The technology makes use of the property of bacterial spores, which are like seeds that can germinate into a living microbe under the right conditions. Absent those conditions, however, they are rather good at absorbing water whenever they find it. During absorption they swell and when they lose the water they contract, and they can do this repeatedly, without much wear and tear.
The Navajo Generating Station, the West’s largest power-generating facility. The power generated enables a modern wonder. It drives a set of pumps 325 miles down the Colorado River that heave trillions of gallons of water out of the river and send it shooting over mountains and through canals. That water — lifted 3,000 vertical feet and carried 336 miles — has enabled the cities of Phoenix and Tucson to rapidly expand. Every hour the Navajo’s generators spin, the plant spews more climate-warming gases into the atmosphere than almost any other single facility in the United States. Alone, it accounts for 29 percent of Arizona’s emissions from energy generation. The Navajo station’s infernos gobble 15 tons of coal each minute, 24 hours each day, every day.
Watch live as our Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator takes to the skies over Kauai, Hawaii, in its second flight test. Via cameras aboard the test vehicle, media and public can watch live on NASA TV and http://ustream.tv/NASAJPL2 as the rocket-propelled craft attains velocity four times the speed of sound, inflates and deploys the world’s largest parachute. This technology may someday help land humans on Mars.