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An artist's impression of the ESA/NASA ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (Image: ESA)

The first joint mission between the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA that will study the chemical makeup of the martian atmosphere is scheduled for 2016. The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter marks an unprecedented alliance between the two agencies for future ventures to Mars and is the first in a planned series of joint missions leading to the return of a sample from the surface of the Red Planet. Scientists worldwide were invited to propose the spacecraft’s instruments and the ESA and NASA have now made their selections.  Read More

The complete BokashiPetCycle Fermenting System

What do you do with your dog or cat poop? Toss it in the garbage? Put it in your compost heap? Hurl it at your noisy neighbors? Well, according to Seattle researcher Lawrence Green, you shouldn’t be doing any of those things. Feces can contain wonderful things like toxoplasma parasites, E. coli, and salmonella bacteria, which can get into the groundwater. In plastic bags in landfills, it generates methane gas and attracts vermin. To that end, Green developed a product called the BokashiPetCycle Fermenting System. It allows you to pickle your pet’s poop, turning it into a harmless plant fertilizer.  Read More

British Gas in the UK has announced a new biogas pilot scheme (Image: butkaj / Flickr, CC ...

It's good to see a national gas company taking the lead in renewable energy. British Gas in the UK has announced a new pilot scheme with Thames Water and Scotia Gas Networks to build a plant that will clean biomethane gas harvested from human waste and inject it back into the grid for use in kitchens and heating.  Read More

If microscopic Martian life is producing the methane, it likely resides far below the surf...

New research has strengthened the possibility that biological life may exist beneath the surface of Mars. Scientists from Imperial College London have shown that the level of methane on the Red Planet can't be explained by meteorites in the atmosphere. This leaves the theory that microorganisms are producing methane gas as a by-product of their metabolic processes as one of the remaining possible explanations.  Read More

Researchers have found that using argon or helium during the nanotube growth process can i...

Researchers at the Honda Research Institute, Purdue University and the University of Louisville have discovered a way to systematically grow carbon nanotubes with either metallic or semiconducting properties, solving a long-standing problem in nanotechnology research and paving the way for the widespread use of nanotubes in electronics.  Read More

The “roulette wheels” created by MIT researchers to show the range of probability of poten...

Research carried out by the MIT's Center for Global Change Science has predicted that global warming will be roughly double previous estimates – and could be even worse than that. While a major 2003 study indicated a median projected increase in earth surface warming of 2.4 degrees Celsius, the new study, which takes into account possible changes in human activities, points to a median probability of surface warming of 5.2 degrees Celsius by 2100 unless drastic action is taken.  Read More

Yamaha's methane powered golf cart

We've all heard of vehicles that run on the smell of an oily rag, but what about one that runs on the smell of cow dung? A new prototype golf cart developed by Yamaha does just that - sort of - by running on the methane. The golf cart was tested with the assistance of the Osaka Gas Co. which provided methane at low cost to Yamaha for the vehicle tests as part of efforts to promote the use of cow dung biomass as a fuel.  Read More

Fish oils may reduce the methane released by cattle

Omega 3 fatty acids in fish oils have many documented benefits to humans including the reduction of cholesterol, but what of the benefits to animals and the environment in general? While assisting the heart and circulatory system in animals and improving the meat quality in cattle, it is also, according to researchers at the University College Dublin beneficial in reducing methane levels from flatulence when added to the diet of cattle, meaning it's also good for the environment.  Read More

A present-day salt lake in the south of Russia
 Pic Credit: Dr. Ludwig Weißflog/UFZ

A new report by an international team of scientists has suggested that the largest mass extinction in the history of the earth may not have been caused by volcanic eruptions, methane hydrate or the impact of an asteroid as previously surmised. It may actually have been triggered by giant salt lakes, whose emissions of halogenated gases changed the atmospheric composition to such an extent that vegetation was irretrievably damaged. While this is a lot less dramatic than a volcanic eruption or an asteroid, the effect would be no less devastating and may have implications for us today with forecasts predicting an increase in the surface areas of deserts and salt lakes due to climate change that researchers expect will also lead to an increase in the effects of these halogenated gases.  Read More

Nature's SUV in its natural habitat. Between 57.1 and 117.9 million metric tonnes of carbo...

A study published in the Institute of Physics’ Environmental Research Letters section today claims that by converting livestock manure to biogas, the United States could reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and generate up to 108.8 billion kW h – 2.9% of the country’s total electricity requirement.  Read More

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