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Present day Martian groundwater a mirage, researchers say

U Texas Austin: The researchers think their conclusion -- volcanic rock buried under ice -- is a more plausible explanation for the 2018 discovery, which was already in question after scientists calculated the unlikely conditions needed to keep water in a liquid state at Mars' cold, arid south pole. Read More ›

Water on Mars? It is more likely clay, many now think

Coppedge: The paper in Geophysical Research Letters by I.B. Smith et al., “A Solid Interpretation of Bright Radar Reflectors Under the Mars South Polar Ice” (GRL, 15 July 2021, DOI: 10.1029/2021GL093618) says that clay is a sufficient material to account for the observations. The water interpretation is problematic, because “the amount of dissolved salt and heat required to maintain liquid water at this location is difficult to reconcile with what we know about Mars.” Read More ›

The mystery of water: In chemistry it is now almost a “religious” controversy

But the real goal is to rule out design in nature, which the controversialists can’t do, hence the “religious” nature of the controversy. A friend writes to remind us that this is basically the stuff of Michael Denton’s book, Wonder of Water. Read More ›

Researchers: Exoplanet, 2x the size of Earth, has not only water but possible rain clouds

Most exoplanets, we are told, fall into this size range and it is not yet known if it has a rocky surface, considered important for life. Here's a roundup of some things we know. Read More ›

Recent finding: The “water world” exoplanets are not habitable ocean planets

So, it turns out, even if there IS lots of water in a solar system, that doesn't add up to habitability either. Talk about Rare Earth and Privileged Planet. Read More ›

Experiment makes fundamental asymmetry of water “glaringly clear”

At one time, it wathought that the mechanisms by which water transports the H+ and OH− ions were mirror images of each other, though in recent years, asymmetry was glimpsed: A team of scientists has uncovered new molecular properties of water—a discovery of a phenomenon that had previously gone unnoticed. Liquid water is known to be an excellent transporter of its own autoionization products; that is, the charged species obtained when a water molecule (H2O) is split into protons (H+) and hydroxide ions (OH−). This remarkable property of water makes it a critical component in emerging electrochemical energy production and storage technologies such as fuel cells; indeed, life itself would not be possible if water did not possess this characteristic. Read More ›