The Navy said it is taking aggressive actions to address elevated levels of perfluorinated compounds found in about 100 public and private wells near two former installations in suburban Philadelphia — Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove and Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster.The Navy’s March 22 statement came in response to questions from three Philadelphia-area congressmen about how the Navy dealt with the discovery of drinking water contamination believed to be caused by chemicals used in firefighting foam.The Navy said it is taking “aggressive, proactive actions to identify potential release sites, eliminate unacceptable exposures and conduct cleanup actions where the Navy is responsible for the contamination,” reported the Morning Call. The Air National Guard is responsible for some of the cleanup, the Navy said, as an Air Guard unit has been located at Willow Grove for decades.The chemicals discovered — PFOA and PFOS — in ground and drinking water near the former installations in 2013 and 2014 are being assessed as “emerging contaminants” by the Environmental Protection Agency.The Navy and Air National Guard Bureau previously agreed to pay about $19 million for cleanup efforts, including installing filtration systems on public wells affected by the contamination, paying for public water purchases from surrounding water authorities to offset lost production, and providing bottled water and paying for hook-ups to public water to affected private well owners, according to the story.Earlier this month, the Defense Department said its plans to conduct tests at 664 sites across the nation where chemicals from firefighting foam may have contaminated groundwater and possibly spread to drinking water. Tests at two of 28 Navy sites indicated elevated levels of perfluorinated compounds — Naval Weapons Station Earle, N.J., and Naval Auxiliary Landing Field Fentress, Va. Dan Cohen AUTHOR
Now playing: Watch this: Best places in space to search for alien life Tags The team’s findings are based on over 15 years worth of high-precision observations of Barnard’s Star that’ll be included in an upcoming report in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Guinan hopes it might be possible to get a better look at Barnard b with the coming generation of very large telescopes. “Such observations will shed light on the nature of the planet’s atmosphere, surface, and potential habitability.” While the exoplanet Proxima b is closer, at only four light-years, it orbits the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri that appears to have a rather rude habit of blasting it with sterilizing solar flares. Barnard’s Star, by contrast, is an older red dwarf and the good news for potential life in its orbit is that powerful flares from the old sun are believed to be a rarity. The bad news, though, is that just such a rare flare was observed from Barnard’s Star only 20 years ago. Hopefully any primitive aliens on Barnard b were able to survive in their geothermal hot tubs under a thick shield of ice. NASA turns 60: The space agency has taken humanity farther than anyone else, and it has plans to go further.Crowd Control: A crowdsourced science fiction novel written by CNET readers. 0 Newfound frigid super-Earth found is the second-closest… Space Post a comment 26 Photos 1:31 This doesn’t necessarily curse Barnard b to a lifeless existence, though, according to astrophysicists from Pennsylvania’s Villanova University who say the planet might have a hot liquid iron core producing geothermal energy.”Geothermal heating could support ‘life zones’ under its surface, akin to subsurface lakes found in Antarctica,” Edward Guinan, one of the researchers, said in a statement. The news coincided with the team’s presentation Thursday at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle.Any life in such heat pockets would likely be pretty primitive. Scientists are also keen to check for evidence of life in subsurface oceans hidden beneath the frozen shells of Jupiter’s moon Europa and Saturn moon Enceladus.”We note that the surface temperature on Jupiter’s icy moon Europa is similar to Barnard b,” Guinan adds, “but, because of tidal heating, Europa probably has liquid oceans under its icy surface.” Share your voice Sci-Tech Last year we learned Barnard’s Star, the second closest star system, is circled by a frozen super-Earth. But new research offers hope that at least primitive life might have a warm enough place to survive on the otherwise chilly world. The super-Earth Barnard b (or GJ 699 b) is also the second closest planet discovered beyond our solar system so far, at just six light-years away. Although it orbits Barnard’s Star at about the same distance Mercury orbits our sun, the surface of the planet is likely very cold (-274 Fahrenheit, or -170 Celsius) because the star is a relatively dim red dwarf providing the planet with only about 2 percent of the solar energy we get from our sun.