Jul 202013
 

solid-rain-drought-powder-mexico

Apart from farming, it can also be used to reduce the amount of watering need for lawns, gardens, flowers and countless other home-based plants.

Solid Rain is a Mexican-made product that looks like salt and sells for $25 a pound. It’s makers claim that the product is capable of solving the world’s drought problems.

The product’s creator is a chemical engineer by the name of Sergio Jésus Rico Velasco, a man who’s spent decades trying to mitigate the drought problems that Mexico suffers from.

Inspired by baby diapers – Solid Rain is actually a highly absorbent polymer called potassium polyacrylate, which soaks in water up to 500 times its original size. 10 grams is all it takes to soak up a litre of water, transforming it into a thick, translucent gel.

The water can stay in this state for up to a year, not being effected by evaporation or having any other way to escape except when it is consumed by a plant’s roots.

A study by the Mexican government showed that farm plots yielded 300 percent more crops when Solid Rain was used. Three examples include oatmeal, which yielded 5000 kg per hectare with Solid Rain, versus 2500 kg per hectare without, sunflowers . 3000kg with versus 1000kg without, and bean which yielded a staggering 3000kg with versus 450kg without.

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via PSFK - Ross Brooks
 

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Aug 172012
 

“These lander tests provide the data necessary to expand our capabilities to go to other destinations”

The “Mighty Eagle,” a NASA robotic prototype lander, is soaring high again for a series of tests being conducted at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Since its last round of tests in 2011, the Mighty Eagle team has made significant updates to the guidance controls on the lander’s camera, furthering its autonomous capabilities. The three-legged “green” lander is fueled by 90 percent pure hydrogen peroxide and receives its commands from an onboard computer that activates its onboard thrusters to carry it to a controlled landing using a pre-programmed flight profile. It is 4 feet tall and 8 feet in diameter and, when fueled, weighs 700 pounds.

In this series of tests, which will continue through September, the lander prototype will autonomously fly and hover at 30 feet for two tests, and up to 100 feet for another two tests, and then move sideways, to safely land 30 feet away from the launch pad. The test demonstrates what it will take to perform the final descent of an autonomous controlled landing on the moon, asteroids or other airless bodies.

“These lander tests provide the data necessary to expand our capabilities to go to other destinations,” said Dr. Greg Chavers, engineering manager and warm gas test article lead at the Marshall Center. “It also furthers our knowledge of the engineering components needed for future human and robotic missions.” NASA will use the Mighty Eagle to mature the technology needed to develop a new generation of small, smart, versatile robotic landers capable of achieving scientific and exploration goals throughout the solar system.

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via NASA
 

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