kilauea volcano in Hawaii — A lighter, smaller VolcanoBot 2 will be tested this year
Volcanoes have always fascinated Carolyn Parcheta. She remembers a pivotal moment watching a researcher take a lava sample on a science TV program video in 6th grade. (more…)
Our Sun may seem pretty impressive: 330,000 times as massive as Earth, it accounts for 99.86 percent of the Solar System’s total mass; it generates about 400 trillion trillion watts of power; and it has a surface temperature of about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Yet for a star, it’s a lightweight. (more…)
LONG BEACH, Calif.—Scientists working together on Kelp Watch 2014 announced today that the West Coast shoreline shows no signs of ocean-borne radiation from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, following their analysis of the first collection of kelp samples along the western U.S. coastline.
Kelp Watch 2014 is a project that uses coastal kelp beds as detectors of radioactive seawater arriving from Fukushima via the North Pacific Current. It is a collaborative effort led by Steven Manley, marine biology professor at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), and Kai Vetter, head of applied nuclear physics at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and a nuclear engineering professor at the University of California, Berkeley. (more…)
Deforestation may have far greater consequences for climate change in some soils than in others, according to new research led by Yale University scientists — a finding that could provide critical insights into which ecosystems must be managed with extra care because they are vulnerable to biodiversity loss and which ecosystems are more resilient to widespread tree removal.
In a comprehensive analysis of soil collected from 11 distinct U.S. regions, from Hawaii to northern Alaska, researchers found that the extent to which deforestation disturbs underground microbial communities that regulate the loss of carbon into the atmosphere depends almost exclusively on the texture of the soil. The results were published in the journal Global Change Biology. (more…)
Results Could Aid Future Efforts to Monitor Health
Bacteria are invisible to the naked eye, but they reside on nearly every surface humans encounter—including the skin. Uncovering the role these microorganisms play in human health is a major focus of research in skin microbiology, but little is known about the identity or function of skin bacteria in other mammals.
In a paper published in the open access journal PLOS ONE, researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and colleagues identified a core skin bacterial community that humpback whales share across populations, which could point to a way to assess the overall health of these endangered marine mammals. (more…)
ANN ARBOR — Like salmon in reverse, long-snouted Bandringa sharks migrated downstream from freshwater swamps to a tropical coastline to spawn 310 million years ago, leaving behind fossil evidence of one of the earliest known shark nurseries.
That’s the surprising conclusion of University of Michigan paleontologist Lauren Sallan and a University of Chicago colleague, who reanalyzed all known specimens of Bandringa, a bottom-feeding predator that lived in an ancient river delta system that spanned what is today the Upper Midwest. (more…)
Reservoirs of silica-rich magma – the kind that causes the most explosive volcanic eruptions – can persist in Earth’s upper crust for hundreds of thousands of years without triggering an eruption, according to new University of Washington modeling research.
That means an area known to have experienced a massive volcanic eruption in the past, such as Yellowstone National Park, could have a large pool of magma festering beneath it and still not be close to going off as it did 600,000 years ago.
“You might expect to see a stewing magma chamber for a long period of time and it doesn’t necessarily mean an eruption is imminent,” said Sarah Gelman, a UW doctoral student in Earth and space sciences. (more…)