Why Fire Hydrants Don’t Freeze and Burst During Winter

The fire hydrant that we know today traces its origins back to fire plugs. Water mains that transported fresh water in a city or town used to be made of hollowed out logs buried beneath the streets. Whenever there was a fire and firefighters needed water, they dug up the cobblestone street and drilled a hole into the… » 8/12/14 5:40am 8/12/14 5:40am

Why Is Some Ice Clear and Some Cloudy?

Unless you happen to have a specialized ice machine in your home, it is practically guaranteed that the ice your freezer makes is of the cloudy variety. A popular and well known trick to making clear(er) ice is to either boil the water first or use distilled water. However, even doing this won't guarantee the kind of… » 7/10/14 5:00am 7/10/14 5:00am

NASA space rover drives on the underside of the ice

NASA just completed a test of an early prototype—maybe just an early, early precursor—space rover that may be flown to explore the Jupiter moon Europa. What's cool is that the rover is designed to float on the underside of the ice and "rove as if the underside of the ice is the ground." Up is down, down is up. » 6/23/14 11:32pm 6/23/14 11:32pm

Melting Arctic Ice Is Drastically Changing National Geographic's Atlas

When the the 10th edition of the National Geographic world atlas is released this fall, it will look markedly different from previous versions. That field of endless white usually covering the very north of the planet will be dramatically reduced to reflect the real-life shrinkage of the Arctic ice sheet. » 6/10/14 1:00pm 6/10/14 1:00pm

First-person point of view video recorded by a wild polar bear

US Geological Survey's biologists attached cameras and radio collars to four free-ranging female Alaskan polar bears last April. One of the resulting videos shows one of the bears in action in the Beaufort Sea, checking out a potential mate, swimming below ice, and trying to eat a frozen seal (which is kind of gross.) » 6/08/14 5:04pm 6/08/14 5:04pm

The Antarctic Ice Sheet Has Started to Collapse and Nothing Can Stop It

For decades, scientists have feared the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet—a vast swath of ice that could unleash a slow but unstoppable 10-foot rise in sea levels if it melted. So here is today's terrible news: we now know the ice sheet is melting. And there's pretty much nothing we can do about it. » 5/12/14 2:00pm 5/12/14 2:00pm

NASA: Ganymede is a water and ice Club Sandwich that may harbor life

NASA scientists says that the largest moon in the solar system may harbor life in its inner oceans. Previously, scientists thought Ganymede only had one ocean between two ice layers, but data reveals that its structure is "ice and oceans stacked up in several layers like a club sandwich." » 5/01/14 8:16pm 5/01/14 8:16pm

The Still-Frozen Great Lakes Could Mean Cold Temperatures All Summer

Last time we checked in with the Great Lakes, it was in the bone-chilling depths of the Polar Vortex, and a record-breaking 88 percent of the lakes were frozen. Now, here we are, at the end of April, and the lakes are still 30 percent frozen, which could mean a colder summer for the country. » 4/27/14 10:00am 4/27/14 10:00am

NASA image and data demonstrates how hard winter has been

In case there was any doubt about it, NASA has confirmed that "ice cover this spring is significantly above normal." And with "significantly" they actually mean "are you freaking kidding me?" When the Aqua satellite passed over Lake Superior on April 20, the lake was 63.5 percent ice covered. Last year it was at 3.6 » 4/24/14 11:14am 4/24/14 11:14am

Learning the Lost Art of Ice Harvesting in Maine

In 1805, a twenty-three year-old Bostonian named Frederic Tudor launched a new industry: the international frozen-water trade. Over the next fifty years, he and the men he worked with developed specialized ice-harvesting tools, a global network of thermally engineered ice houses, and a business model that cleverly… » 3/13/14 3:40pm 3/13/14 3:40pm

Watching ice crystals melt is like seeing a psychedelic kaleidoscope

I'd like to have whatever these ice crystals are having because damn it's quite the trip. The video of these ice crystals melting was taken by Shawn Knol using cross-polarized light which I'm going to assume is some code word for really powerful drugs and not actually some super slick microscope. » 2/21/14 11:04pm 2/21/14 11:04pm