Jez Higgins

Freelance software generalist
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extended or repaired


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Saturday 06 April 2013 The Forest Road Reader, No 16

The use of static mass spectrometry to determine the combined stable isotopic composition of small samples of atmospheric methane. That probably wasn't some of the science we spent the £10 on, but this analysis was done on the machine we built that didn't get the blue LED.

Here's a picture of El Morso taking a picture of some science in the Nullarbor desert.

Planetary science, and meteoritics in particular, can seem like some of the purest of pure science. My old friend Richard used to describe his work as society's hobby. Trying to find out the origins of the solar system, because that's what you're investigating when you study meteorites, has no practical value, but, by God, people are interested in it.

It's not all fun and nonsense, though. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas and working out the origins of the global methane budget could be a very useful tool. Methane from different sources - tundra outgassing, termite mounds, cow burp, and so on - has different chemical signatures. How do you work out those signatures? Well, you could employ the use of static mass spectrometry to determine the combined stable isotopic composition of small samples of atmospheric methane.

After he returned from that Nullarbor trip, a type of fungus previously unknown to science was found in El Morso's laundry.

Mind how you go, now


Tagged space, meteoritics, methane, unknown-fungus, and mass-spectrometry


Jez Higgins

Freelance software generalist
software created
extended or repaired

Older posts are available in the archive or through tags.

Feed

Follow me on Twitter
My code on GitHub

Contact
About