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Welcome back to SciShow News! The internet has spoken and it shall be ‘considered’. . .Boaty McBoatface will be bestowed upon a drone ship aboard the RRS Sir David Attenborough. That and the UAE are planning on building a mountain!

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Hank: Ask the internet to name a boat -- especially an expensive, important research vessel -- and they’ll try to name it Boaty McBoatface. Unfortunately, in the end, that won’t be the ship’s official name. But the boat received a lot of publicity, and will still be doing some pretty important science in the polar oceans.

If you’ve been around the internet lately, you’ve probably heard of ol’ Boaty. The National Environment Research Council in the UK needed a name for a new research vessel, so they decided to set up an online poll back in March, and the public submitted and voted on their favorite names. The winning name, with more than three times the votes as the runner up, was Boaty McBoatface. In a disappointing move for Boaty fans everywhere, the council decided to give the ship a more prestigious name. They’re going with the fourth-most popular name from the poll, and calling it the RRS Sir David Attenborough, after the British naturalist.

He actually just turned 90 on May 8th -- two days after the boat’s name was announced. And a royal research vessel named after him isn’t a half-bad present. The Attenborough is still being built, and it has plans to set sail in 2019. When it’s ready, the boat will be used for research in both the Arctic and Antarctic waters, where scientists will primarily study the effects of climate change on the oceans. The 128-meter-long ship will be designed to break through sea ice, which it’ll need to be able to do, because a lot of the ocean so close to the poles is frozen.

Researchers will be using the Attenborough to monitor things like the saltiness and temperature of the water at different locations and depths. The ship will even have onboard drones, which will help study the atmosphere above the ice. It’ll also have remotely-operated submarines that will be used to collect samples of ice, seawater, and sediment. And one of those submarines will be called Boaty McBoatface, in tribute to all the loyal internet fans. In the words of Jo Johnson, the UK science minister, they’re “ensuring that the Boaty name lives on.”

The Attenborough is going to be a pretty advanced research ship, but it’s still a fairly normal thing for humans to build. Building a mountain is much more ambitious, and unconventional, but that’s exactly what the United Arab Emirates wants to do. Right now, the UAE -- which is smack in the middle of a desert -- usually gets less than 13 centimeters of rain a year. So they’d probably have a serious water supply problem no matter how much water they used. But the country also uses a lot of water. In the United States, the average person uses about 300-375 liters of water per day. In the UAE, the average is closer to 550 liters per day. So, the country is studying the possibility of building a mountain to help make it rain.

This idea comes from natural observations: Mountains and mountain ranges block the movement of air, forcing it upward. Then, that air cools, and water inside can condense to can form clouds -- which means more rain. But -- as you can probably imagine -- building a mountain would be very, very expensive. And it might not even work in the first place. The UAE already uses a technique called cloud seeding to try and increase their rainfall, which means they intentionally release certain compounds, like silver iodide, into the clouds.

These particles provide what’s known as a nucleation site -- basically, they disturb the water molecules in the cloud so that the water starts to condense around the compounds and form ice crystals. Then, the ice crystals fall out of the cloud and melt into rain before they hit the ground. The country also has desalination plants to turn seawater into freshwater, but they still don’t have enough water to keep up with growing demand. Over the years, the government has considered other unconventional solutions, like piping in water from Pakistan or bringing down an iceberg from the Arctic. Now, they’re thinking about building a mountain.

The project is still in the very first research phases -- experts from the National Center for Atmospheric Research in the US are trying to come up with a plan that would work. They need to factor in things like what the height and shape of the mountain would need to be, and how to build it so that people in the UAE can collect the most rain. If the researchers find that a carefully-designed mountain could actually help rainfall, in theory -- the next step would be for engineers to start figuring out how they might actually build it, and how much it would cost. But, eventually, humans might create an entirely new mountain here on Earth.

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