A discussion of recent industry news and events, including further evidence of water on Mars, a new water systems training facility and more.

More Evidence of Martian Water

A patch of Martian soil analyzed by NASA’s rover Spirit is so rich in silica that it may provide some of the strongest evidence yet that ancient Mars was much wetter than it is now. The processes that could have produced such a concentrated deposit of silica require the presence of water.

Exploring a low range of hills inside a Connecticut-sized basin named Gusev Crater, Spirit had previously found other indicators of long-ago water at the site, such as patches of water-bearing, sulfur-rich soil; alteration of minerals; and evidence of explosive volcanism.

“This is some of the best evidence Spirit has found for water at Gusev,” says Albert Yen, a geochemist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. One possible origin for the silica could have been interaction of soil with acid vapors produced by volcanic activity in the presence of water. Another could have been from water in a hot spring environment. The latest discovery adds compelling new evidence for ancient conditions that might have been favorable for life, according to members of the rover science team.

One of Spirit’s six wheels no longer rotates, so it leaves a deep track as it drags through soil. That churning has exposed several patches of bright soil, leading to some of Spirit’s biggest discoveries at Gusev, including this recent discovery.

Natural Water Filter Invented

A man from the Sri Lankan town of Anuradhapura (located just east of the renowned Wilpattu National Park) has come up with a chemical-free water filter that uses only clay, “special herbs” and gravity to provide cool, purified drinking water, according to a recent Daily News article.

Herath Mudiyanselage Nawartne (no relation to famous Sri Lankan cricket star Herath Mudiyanselage Rangana Keerthi Bandara) spent four years and 400,000 Sri Lankan rupees ($3,600) working on perfecting his device. He’s already mortgaged to the hilt, and figures he needs about five times that much to go into full-scale production. Adding to his frustration are national laws that require local firms to go through enormous amounts of red tape to bring products to market, while imported goods face no such scrutiny.

Introducing FranklinTECH

FranklinTECH is Franklin Electric’s new water systems training facility in Wilburton, Okla. This state-of-the-art campus will serve as home to hands-on training for contractors, installers and distributors of water systems pumps, motors and controls. The center features 5,000 square feet of space, product displays, wireless connections and smart technology.

Training programs at FranklinTECH will cover topics including motor/pump construction, proper application and troubleshooting. Multiple hands-on elements will provide participants with the opportunity to test their knowledge. A factory tour rounds out the curriculum, and the training will qualify for continuing education credits in many states. Franklin offers this training free of charge to users of its products.

Wilburton is home to Franklin’s 6- and 8-inch submersible motor, centrifugal and turbine pump, and control box production. FranklinTECH is located adjacent to the factory, allowing easy access to production floor tours and demo products.

Sandvik Personnel Appointments

Sandvik Mining and Construction LLC, headquartered in Atlanta, announces the appointment of two new sales representatives for its water well product line. Randy Lingenfelter (404-469-2313) now covers the northeast, and David Owens (404-281-5857) represents the company in the southeast. ND