• The Countdown 8/4/2011

    Just submitted my abstract to the 2011 Fall AGU meeting… with two minutes to spare! Now I’m celebrating the traditional AGU way: a really hoppy beer… as well as the “new” AGU way: a blog post!!

    3… In today’s issue of Science, there was a wonderfully-written review on the future of seawater desalination. Future water shortages could be the most under-reported and under-appreciated environmental issue we face. But when you tell someone that, the initial response is something like: “But the planet is mostly covered with water! LOOK AT ALL THAT OCEAN!!! We’re fiiiiiine.” Well, we’re not fine. Making that water drinkable is difficult, expensive, and energy intensive. Check out the review for more….

    2… Juno is launching tomorrow! This mission will take us to Jupiter to answer questions about gas giants and the history of our solar system. Launch is scheduled from the Kennedy Space Center at 11:34 EDT. More on this… tomorrow…

    1… There’s water on Mars!!!! Yeah, yeah, I know. We found water on Mars already. Like a thousand times. But we keep finding water in new places, new phases, and on different timescales. In this case, the water seems to be leaking onto the surface seasonally. This is no small thing. We could conceivably land a rover (or astronauts) nearby, have them drive over to one of these springs, collect the water… and then search for life in it. So yes, this is a very big deal. Water in Mars is one thing. Ice on the surface is another. So is past liquid water on the surface… But liquid water on the modern surface? That’s huge. (Original paper here.)

    …. LAUNCH!!