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Situational awareness: NASA announced the agency is planning to launch a spacecraft to Saturn's moon, Titan, in 2026 in search of details about the alien world’s surface and lakes.
We're taking a break for July 4th next week. Have a great holiday if you're celebrating!
Wind creates waves on the surface of the Gulf of Maine. Photo: Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Researchers have for the first time mapped a freshwater aquifer under the ocean, suggesting it and other similar systems could be a new source of water.
The big picture: Millions of people face greater water stress from population growth, groundwater depletion and climate change. While the water described in the study, published in Scientific Reports, would need to be desalinized before consumption, it would not require the energy-intensive process currently undertaken in some countries, such as Israel.
What they did: The researchers used new electromagnetic methods typically employed for mapping offshore oil and gas resources.
What they found: an aquifer system located within porous rock formations extending from the shoreline to about 50 miles off the coast of both survey locations.
The backstory: It's thought the groundwater originated during the end of the last glaciation, some 15,000 to 20,000 years ago, when sea levels were lower and mile-thick ice sheets retreated.
Between the lines: A 2013 study found freshwater aquifers likely are present in Outer Continental Shelf regions of every continent. That finding combined with the new results could spur more surveys to search for tappable offshore groundwater reserves.
The bottom line: “The big thing that we want people to know is that this isn’t just an isolated incident off the coast of New Jersey and Martha's Vineyard,” Gustafson says.
A view from CSIRO’s Australian SKA Pathfinder radio telescope antenna 29. Photo: CSIRO/Alex Cherney
For the first time, scientists have traced the origin of a non-repeating Fast Radio Burst (FRB), Axios’ Miriam Kramer reports.
Why it matters: The origin of FRBs — extreme and mysterious pulses of radio waves from outside our galaxy — has been a long-standing mystery in astrophysics that the new study in the journal Science moves the field closer to solving.
What they found: A powerful radio telescope allowed the astronomers to trace an FRB detected in 2018 to a particular part of its host galaxy more than 4 billion light-years away from our own.
Context: Scientists have plenty of ideas about what might be causing these FRBs, but none of the explanations are perfect.
But, but, but: FRBs can be either a single radio wave pulse or repeating bursts. Scientists traced the origin of a repeating FRB in 2017, but that galaxy looks very different from the galaxy that hosted this transient FRB.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Post-traumatic stress disorder is proving to be an elusive condition to treat, but researchers are increasingly chipping away at developing new and better interventions, Axios' Eileen Drage O'Reilly writes.
Why it matters: PTSD is estimated to affect 7 or 8 people out of every 100, and the World Health Organization recently reported more than 1 out of 5 people who've been in conflict settings face mental disorders, including PTSD — a greater number than originally expected.
Background: PTSD is characterized by intrusive symptoms that can include frequent flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance of reminders, hyperarousal or over-vigilance, and extended negative thinking, Wayne State University's Arash Javanbakht tells Axios.
Brain scans have linked PTSD to brain shrinkage and lesions, Javanbakht says, although he adds scans aren't used for clinical diagnosis.
The latest: As Axios noted in its recent neuroscience deep dive, psychologists are examining the brain's forgetting strategies to see if they can be used to help people diminish the memories that cause trauma — or at least associate them with more positive feelings.
Doctors are looking for new medications. Some research has targeted the possible use of ketamine or similar drugs, but the problem seems to be that its fix is temporary, it could be addictive and has other side effects, he says.
Read the rest of Eileen's story here.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
In photos: Europe swelters through a blistering heat wave (Rebecca Falconer)
Trying to eradicate malaria around the world (Eileen Drage O'Reilly)
A mission to a pristine comet (Miriam Kramer)
The search for life as we don't know it (Miriam Kramer)
Arctic fox in summer coat, Svalbard, Norway. Photo: Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Why One Arctic Fox Took the Longest Migration in the Species’ History (Adam Popescu, One Zero)
One Percent of North Atlantic Right Whales Have Died This Month (Ed Yong, The Atlantic)
The doctor who beat Ebola — and inspires other survivors to care for the sick (Amy Maxmen, Nature News)
The Hidden Light Show Below (Louise Murray, Hakai Magazine)
The eruption of Mt. Raikoke as seen from the International Space Station on June 22, 2019. Credit: NASA
After nearly a century of slumber, the Raikoke Volcano roared to life on June 22.
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station were in a perfect position to capture the eruption on an island off Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula. It sent ash and sulfur dioxide aerosols up into the stratosphere, where they can scatter incoming sunlight and influence the planet's climate slightly.
Large volcanic eruptions, particularly ones near the tropics, have in the past been linked to short-lived periods of global cooling. This most recently occurred with the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines.