It was the visionary Sebastian the Crab who once uttered the immortal lines, "We got no troubles, life is the bubbles, under the sea." Unfortunately, humans need submarines to live underwater. This unfair crab/non-crab double standard may someday be a thing of the past, however, thanks to breakthrough research from the University of Southern Denmark.
Researchers at the school's Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy have engineered crystals that capture significant amounts of oxygen like a sponge -- according to the researchers, one bucket of the stuff "is enough to suck up all the oxygen in a room" -- and then can release it when heat is applied or air pressure changes.
"A few grains contain enough oxygen for one breath," explains lead researcher Dr. Christine McKenzie in a press release, "and as the material can absorb oxygen from the water around the diver and supply the diver with it, the diver will not need to bring more than these few grains."
In other words, everybody might be Aquaman someday. Whaaaaaaaaa?
Don't sell your scuba equipment quite yet, because it's going to be a few years before humanity returns to the ocean to devolve back into gelatinous amoebas, which would be a pretty unique solution to the California water drought.
In the meantime, the researchers hope their technology could help cancer patients breathe easier without having to carry an oxygen tank, as recently depicted in "The Fault In Our Stars."
"When the material is saturated with oxygen, it can be compared to an oxygen tank containing pure oxygen under pressure -- the difference is that this material can hold three times as much oxygen," McKenzie says.
She also theorizes that it could eventually lead to an alternative energy source, so we can power our underwater kingdom forever. And all this time, we just assumed Mario was really good at holding his breath -- we didn't realize he was a time traveler from our aquatic future. When do we get Fire Flowers?!