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Mathematicians may have unlocked the secret of how “stone forests” form – Ars Technica

Soluble rocks dissolve, the surrounding fluid gets heavy, and gravity pulls it downward.

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Enlarge/ The Stone Forest (Shilin) in China’s Yunnan Province may be the result of solids dissolving into liquids in the presence of gravity, producing natural convective flows.
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There are many wondrous geologic formations in nature, from Giant’s Causeway in Ireland to Castleton Tower in Utah, and the various processes by which such structures form is of longstanding interest for scientists. A team of applied mathematicians from New York University has turned its …

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NASA launching new space toilet and more to space station this week – Space.com

The private Cygnus spacecraft is scheduled to launch on Sept. 29.

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A private cargo spacecraft will lift off from Virginia on Tuesday (Sept. 29), carrying tons of fresh supplies to the International Space Station, including scientific experiments, skincare from Estée Lauder and a brand-new space toilet.
The mission, known as Cygnus NG-14, will be deliver 7,624 lbs (3,458 kilograms) of cargo on the14th flight for Northrop Grumman’s robotic Cygnus spacecraft and the resupply craft’s 13th mission to the International Space Station. Cygnus will launch atop an Antar…

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Could the Sahara ever be green again? – Live Science

The Sahara was once home to hippos.

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Sometime between 11,000 and 5,000 years ago, after the last ice age ended, the Sahara Desert
transformed. Green vegetation grew atop the sandy dunes and increased rainfall turned arid caverns into lakes. About 3.5 million square miles (9 million square kilometers) of Northern Africa turned green, drawing in animals such as hippos
, antelopes, elephants
and aurochs (wild ancestors of domesticated cattle), who feasted on its thriving grasses and shrubs. This lush paradise is long gone, but co…

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We May Finally Know What Life on Earth Breathed Before There Was Oxygen – ScienceAlert

Billions of years ago, long before oxygen was readily available, the notorious poison arsenic could have been the compound that breathed new life into our planet.

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Billions of years ago, long before oxygen was readily available, the notorious poison arsenic could have been the compound that breathed new life into our planet.
In Chile’s Atacama Desert, in a place called Laguna La Brava, scientists have been studying a purple ribbon of photosynthetic microbes living in a hypersaline lake that’s permanently free of oxygen.
“I have been working with microbial mats for about 35 years or so,” says geoscientist Pieter Visscher from the University of Connecticut…

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We May Finally Know What Life on Earth Breathed Before There Was Oxygen – ScienceAlert
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Understanding Our Place in the Universe: Math Professor Verifies Centuries-Old Conjecture About Formation of the Solar System – SciTechDaily