Global Glide: Big News Sept. 28 – Oct. 4


The presence of liquid water on the surface of Mars was confirmed on September 28. Photo credited to Wikipedia.

Lucy Arnold, Editor in Chief

Global Glide is a weekly news feature that gives a brief summary of major current events in the nation and in the world. Tune in to find out what’s going on!

Global and National News:

Water Found on Mars

In the days leading up to Monday the 28th, NASA taunted science lovers, space fans, and the general public alike with hints that it had solved a major mystery related to Mars. When Monday rolled around, NASA released its big news; images from the Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter recently confirmed that briny water occasionally flows across the planet’s ancient surface.

This exciting news does not necessarily mean that life exists or once existed on Mars. It does, however, raise hopes that the punishing Mars landscape could support microbe life.

Water has been found on the Red Planet before. For a long time, scientists have known that water is frozen at the planet’s poles, exists in the thin Martian atmosphere, and forms tiny surface puddles at night. Researchers are also aware of the existence of methane and other potential traces of life on the Martian surface. The main significance of this new discovery is that it suggests that the planet’s immediate surface is more friendly to life than previously thought.

NASA is hopeful that the new finding puts it in a prime position to search for life on the desolate planet, and it is basking in combined attention from the solved mystery and the theatre release of the highly anticipated The Martian.

Devastating Shooting at Oregon State Community College

On Thursday, October 1, Roseburg Oregon’s Umpqua Community College was rattled to its core when 26 year old Christopher Harper-Mercer opened fire in a classroom, killing nine and injuring seven. Soon after his deadly rampage, the gunman engaged in a shootout with a group of police officers and was shot. He proceeded to run back to the classroom and kill himself.

Investigators have learned that Harper-Mercer was mildly autistic and emotionally troubled. They have also confirmed that his mother is a gun enthusiast who allowed him access to firearms. A total of 14 firearms connected to Harper-Mercer have been recovered at the college and at the apartment that he shared with his mother.

Witnesses of the attack informed authorities that Harper-Mercer was enrolled in the English class that he fired upon. Those killed include the class teacher, 67-year-old Lawrence Levine, and eight others aged 18 to 59. 18-year-old Anastasia Boylan was among the injured victims. After a bullet traveled down her spine, she managed to survive by lying still and bleeding on the floor, playing dead.

The college and the nation are in deep mourning for the dead victims. In a somber address on the day of the tragedy, President Obama stated that the country is “numb” to school shootings because they are becoming so routine. Many are hopeful that Umpqua Community College’s ordeal will help to spur a reversal of this dangerous trend.

Hurricane Joaquin Floods South Carolina with Torrential Downpour

Over the past week, Hurricane Joaquin has brought historic flooding to South Carolina and to other parts of the Southern United States. The Weather Channel is predicting that when the last rainfalls are counted, the storm will be considered one of the most significant rainfall events in America’s modern history.

Rainfall counts have already broken a host of weather records in South Carolina; the rainfall has surpassed that of any tropical cyclone in the state’s history and 24 hour and 5 day rain records have been broken in multiple locations. One site in Columbia, South Carolina, may have broken the overall state record for rainfall in a time period, reporting 18.71 inches of rain within a 24 hour period from Oct. 3 to Oct. 4.  

South Carolina residents are billions of dollars of damage related to deluge and flooding. At least 11 dams have broken since Saturday, and a total of 17 people have died of storm-related causes in North and South Carolina. The El Faro container ship has also been lost at sea. If it sunk, the death toll will rise significantly.