Archive for February 10th, 2012
The lonely journey of this large boulder is apparent from its track in a sloping regolith surface. A casual glance might suggest that it happened last week, or even that its rolling might resume at any moment. However, closer inspection will detect a few craters that clearly superpose and therefore post-date the track, showing that this 9-meter diameter boulder stopped rolling some time ago. Impacts are used in this way to provide a relative sense for the timing of events on planetary surfaces across the solar system. The procedure assumes a steady flux of impacting bodies in each size range, with smaller impacts being much more frequent than large impacts.
Though long ago to humans, however, this boulder’s journey was made in geologically recent times. Studies suggest that regolith development from micrometeorite impacts will erase tracks like these over time intervals of tens of millions of years. If rate estimates are accurate, this boulder track might not be older than 50-100 million years. Eventually its track will be erased completely. What might have caused the rock to roll so recently? Perhaps this boulder was sent on its way by ground-shaking caused by the violence of a nearby impact. Perhaps a direct hit by a small meteoroid did the job.
Nothing says I love you like the smell of sewage in the morning.
The Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant will offer a romantic early morning tour of its Greenpoint sludge-processing facility on Feb. 14, perhaps the strangest way to show your date you care — or subtly indicate that things aren’t working out.
Put on some comfortable boots, snuggle up with your companion, and hold your breath when the plant’s ruggedly handsome superintendent, Jimmy Pynn, explains how the city cleans 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater each day.
You’ll get to see every aspect of the plant’s waste treating process, and even take a trip through its suggestively shaped digester tanks, where plucky microorganisms break down what you and your date ate for lunch yesterday, producing methane and carbon dioxide gas.
And at the end of the tour, Pynn will give each attendee a Hershey’s Kiss — because there’s nothing sweeter than protecting the environment.