December 13, 2012

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

River System Found on Saturn Moon

First image of outerspace river system

Ready to huck the lunar gnar? The European Space Agency (ESA) has unveiled the first-ever picture of an active river system on another world. The photo was taken by the Cassini probe over Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, and shows a river system over 400km long stretching from its headwaters to a large sea. Radar imaging shows a smooth, consistent surface in the river valley, which scientists say indicates the presence of liquid, most likely methane or ethane. Liquid ethane was confirmed on the moon's surface in 2008 and Titan remains the only other known world with stable liquid on its surface.

"This radar-imaged river by Cassini provides another fantastic snapshot of a world in motion," said ESA Cassini Project scientist Nicolas Altobelli. The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA, and ASI, the Italian space agency.

Via ESA

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Lowering a Zodiac in Pléneau Bay, Antarctica     Photo: Liam Q/Flickr

Antarctic Explorer's Gear Lost in the Mail

May miss final flight

Antarctic explorer Richard Parks is in something of a bind after all his gear for his solo unsupported trek to the pole got lost in the mail. He had planned to depart for Union Glacier on Wednesday, until he realized on Monday that all the gear for his long expedition had failed to arrive in Punta Arenas. Working with the shipping company, they were finally able to track it down to a dock in London—from which it never left. "I now have two options," Parks wrote on his blog. "I either pull the freight back through customs, take my pulk out and then get someone from my team to fly all my gear over to Punta direct asap and I use a pulk from here from ALE or the freight goes on the flight to Miami and then on to Punta as planned asap and I sit tight and wait." The last flight of the season to Antarctica departs on December 17.

Via The Adventure Blog

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Bradley Wiggins at the 2012 Criterium du Dauphine     Photo: Peter Stevens/Flickr

Wiggins: I'd Like to Win 2013 Tour

Backtracks from earlier statements

Reigning Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins said this week that he'd like to win the event again in 2013, backtracking from earlier statements that he would focus on the Giro de Italia next season. "As it stands, I'm probably going to try and win a second Tour de France, so I don't know, maybe we'll have two leaders. That's more than likely, I guess," Wiggins told BBC Radio 5 Live. Wiggins' ambitions may set him at odds with teammate Chris Froome, whom Wiggins originally said he would support next season. Froome trailed Wiggins by three minutes and 41 seconds in this year's Tour; some observers say that Froome, a stronger climber, could likely make up much of that difference on next year's mountainous course.

Via VeloNation

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    Photo: Hellraiser Media/Flickr

Drainage of Kandahar Poop Pond Delayed

Infamous airfield cesspit remains

There is a lake filled with poop in Afghanistan—and it is going to stay that way for the near future. At the American-run Kandahar airfield, the wastewater treatment plant is designed to handle waste from 25,000 people—but the airfield is currently home to around 30,000. The plant is also currently unable to process cooking oil and grease. So, the excess “waste material,” along with the oil and grease, ends up in a nearby cesspit. The smell gets whipped around the base by the desert wind and, yeah, ugh.

Plans were in place for the lake to be drained by the end of this year, but that won’t be happening. “Although the description of its smell can never be over-exaggerated,” said Sergeant First Class Erick Studenicka, “reports of malodorous Poo Pond's demise were premature.” Instead, they’re looking toward the middle of next year as a drainage deadline. “If the number of residents on Kandahar airfield drops early next year and the mechanical grease separator is installed,” Studenicka said, “it's likely the residents on Kandahar airfield in spring will witness the end of an era—the long-awaited closure of the poo pond around mid-2013.”

Via The Guardian

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