Skip to content

There’s methane on Mars too!

May 28, 2015
Did Curiosity Rover Cause Mars' Mysterious Methane Spike?

Is the Red Planet giving off methane?

The question has taunted scientists for nearly 50 years, ever since the Mariner 7 spacecraft detected a whiff of the gas near the south pole of Mars. Researchers retracted the finding a month later after realizing that the signal was in fact coming from carbon dioxide ice.

Then in 2003 and 2004, earthbound telescopes and orbiting spacecraft rekindled the mystery with reports of large methane clouds in Mars’ atmosphere. Most of Earth’s methane comes from living organisms, though a small fraction can form when rocks and hot water interact. A burp of methane on Marswould indicate that the planet might be more alive than previously thought — whether biologically or geologically. But the “plumes” mysteriously vanished a few years later, sparking intense debate over whether they might have been seasonal, or the results of flawed measurements. [Mars Methane: Could It Mean Life? (Video)]

NASA’s Curiosity roverwould resolve the matter, everyone hoped. The rover sampled Mars’s atmosphere six times for methane between October 2012 and June 2013 — and detected none. But the case for Martian methane remained far from settled. A few months later, Curiosity detected a sudden burst of the gas in four measurements over a period of two months.

Working hard to rule out potential anomalies and monitor the evolution of the burst over time, the Curiosity team waited an entire year before announcing the new results at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in December 2014. A paper was published in the journal Science in January 2015. Whether microbes lurking below the Martian surface or geology was at play, the Red Planet could well be alive in some way after all.

And yet, a researcher remains skeptical. Kevin Zahnle, a scientist at NASA’s Ames Researcher Center in Moffett Field, California, who was not involved with the discovery, voiced his concerns last month in a seminar hosted by the NASA Astrobiology Institute’s Virtual Planetary Lab.

“I am convinced that they really are seeing methane,” he said. “But I’m thinking that it has to be coming from the rover.”

Read the entire article here.

Terra-Petra installs soil gas and waterproofing system at Family House project in San Francisco

April 3, 2015

Nancy and Stephen Grand Family House Time Lapse   11 14 1 15   YouTube

Terra-Petra is excited to be involved with the construction of a project for an organization called “Family House – (aka The Nancy and Stephen Grand Family House) in San Francisco, California. The not-for-profit organization offers free-of-charge housing for qualifying families of seriously ill children receiving treatment at University of California San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital. The project site is near the new site of the hospital in the Mission Bay area of San Francisco. The move in for the development is projected for November 30, 2015.

The soil gas and waterproofing system, two separate mobilizations, took just 5 days to install and covered 30,000 square feet. This efficient installation had little to no impact on the overall construction schedule which made the architect, owner and general contractor extremely satisfied. The link below is a time-lapse video, where the two phases of Terra-Petra’s involvement with this remarkable project include the entire foundation being covered in green and then with black layers of coating. The section of the video where the green layer is applied shows the VI-20 base layer of the membrane sandwich while the black layers are both the spray-applied Liquid Boot membrane and the geotextile protection course.

The system was designed to take care of three separate compliance matters: the corrosive soil requirements, waterproofing site specific design issues, as well as the Maher Ordinance, which is enforced by the San Francisco Public Health Department.  Terra-Petra provided a single source manufacturer to address all three issues efficiently and effectively.

More about Family House: Qualifying families that live more than 50 miles away and prior to 1981 had to take part in a nightly lottery to get a mat to sleep on the floor of a UCSF conference room. If they could not get in, many would sleep in their cars or pay for costly hotel rooms nearby. This inconvenience and sometimes financial burden would only add to the stress of dealing with home and work coverage, sibling care, transportation issues, pet care, changing appointments and so on, all at the same time as dealing with the emotional difficulties of having a child with a serious illness. In 1981, Dr. Arthur Albin and his wife, Debbie, co-founded the first Family House which housed 10 families per night.  A second house opened in 2002 to house 24 more families—all free of charge.  Today, over 2,000 families are served.  After the opening of this new project in Mission Bay, with which Terra-Petra is proud to be involved, another 200 units will be added.


Terra-Petra welcomes Josh Heidt, senior waterproofing consultant and expert

January 29, 2015

Josh Heidt Senior Waterproofing ConsultantTerra-Petra is very excited to welcome Josh Heidt  aboard to continue our expansion of our building waterproofing division.

Prior to coming on board with us in late 2014, he started his career in the late 1980s working as a manufacturer’s sales representative for the Mirafi brand, which manufactures 15 different types of geocomposite drainage panels along with a cold and hot fluid applied system, blind side systems and more.

Over the last 25 years Joshn has provided building waterproofing consulting on specific waterproofing systems: below grade, under slab, between-slab, permeable and non-permeable air and vapor barriers, roof decks, vegetative roof applications, pools on podiums over occupied space, compatibility issues with different products, the detailing of area drains, pipe penetrations, waterproofing tie-ins and much more.

Read more about Josh Heidt on our website.

Contact Terra-Petra for your company’s building waterproofing needs!

Happy Holidays from all of us at Terra-Petra

December 24, 2014

This year, we celebrate the continued growth of our environmental engineering firm… from Los Angeles, to San Francisco to our latest office in New York City!  We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to work on so many amazing projects and with so many incredible companies…from the west coast to the east coast and in many states in between.

Below are a few photo highlights of our team enjoying a great dinner and good company at Tam O’Shanter in Glendale, California on December 18th…Terra-Petra’s annual holiday bash was a great success.

Cheers to a great year and to the New Year ahead!

XMASPARTY2014carolerswithChrisandDave XMASPARTY2014RobinJustinandkids XMASPARTY2014FunTable XMASPARTY2014FunTable3 XMASPARTY2014Borsh XMASPARTY2014Nateandfamily


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 558 other followers

%d bloggers like this: