Barometer

Where is there water in the solar system?

31 October 2020

9:00 AM

31 October 2020

9:00 AM

The Moon under water

Nasa scientists using spectrometers claim to have found good evidence of water on the surface of the Moon. Where else in the solar system could you potentially go for a dip?

— Signs of hidden oceans have been detected on Jupiter’s moons Ganymede, Europa and Callisto and on Saturn’s moons Titan and Enceladus. The latter is also believed to have icy geysers. Water is also believed to exist in craters on Mercury. — There are signs of ample water having been on Mars in the past, although most is believed to have been stripped away along with its atmosphere. The planet may, however, still have water beneath its surface and locked in ice caps at its poles.

Free school meals

How many children qualify for free school meals? In January, 15.4% of all pupils were eligible, the highest level since 2014, reversing a downwards trend. The rates:

Primary schools | 15.8%

Secondary schools | 14.1%

Special needs | 37.5%


Pupil referral units | 42.5%

As for types of mainstream school, the highest rate was at primary academies, with 17.1%, and the lowest was at secondary academies, with 13.7%.

Modern pirates

An oil tanker was hijacked by seven stowaways off the Isle of Wight. How big a problem is piracy at sea?

— Between January and September, 132 attacks were launched against ships, up from 119 in the same period last year. 112 ships were boarded, 6 were fired upon and 85 seafarers were kidnapped.

— There was a 40% rise in the Gulf of Guinea, where 80 of the kidnappings occurred.

— Until this week there had been no such incidents in the North Atlantic this year.

Source: International Maritime Bureau

Counting beds

In the first quarter of the financial year 2020/21 (April to June) there were 92,596 general and acute beds open overnight. This was down from 102,186 in Q4 2019/20 and 101,762 in Q1 2019/20, as hospitals were reconfigured for Covid patients.

— In Q1 2020/21 the average occupancy overnight for general and acute beds was 62.8%. This compared with 88.4% in Q4 2019/20 and 90.1% in Q1 2019/20.

— At the height of the Covid 19 crisis in the spring, 12 April, there were 17,172 Covid patients in hospital. On 25 October there were 7,225 Covid patients in NHS hospitals in England.

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