Solar winds create new source of water on space dust

Water in the form of ice is the most abundant solid material in the universe. Much of it was created as the byproduct of star formation, but not all. For now, John Bradley, of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and his team may have discovered a new source of water in our solar system. His lab experiments reveal that solar winds may be creating water on interplanetary dust.

In the form of solar winds, the sun ejects high-speed charged particles in all directions. Bodies in the inner solar system get bombarded with these winds continuously in varying intensities.

Small bodies, such as dust particles or tiny asteroids, fall victim to these harsh winds. Large bodies, such as the Moon, that do not have enough gravity to hold onto an atmosphere fall victim to impact from tiny meteorites, as well as to solar winds. This form of bombardment causes a phenomenon called space weathering…

The modification leads to an imbalance in the structure of the particle sometimes causing occurrence of loosely-held oxygen and hydrogen atoms. This made scientists speculate that somewhere in these rims there is a chance that water could be formed…

That’s where Bradley’s work came into action. The team attempted to locate the formation of water using a highly-sensitive method of analysis called the valence electron energy-loss spectroscopy…

The idea was that, if water formed because of solar winds, it would be detected in only those samples that were exposed to hydrogen and not in those exposed to helium. And that is what happened. Bradley’s sensitive technique found presence of water repeatedly in only the hydrogen-exposed samples…

Bradley’s work implies that water molecules must have been forming for billions of years on interplanetary dust particles, on the moon and possibly on asteroids.

RTFA for the how and why and wherefores. Fascinating work.

Bradley doesn’t answer every question raised about the formation and distribution of water in solar systems, galaxies. The likelihood of several processes functioning independently and in concert is likely. Still – a qualitative addition to the body of astrophysical knowledge.

Setback in bid to keep US air base on Okinawa


Mayor Inamine [center] and his supporters celebrate re-election

Efforts to relocate a US base on Japan’s Okinawa appeared to suffer a new setback Sunday, 17 years after they began, with the reported electoral victory of an opponent of the project.

The mayor of the town of Nago on the east coast of Okinawa has won re-election, according to the TBS news station after the majority of votes were counted.

Susumu Inamine, supported by several leftist parties, is a strong opponent of the joint project by the US and Japanese governments to move the US Marines’ Futenma Air Station, sited in an urban area in the south of Okinawa, to Nago bay.

Understand, the mayor wants the base off the island altogether!

Last month, more than 17 years after Washington and Tokyo agreed to move the base from the densely populated urban area, the Okinawa government finally consented to a landfill that will enable new facilities to be built on the coast at Nago.

The issue had been deadlocked for years, with huge opposition to any new base among Okinawans fed up with playing host to an outsized share of the US military presence in Japan…

The mayor of Nago does not have the right to overthrow plans to relocate the base but could refuse to approve the use of roads and other facilities necessary for building works…

Okinawa’s Governor Hirokazu Nakaima, long a thorn in the central government’s side, gave the plan his approval after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promised Okinawa financial aid of at least $2.9 billion every year until fiscal 2021.

A bribe of $8,000 per resident per year.

Opponents support the removal of the US base from the town of Ginowan but want it relocated out of Okinawa altogether.

Let me insert an educated guess here. Founded on over a half-century of watching our Cold Warriors in action. I guarantee there is a secret treaty stashed in the GOUSA that specifies US troops will leave Okinawa and Japan ONLY when the United States says so – a treaty signed after Japan’s unconditional surrender in 1945.

Japan has even elected national governments on this issue and then rec’d an unpublished phone call from the White House – most recently from Obama in his first term – and then announced they wouldn’t be able to close the US Base in Okinawa. No further discussion allowed. So much for transparency, enlightened democracy.

MLKjr

I think I’ll write a little bit about this photo. You see, I’m standing just to the right of the field of vision – politely nudged aside by the news photographer who wanted to get a good close-up of Dr. King speaking in one of the toughest neighborhoods in Black Chicago. Out in front of the Robert Taylor Projects.

Looking around for a photo and a news piece to reflect upon on this holiday, I bumped into this news photo from the summer of 1965 in Chicago. I spent that summer as a community activist working with other like-minded folks from the then fairly-new W.E.B.DuBois Clubs. Radicals, communist and non-communist, religious and atheist, all colors and creeds; but, convinced that it would take more than band-aids to patch up the effect of centuries of racism in America.

I met some wonderful people that summer. Not the least of whom was Dr. King. Though he wasn’t the biggest influence on my feelings, understanding of what the movement needed to do, where to go next. Most influential was Ismael Flory, founder of the African American Heritage Association, editor and stalwart in his dedication to producing an encyclopedia of African American studies. Ish could turn traffic directions into a discussion of history, turn lunch into the science of gastronomy – could make you laugh or cry over silly humanity.

I opened for Dr. King, that day in Chicago’s South Side. Back in the day, there wasn’t anyplace I sang and performed that didn’t have at least a core of the call for change in it. Newspaper articles and historic documents say this was the first time that Dr. King was booed by a Black audience. It was much, much less than that.

There were two truly tiny efforts birthing in Chicago at that time joining the early call for Black Power within the civil rights movement – and ready to exit the larger effort at the drop of a dollar bill. That day the noisiest boos came from members of the Blackstone Rangers already devolving into hustlers taking money from the Feds and using the funds to build one of the largest drug gangs in Chicago. The other silliest group was comprised of one well-known young Black man – an early advocate of separatist activism – who trotted out a line of a half-dozen or so schoolchildren, none over 6 or 7 years old, who carried anti-King signs. Dr. King chided him for his opportunism and guile.

For me, the day is remembered as the first time I met Martin Luther King, Jr.. I remember the summer sun and heat. I remember one Black teenager who liked one particular song I wrote – something I rarely did. I never wanted to be a songwriter. It was one more step away from America’s bigoted history. One more step towards a future still unrealized; but – believe me – better than it ever was.

I wrote this a few years ago. Worth reposting.