Water in Extreme Environments: Vocabulary

Constraint Ways that you or your design are limited
Criteria Things that you or your design needs to do
Design To plan or make something that doesn't exist yet
Engineer Someone who uses his or her creativity and knowledge of math and science to design technologies that solve problems
Engineering Design Process The steps that engineers use to design technologies that solve a problem
Water Tower Water towers store water high off the ground. Gravity causes water from the elevated towers to flow downhill to taps.
Data Information that is collected through scientific investigation
Extreme Environment A place where it is difficult for people to survive
Process A series of steps completed in a certain order to solve a problem
Reuse To use again for a similar or different purpose
Technology Any thing or process designed by humans to solve a problem
Water Resource Engineer Someone who uses his or her creativity and knowledge of math and science to design technologies that solve problems related to providing people with access to clean and safe water.
Water Scarcity When people do not have enough water to complete all the tasks they need to live.
Acid / Acidity / Acidic A chemical substance with a pH less than 7 that is corrosive or sour-tasting.  Examples of acids include soda pop, lemon juice, vinegar, tomato juice, and black coffee.
Base / Basic A chemical substance with a pH greater than 7 that have a bitter taste and a slippery feel.  Examples of bases include sea water, baking soda, milk of magnesia, soapy water, and bleach.
Clarity The cloudiness or haziness in water caused by small particles.
Contaminant A substance that makes water dirty or unsafe to drink.
Investigate To observe or examine by asking questions and figuring out answers
Ions Charged particles. Ions are atoms or molecules with a net electric charge due to the gain or loss of electrons.
Neutral / Neutrality A chemical substance with a pH equal to 7 that is neither acidic nor basic.  Pure water is an example of a pH-neutral substance.
pH pH is a measure of how acidic or basic a water-based solution is and indicates the concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution.  pH values usually range from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral, less than 7 being acidic, and greater then 7 being basic.
pH strips Pieces of special paper that change color depending on the pH of a liquid they are measuring.  The color change indicates whether the liquid is acidic, neutral, or basic.
Pollution When contaminants are harmful. See the term "contaminant" above
Secchi Disk A white circular disk used to measure water clarity.  As the disk is lowered into water, the depth at which the disk is no longer visible is a measure of water clarity.
Water Quality The characteristics that let us know if water is safe to use
Limestone A sedimentary rock mostly composed of calcuim carbonate that often contains skeletal fragments of marine organisms.  It is used to make cement.
Pure Water Water that is clean and safe enough to drink.
Greywater Water that has been used at least once and can be used again.
Waste Water Water that is too dirty to be used again.
Filter / FIltration A technology that improves water quality by removing particles or contaminants as the water passes through.
Edible Plants Plants that can be used as a food
Greywater Process A process that improves the quality of used water and then uses it again for another purpose.
Landscaped Plants Plants that are not used as food, but for visual appeal
Reconfigure To change in shape or order
Greenhouse A structure enclosed (often by glass) and used for the cultivation of plants.
Off-the-grid All resources (water and electricity) come from the immediate environment and not from a city or town
Improve (in engineering) To make a device better than the first build. Examples include something being smaller, lighter, more durable, faster, able to do more things, or collect more kinds of data.
Communicate (in engineering) To share information, data, or ideas. It's important to communicate as engineers so that our designs can be improved. It's important to communicate as scientists so our data and ideas can be used to discover new things.
Extremophile A microorganism that thrives in conditions of extreme temperature, acidity, alkalinity, or chemical concentration.
Habitable / Habitability Suitable to be lived in.  In planetary science, it is a measure of the potential to develop and maintain environments hospitable to life.  A habitable environment has water, a source of carbon for organism metabolism, and a source of energy to fuel that organism metabolism.
Ions Charged particles. Ions are atoms or molecules with a net electric charge due to the gain or loss of electrons.
Groundwater Water held underground in the soil or in pores and crevices in rock.
Water Availability The presence or absence of water.  How much water is available on Earth or another planetary body can be measured or estimated.
Water accessibility A measure of how easily water can be obtained. The more effort or energy it takes to access water depends on its location and its physical state. For example, liquid water at the surface is easily accessible. Water that is frozen or located deep underground is less accessible.
Water usability A measure of how usable water is by humans for consumption (drinking and cooking), agriculture (growing food), and hygiene (cleaning things and washing away waste). To be usable, water must be relatively pure (not contaminated, dirty, polluted, or too salty), and water must be in liquid form.
pH pH is a measure of how acidic or basic a water-based solution is and indicates the concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution.  pH values usually range from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral, less than 7 being acidic, and greater then 7 being basic.
Reservoir A place where large amounts of water are stored.
Salinity The concentration of dissolved salt in water.
Asteroid Belt A region in the solar system located roughly between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter that is occupied by numerous irregularly shaped bodies called asteroids or minor planets.
Astronomical Unit (AU) The average distance from the center of the Earth to the center of the Sun (93 million miles, 149.6 million kilometers).
Density A measure of how compact a substance is.  In other words, how much material (or mass) is packed into its volume (how big it is).   Density is measured in units of grams per cubic centimeter.
Gravity The force that attracts two bodies toward each other.  The more massive the body, the stronger its gravity.
Ground Ice Ice that is located underground in open spaces (pores and fractures) between rocks.
Kuiper Belt A donut-shaped region of bodies beyond the orbit of Neptune.  Includes Pluto, its moons, and many objects far beyond.
Inner Solar System The area of the solar system that is relatively close to the Sun - from Mercury to the Main Asteroid Belt.  For example, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Earth's moon, Mars, and main belt asteroids.
Outer Solar System The area of the solar system that is relatively far from the Sun - beyond the Main Asteroid Belt.  For example, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and their moons.
Planetary Body Any body in the solar system (not a star) that has a planet-like structure.  For example, a planet, dwarf planet, moon, or asteroid.
Primitive Life Life that is not advanced or complicated in structure, often of the first (or earliest) of its kind in exsistence.
Subsurface Below the surface
Hydrocarbons Organic compounds made of hydrogen and carbon.
Potentially Habitable Life as we know it on Earth requires water, a source of carbon, and a source of energy. When it comes to water on other planetary bodies, the best we can say is that it is potentially habitable.
Radiation Energy that comes from a source and travels through space. Light, radio, and microwaves, ultraviolet, x-ray, and gamma rays are all types of radiation. Very high energy radiation is harmful to humans.