a "weird crystal" can "absorb all the oxygen in a room"

if "just a spoonful of the stuff can suck up all the oxygen in a room," then you're looking at a very potent, seemingly instantaneous method for causing mass suffocation. Drop a few spoonfuls of these crystals into a building's ventilation system, and... Well, you get the idea.

But the actual, far more productive implications are incredible (assuming further tests with the material pan out). The University of Southern Denmark-based researchers suggest, for example, that this could revolutionize SCUBA diving, "as the material can absorb oxygen from the water around the diver and supply the diver with it," meaning that "scuba divers could potentially leave their tanks at home," gearing up with just a few grains of salt. "

Extrapolate from this for a moment, however, and imagine all of the other confined spatial environments in which oxygen-emitting cobalt salts could upend conventional thinking. Long-term submarine missions; underwater scientific bases or other submerged structures of any kind; mines, collapsed buildings, and other underground spaces; or, perhaps most interestingly, even offworld space missions could all be equipped with radically minimalized oxygen storage systems, reducing costs.

Read More | "Atmospheric Crystallography" | BLDG Blog