Tag Archives: NASA

NASA asks, Is a Sleeping Greenhouse Gas Giant Stirring in the Arctic?

14 Jun

by Joe Romm / ThinkProgress

A NASA science team has observed “amazing and potentially troubling” levels of methane and CO2 from the rapidly warming Arctic. Given the staggering amount of carbon trapped in the permafrost — and the fact that methane is a very potent heat-trapping gas — the space agency is now asking: “Is a Sleeping Climate Giant Stirring in the Arctic?

arcticbeast

“Permafrost zones occupy nearly a quarter of the exposed land area of the Northern Hemisphere. NASA’s Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment (CARVE) is probing deep into the frozen lands above the Arctic Circle in Alaska to measure emissions of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane from thawing permafrost — signals that may hold a key to Earth’s climate future.” Credit: UNEP

We’ve known for a while that “permafrost” was a misnomer (see “Thawing permafrost feedback will turn Arctic from carbon sink to source in the 2020s“). The defrosting permamelt will likely add up to 1.5°F to total global warming by 2100.

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Starvation? Pshhh. There’s an App for That

21 May

by Rabb!t / Earth First! Newswire

enjoy-your-mealGood news! Anjan Contractor, Senior Mechanical Engineer at Systems and Materials Research Corporation (SMRC), has a plan to save humanity from overpopulation and unsustainable agriculture.

Besides such humanitarian efforts as “address[ing] the major challenges that need to be overcome to send humans to Mars by 2030,” SMRC is developing technologies to end world hunger and sustain a healthy estimated peak population of 12 billion people, which, Contractor predicts, we’ll reach at the end of the century.

As reported by Christopher Mims at qz.com, Contractor just received a $125,000 grant from NASA to create a prototype universal food synthesizer. Similar to the 3D printing technology that allows us to torrent guns (currently available on The Pirate Bay), these 3D printers will make complete meals out of nutrient rich powders and oils.

But it’s not just the mouth-watering prospect of synthesized powder-based delicacies that drives Contractor’s work. No, these 3D printers are going to save the humans from our bad habits, making the unsustainable meat industry obsolete by powdering insects and algae for our protein, and creating meals with specific nutritional profiles (powdered insects and algae) for each family member.

More importantly, Contractor is tackling overpopulation. Mims reports that Contractor “sees a day when every kitchen has a 3D printer, and the earth’s 12 billion people feed themselves customized, nutritionally-appropriate meals synthesized one layer at a time, from cartridges of powder and oils they buy at the corner grocery store.” Thankfully, Contractor also sees a future global society where all the starving people will have printed themselves out 3D kitchens.

For more on the audacious plan to end hunger with 3-D printed food, check out Christopher Mims’ article