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Clouds with a chance of warming

Researchers from Argonne's Environmental Science division participated in one of the largest collaborative atmospheric measurement campaigns in Antarctica in recent decades.

Water exists as two different liquids

We normally consider liquid water as disordered with the molecules rearranging on a short time scale around some average structure. Now, however, scientists at Stockholm University have discovered two phases of the liquid ...

Scientists to unveil new Earth-like planet: report

Scientists are preparing to unveil a new planet in our galactic neighbourhood which is "believed to be Earth-like" and orbits its star at a distance that could favour life, German weekly Der Spiegel reported Friday.

Scientists discover a new state of matter for water

One of the most basic things we are taught in school science classes is that water can exist in three different states, either as solid ice, liquid water, or vapour gas. But an international team of scientists have recently ...

Could Venus have been habitable?

Venus may have been a temperate planet hosting liquid water for 2-3 billion years, until a dramatic transformation starting over 700 million years ago resurfaced around 80% of the planet. A study presented today at the EPSC-DPS ...

First evidence of planet-wide groundwater system on Mars

Mars Express has revealed the first geological evidence of a system of ancient interconnected lakes that once lay deep beneath the Red Planet's surface, five of which may contain minerals crucial to life.

Mars gullies likely not formed by liquid water

New findings using data from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show that gullies on modern Mars are likely not being formed by flowing liquid water. This new evidence will allow researchers to further narrow theories about ...

Ingredients for life revealed in meteorites that fell to Earth

Two wayward space rocks, which separately crashed to Earth in 1998 after circulating in our solar system's asteroid belt for billions of years, share something else in common: the ingredients for life. They are the first ...

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Water

Water is a ubiquitous chemical substance, composed of hydrogen and oxygen, that is essential for the survival of many known forms of life. In typical usage, water refers only to its liquid form or state, but the substance also has a solid state, ice, and a gaseous state, water vapor or steam. Water covers 71% of the Earth's surface. On Earth, it is found mostly in oceans and other large water bodies, with 1.6% of water below ground in aquifers and 0.001% in the air as vapor, clouds (formed of solid and liquid water particles suspended in air), and precipitation. Saltwater oceans hold 97% of surface water, glaciers and polar ice caps 2.4%, and other land surface water such as rivers, lakes and ponds 0.6%. A very small amount of the Earth's water is contained within biological bodies and manufactured products. Other water is trapped in ice caps, glaciers, aquifers, or in lakes, sometimes providing fresh water for life on land.

Water moves continually through a cycle of evaporation or transpiration (evapotranspiration), precipitation, and runoff, usually reaching the sea. Winds carry water vapor over land at the same rate as runoff into the sea. Over land, evaporation and transpiration contribute to the precipitation over land.

Clean, fresh drinking water is essential to human and other lifeforms. Access to safe drinking water has improved steadily and substantially over the last decades in almost every part of the world. There is a clear correlation between access to safe water and GDP per capita. However, some observers have estimated that by 2025 more than half of the world population will be facing water-based vulnerability. Water plays an important role in the world economy, as it functions as a solvent for a wide variety of chemical substances and facilitates industrial cooling and transportation. Approximately 70 percent of freshwater is consumed by agriculture.

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