Guy Scientist, A “True” Story by a Fictional Character

(Jazz) Host: Ladies and Gentlemen Host: The NASA Climate Scientist Formerly known… as Josh Willis (applause) (laughter) Yeah, I used to be a regular guy. Just an average Joe named Josh. Willis. Sure I was a climate scientist, I worked for NASA, but deep down I was ordinary. Like you people. Then one day I snapped, like an overstretched balloon. I lost all aspects of modesty and humility. I realized I was more than a scientist, and a guy. I… was Guy Scientist! Climate Crusader for Truth, Social Justice and the Environmental Way. It was a bright clear Tuesday afternoon, in a state known for its sunshine. The kind of Southern California day that makes you wished you called in sick, and headed for the Getty with a bottle of two-buck Chuck and a footlong from Subway. But today was no picnic. I was headed right into the belly of the beast. One of the most conservative places known to man. Orange County.

I'd been invited to the Newport Beach Country Club to give a talk on global warming to some group of Good 'ol Boys. They were called the "Bluejays" or "Sparrow Club". Somethin' like that. They were Old World power brokers, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, rich oil barons. The kind of men who don't drive hybrids and want to make America great again. But I was ready. I've given my global warming talk a thousand times to a thousand different school children and soccer moms and city council members. I showed up early. That way I could clock the old timers and pass judgement on them as they entered The place was fancy. Expensive carpets. Hardwood tables covered in white linen, and more oak on the walls than a barrel of Jack Daniels. My suspicions were confirmed as they started to arrive: they were old alright. They had more pacemakers than Dave Bruebeck's rhythm section. And white, too. I've seen more diversity in a bowl of basmati rice. Matter of fact, everybody in that place with a skin tone darker than Donald Trump's teeth was wearing a tuxedo, and handing out hors d'oeuvres. I had my work cut out for me, alright.

But they were crafty. The fed me prime beef, first. It was delicious. And then it was showtime. I was flying high, I told a few jokes to get 'em in the mood. Like, uh… It's so hot in the Arctic… I said it's SO hot in the Arctic. (How hot is it?) There we go. It's so hot the polar bears are threatening to build a wall to keep the brown bears from moving north. Yeah, you guys get it, but not this crowd. No, no… my punchlines landed like a lead brick on Spanish tile. I moved on. I moved on to some charts and graphs. I provided incontrovertible evidence that the Earth was warming faster now than at any time in the last 10,000 years. I looked out into the audience. They were not impressed. Matter of fact, I've seen more trust in the eyes of five year old on the Metro, clutching an Elmo doll in his tiny, white knuckled hands. It was time to bring out the big guns.

Time for the balloon gag. That's right. The balloon gag, is a simple physics experiment designed to illustrate the heat capacity of You see the oceans absorb more than 95 percent of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases. Why? Because water, that's why. Water sucks up heat faster than a desperate housewife downs mojitos on a hot summer day. And once it gets in the ocean, heat stays for a thousand years– just like your in-laws after dinner. I pulled out my balloon. I inflated it with air. I flipped open my trusty zippo. The tall, lanky flame moved closer and closer to the skin of the skin of the balloon until… Bam! It exploded like a firecracker on Cinco de Mayo. Now I had their attention. I explained that the balloon filled with air, couldn't take the heat. But fill up a balloon with water, it can take more flames than Sean Spicer at a press conference. Simple physics. Flames can't pop a balloon filled with water. I pulled out my water balloon.

I held it up high. This was it. This was the moment I won the hearts and minds of the climate deniers. I opened my trusty zippo. I brought the flame toward the skin of the balloon and… Bam! It exploded like a bottle of cheap champagne across the bow of an oil tanker. Instantly, my arm was soaked and water rained down onto the expensive carpet in a river of liquid shame. A small brown man appeared out of nowhere in a white tuxedo and laid a napkin over the wet spot on the floor. Apparently, these guys were so rich they didn't even have to obey the laws of physics. That was the moment I knew. That nice guy climate scientist, Josh Willis?… His days were numbered. He had to change. After the incident, they peppered me with questions about climate data and natural cycles. I gave 'em all the right answers, but there was no more winning hearts and minds thatday. I packed up my things and headed for the door.

I looked up, into the sun. At least it was still shining. You win this round, Sparrow-Blue Jay Club, I said. But you haven't heard the last, of Guy Scientist. (Jazz) (Cheers).

Venus: Death of a Planet

From the fires of a sun’s birth, twin planets emerged. Venus and Earth. Two roads diverged in our young solar system. Nature draped one world in the greens and blues of life. While enveloping the other in acid clouds, high heat, and volcanic flows. Why did Venus take such a disastrous turn? And what light can Earth’s sister planet shed on the search for other worlds like our own? For as long as we have gazed upon the stars, they have offered few signs that somewhere out there are worlds as rich and diverse as our own. Recently, though, astronomers have found ways to see into the bright lights of nearby stars. They’ve been discovering planets at a rapid clip, using orbiting observatories like NASA’s Kepler space telescope, and an array of ground-based instruments. The count is almost a thousand and rising. These alien worlds run the gamut, from great gas giants many times the size of our Jupiter, to rocky, charred remnants that burned when their parent star exploded. Some have wild elliptical orbits, swinging far out into space, then diving into scorching stellar winds.

Still others orbit so close to their parent stars that their surfaces are likely bathed in molten rock. Amid these hostile realms, a few bear tantalizing hints of water or ice, ingredients needed to nurture life as we know it. The race to find other Earths has raised anew the ancient question, whether, out in the folds of our galaxy, planets like our own are abundant, and life commonplace? Or whether Earth is a rare Garden of Eden in a barren universe? With so little direct evidence of these other worlds to go on, we have only the stories of planets within our own solar system to gauge the chances of finding another Earth. Consider, for example, a world that has long had the look and feel of a life-bearing planet. Except for the moon, there’s no brighter light in our night skies than the planet Venus, known as both the morning and the evening star. The ancient Romans named it for their goddess of beauty and love. In time, the master painters transformed this classical symbol into an erotic figure, then a courtesan.

It was a scientist, Galileo Galilei, who demystified planet Venus, charting its phases as it moved around the sun, drawing it into the ranks of the other planets. With a similar size and weight, Venus became known as Earth’s sister planet. But how Earth-like is it? The Russian scientist Mikkhail Lomonosov caught a tantalizing hint in 1761. As Venus passed in front of the Sun, he witnessed a hair thin luminescence on its edge. Venus, he found, has an atmosphere. Later observations revealed a thick layer of clouds. Astronomers imagined they were made of water vapor, like those on Earth. Did they obscure stormy, wet conditions below? And did anyone, or anything, live there? The answer came aboard an unlikely messenger, an asteroid that crashed into Earth.

That is, according to the classic sci-fi adventure, “The First Spaceship on Venus.“ A mysterious computer disk is found among the rubble. With anticipation rising on Earth, an international crew sets off to find out who sent it, and why. What they find is a treacherous, toxic world. No wonder the Venusians want to switch planets. It was now time to get serious about exploring our sister planet. NASA sent Mariner 2 to Venus in 1962, in the first-ever close planetary encounter. Its instruments showed that Venus is nothing at all like Earth. Rather, it’s extremely hot, with an atmosphere made up mostly of carbon dioxide. The data showed that Venus rotates very slowly, only once every 243 Earth days, and it goes in the opposite direction. American and Soviet scientists found out just how strange Venus is when they sent a series of landers down to take direct readings. Surface temperatures are almost 900 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to melt lead, with the air pressure 90 times higher than at sea level on Earth.

The air is so thick that it’s not a gas, but a “supercritical fluid.” Liquid CO2. On our planet, the only naturally occurring source is in the high-temperature, high-pressure environments of undersea volcanoes. The Soviet Venera landers sent back pictures showing that Venus is a vast garden of rock, with no water in sight. In fact, if you were to smooth out the surface of Venus, all the water in the atmosphere would be just 3 centimeters deep. Compare that to Earth, where the oceans would form a layer 3 kilometers deep. If you could land on Venus, you’d be treated to tranquil vistas and sunset skies, painted in orange hues. The winds are light, only a few miles per hour, but the air is so thick that a breeze would knock you over. Look up and you’d see fast-moving clouds, streaking around the planet at 300 kilometers per hour. These clouds form a dense high-altitude layer, from 45 to 66 kilometers above the surface. The clouds are so dense and reflective that Venus absorbs much less solar energy than Earth, even though it’s 30% closer to the Sun. These clouds curve around into a pair of immense planetary hurricanes as the air spirals down into the cooler polar regions.

Along the equator, they rise in powerful storms, unleashing bolts of lightning. Just like earth, these storms produce rain, only it’s acid rain that evaporates before it hits the ground. At higher elevations, a fine mist forms, not of water but of the rare metal tellurium, and iron pyrites, known as fool’s gold. It can form a metallic frost, like snowflakes in hell. Scientists have identified around 1700 major volcanic centers on Venus ranging from lava domes, and strange features called arachnoids or coronae, to giant volcanic summits. The planet is peppered with volcanoes, perhaps in the millions, distributed randomly on its surface. Venus is run through with huge cuts thousands of kilometers long that may well be lava channels. Our sister planet is a volcanic paradise, in a solar system shaped by volcanism. The largest mountain on Earth, Hawaii’s Mauna Kea volcano, measures 32,000 feet from sea floor to summit.

Rising almost three times higher is the mother of all volcanoes: Olympus Mons on Mars. Jupiter’s moon Io, is bleeding lava. It’s produced deep underground by the friction of rock on rock, caused by the gravitational pull of its mother planet. Then there’s Neptune’s moon Triton, with crystals of nitrogen ice shooting some 10 kilometers above the surface. Saturn’s moon Titan, with frozen liquid methane and ammonia oozing into lakes and swamps. On our planet, volcanoes commonly form at the margins of continents and oceans. Here, the vast slabs of rock that underlie the oceans push beneath those that bear the continents. Deep underground, magma mixes with water, and the rising pressure forces it up in explosive eruptions. On Venus, the scene is very different. In the high-density atmosphere, volcanoes are more likely to ooze and splatter, sending rivers of lava flowing down onto the lowlands. They resemble volcanoes that form at hot spots like the Hawaiian islands.

There, plumes of magma rise up from deep within the earth, releasing the pressure in a stream of eruptions. To see a typical large volcano on Venus, go to Sappas Mons, at 400 kilometers across and 1.5 kilometers high. The mountain was likely built through eruptions at its summit. But as magma reached up from below, it began to drain out through subsurface tubes or cracks that formed a web of channels leading onto the surrounding terrain. Is Venus, like Earth, still volcanically active? Finding the answer is a major goal of the Venus Express mission, launched in 2005 by the European Space Agency. Armed with a new generation of high-tech sensors, it peered through the clouds. Recording the infrared light given off by several large mountains, it found that the summits are brighter than the surrounding basins. That’s probably because they had not been subject to as much weathering in this corrosive environment.

This means that they would have erupted sometime within the last few hundred thousand years. If these volcanoes are active now, it’s because they are part of a deeper process that shapes our planet as well. On Earth, the release of heat from radioactive decay deep in its mantle is what drives the motion of oceanic and continental plates. It’s dependent on erosion and other processes associated with water. With no water on Venus, the planet’s internal heat builds to extreme levels, then escapes in outbreaks of volcanism that may be global in scope. This may explain why fewer than a thousand impact craters have been found on Venus. Anything older than about 500 million years has literally been paved over. So why did Venus diverge so radically from Earth when it was born in same solar system and under similar circumstances? There is growing evidence, still circumstantial, that Venus may in fact have had a wetter, more Earth-like past.

One of the most startling findings of the early Venus missions was the presence of deuterium, a form of hydrogen, in Venus’ upper atmosphere. It forms when ultraviolet sunlight breaks apart water molecules. Additional evidence recently came to light. Venus Express trained its infrared sensors on the planet’s night side, to look at how the terrain emits the energy captured in the heat of the day. This picture is a composite of over a thousand individual images of Venus’ southern hemisphere. Higher elevation areas, shown in blue, emit less heat than the surrounding basins. That supports a hypothesis that these areas are made not of lava, but of granite. On Earth, granite forms in volcanoes when magma mixes with water. If there’s granite on Venus, then there may well have been water. If Earth and Venus emerged together as twin blue marbles, then at some point, the two worlds parted company.

Earth developed ways to moderate its climate, in part by removing carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, from its atmos phere. Plants, for one, absorb CO2 and release oxygen in photosynthesis. One square kilometer of tropical jungle, for example, can take in several hundred tons of co2 in just a year. That’s nothing compared to the oceans. In a year’s time, according to one recent study, just one square kilometer of ocean can absorb 41 million tons of CO2. Earth takes in its own share of CO2. When rainfall interacts with rocks, a chemical reaction known as “weathering” converts atmospheric CO2 to carbonate compounds. Runoff from the land washes it into rivers and the seas, where they settle into ocean sediments. With little water and no oceans, Venus has no good way to remove CO2 from its atmosphere. Instead, with volcanic eruptions adding more and more CO2 to the atmosphere, it has trapped more and more of the sun’s heat in a runaway greenhouse effect. Venus is so hot that liquid water simply cannot survive on the surface. Nor, it seems, can it last in the upper atmosphere.

The culprit is the Sun. The outer reaches of its atmosphere, the corona, is made up of plasma heated to over a million degrees Celsius. From this region, the sun sends a steady stream of charged particles racing out into the solar system. The solar wind reaches its peak in the wake of great looping eruptions on the surface of the Sun, called coronal mass ejections. The blast wave sweeps by Venus, then heads out toward Earth. Our planet is fortified against the solar blast. Plumes of hot magma rise and fall in Earth’s core as it spins, generating a magnetic field that extends far out into space. It acts as a shield, deflecting the solar wind and causing it to flow past. It’s this protective bubble that Venus lacks. Venus Express found that these solar winds are steadily stripping off lighter molecules of hydrogen and oxygen.

They escape the planet on the night side, then ride solar breezes on out into space. All this may be due to Venus’ size, 80% that of Earth. This prevents the formation of a solid iron core, and with it the rising and falling plumes that generate a strong magnetic field. There may be another reason too, according to a theory about the planet’s early years. A young planet Venus encountered one or more planet-sized objects, in violent collisions. The force of these impacts slowed its rotation to a crawl, and reversed it, reducing the chances that a magnetic field could take hold. This theory may have a surprising bearing on Earth’s own history. Scientists believe the sun was not always as hot as it is. In fact, going back several billion years, it was cool enough that Earth should have been frozen over. Because it was not, this is known as the faint young sun paradox. Earth’s salvation may well be linked to Venus’ fate.

The idea is that the Earth occupied an orbit closer to the Sun, allowing it to capture more heat. The gravity of two smaller planets with unstable orbits would have gradually pushed it out to its present orbit. The pair would eventually come together, merging to form the Venus we know. As dead as Venus is today, it has brought surprising dividends in the search for life. On its recent crossing between Earth and the Sun, astronomers were out in force. In remote locations where the viewing was optimal, such as the Svalbard islands north of Norway. The data gathered here would be added to that collected by solar telescopes on the ground and in space. To object for most was to experience a spectacle that will not occur again till the year 2117. It was also to capture sunlight passing through Venus’ atmosphere.

Today, the Kepler Space Telescope is searching for planets around distant stars by detecting dips in their light as a planet passes in front. Telescopes in the future may be able to analyze the light of the planet itself. If elements such as carbon or oxygen are detected, then these worlds may well be “Earth-like.” Venus provides a benchmark, and some valuable perspective. So what can we glean from the evolution of planet Venus? As we continue to scan the cosmic horizons, the story of Venus will stand as a stark reminder. It takes more than just the right size, composition, and distance from the parent star, for a planet to become truly Earth-like. No matter how promising a planet may be, there are myriad forces out there that can radically alter its course. For here was a world, Venus, poised perhaps on the brink of a glorious future.

But bad luck passed its way. Now, we can only imagine what might have become of Earth’s sister planet? 8.

This Powerful New Technology May Be The Only Way To Explore Venus

Imagine we’ve successfully landed a robot on Venus! Nice job… [pause, checks watch] Annnd now it’s dead. Hello fellow carbon-based lifeforms, Ian here for DNews. I want you to imagine building a robot that can land on the surface of Venus. Actually, imagine building a robot that will land on the surface of HELL and you’ll have a better idea of what to expect. Yes, Venus is a toxic hellhole that’s not only hot enough on the surface to melt lead, but the thick carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere has a pressure about 90 times greater than Earth’s. This isn’t very good news for any robots we want to send there to explore the planet and do science. But there IS hope. NASA engineers at the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, are developing a new kind of integrated circuit that not only survives the rigors of being in space, it could also allow the delicate electronics inside Venus landers to live 100 times longer than previous efforts.

It’s not like we haven’t tried landing on Venus before. From the 1960s to the 1980s, the Soviet Union tried to send a series of 16 spacecraft to Venus as part of the Venera program — which included flybys, atmospheric probes and landers. Of the early landing attempts, Venera 3 to Venera 6 either burned up, crashed or got crushed by Venus’ atmosphere. Even though it got crushed before touchdown, Venera 4 has the historic distinction as being the first probe to transmit data from another planet’s atmosphere in 1967. In 1970, Venera 7 made history as the first ever soft landing on another planet. It sent back 23 minutes of data before dying. After this, the Soviets had more success from Venera 8 — which landed in 1972, returning 50 minutes of data. Venera 9 landed in 1975 and took the first ever black and white photos from another planet’s surface.

Venera 13, in 1981, and 14, in 1982, returned color panoramic views from Venus’ surface, revealing the alien geology and incredibly hazy atmosphere. In 1984, Russia launched the two Vega missions that included landers and atmospheric balloons. The US even gave Venus a go when they parachuted probes to the surface during the 1978 Pioneer Venus mission. One of the probes continued to transmit data an hour after landing on the surface. But all Venus surface missions quickly succumbed to the extreme heat and pressure, most lasting for less than a couple of hours. Venera 13 holds the record, lasting 127 minutes before melting. Although our technology has advanced since this exciting era of Venus exploration, we still don’t have the ability to protect them from the extreme environment for very long. Conventional silicon circuits stop working at high temperatures long before they start to melt. But now, NASA engineers are testing an extremely durable "silicon carbide semiconductor integrated circuit” — it’s a circuit made out of a new silicon mix that continues to function as a circuit should, only at much higher temperatures.

It was originally being developed for use in hot sections of fuel-efficient aircraft. Knowing that they could tolerate temperatures up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit, the NASA engineers placed samples of the circuit into the Glenn Extreme Environments Rig (GEER). This instrument not only replicates the temperatures found on Venus’ surface, it also applies the same pressures. And after 521 hours of extreme testing, the integrated circuits continued to operate as designed. To use conventional electronics in space, heavy shielding is needed to protect delicate components. If this new circuit technology is used for space robots, I’d imagine that this shielding may not be required, reducing weight, boosting electronics longevity in harsh environments, reducing launch weight and ultimately costs. But the thing that makes this kind of tech development REALLY interesting is the very obvious applications a highly durable integrated circuit has on Earth. Robotics are used in a range of industries and are increasingly being used in extremely hazardous environments — building tougher electronics to boost their operational lives would obviously be a bonus.

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Ocean Seeding – A New Technology that can Save Marine Life

People have relied on the abundance of the ocean since the beginning of human history. But things are rapidly changing. Scientists project that by 2048 the ocean will be depleted and fisheries will cease to exist. Billions of people rely on fish as their primary source of food and income – a number that will continue to grow over the next few decades as the world population increases. A collapse of ocean fisheries will be a massive threat to the food security and well-being of life on this planet. Nations around the world are pursuing better management practices and sustainable fishing in an attempt to curb this loss… but it is not enough. Despite our efforts, the health of the ocean is decaying even faster than initially predicted. Moreover, we have discovered that overfishing is only part of the problem. To see the bigger picture, we have to go much, much smaller. The whole oceanic ecosystem obtains its energy, food, and nutrients from tiny green phytoplankton – microscopic organisms that play a critical role as the base of the marine food chain. They grow and multiply through the absorption of sunlight – alongside water, carbon dioxide, and micronutrients such as iron.

Phytoplankton are the food of zooplankton, which in turn are consumed by small fish, which are themselves consumed by larger ones and so on. For their health, phytoplankton depend on the natural fertilization of iron-rich winds and upwelling currents, which have been ongoing for millions of years. However, as a result of climate change, winds and currents are changing, and the oceans are getting warmer. This hinders the mixing of surface layers, separating phytoplankton from the nutrients they need to grow. A NASA study has shown a constant decrease of phytoplankton in the ocean… 1% per year since 1950. That means plankton has declined more than 40% in just 60 years. When phytoplankton are in danger, the whole ocean is in danger. Less plankton means less food for fish and other organisms. With the continual decline of plankton, we are facing the collapse of the marine food chain as we know it due to climate change.

The question is: WHAT CAN BE DONE? Over the last several decades, scientists have observed that the iron-rich dust of volcanic eruptions can create massive plankton blooms over deserted areas of the ocean. On several occasions, scientists saw the volume of wild fish in these areas increase significantly – far beyond expectations. Given these observations, experts began to consider what might happen if humans could mimic natural volcanic iron fertilization to boost ocean life. This process is known as OCEAN SEEDING. In a recent Ocean Seeding project, researchers added iron dust to an area of the ocean that was part of the migratory route of juvenile salmon. Only a year later, mainland rivers experienced one of the largest salmon returns in history. Ocean Seeding offers an opportunity to begin repairing the damage to our ocean, rebuild wild fish stock, and improve food security for the growing populations of the world. This vital shift cannot be made without further research in Ocean Seeding and your support. Support us by sharing this video with your friends on social media.

And join the conversation on Twitter with hashtag #OceanSeeding.

NASA | Massive Phytoplankton Bloom Discovered Under Arctic Sea Ice

[ Bells ] Scientists have found a massive phytoplankton bloom growing beneath sea ice in the Arctic. The discovery, captured on video and shown here, stunned scientists, as an under-ice bloom of this size has never been seen anywhere on the planet. The bloom was spotted last summer by a team of scientists collecting field measurements for NASA's ICESCAPE mission, which explores the effects of climate change in the Arctic. Sampling took place at multiple sites along two tracks of ice-covered water in the Chukchi Sea, just north of Alaska. According to observations, the bloom extended for more than 60 miles from the ice edge into the sea ice pack and concentrated in the top layers of water near the ocean surface. Video footage taken below the sea ice at two different study sites contrasts the Arctic's typically barren and dark blue water with the emerald shades of green produced when teeming with phytoplankton. The blooms consisted mainly of diatoms — microscopic plants that make up the base of the marine food chain and require large amounts of sunlight to grow.

Scientists previously thought blooms were limited to ice-free expanses of open water, where sunlight isn't reflected by sea ice and prevented from entering the ocean. But thinning ice and an increase in melt ponds has allowed more sunlight to reach the water below the sea ice in recent years, which may account for the presence of these massive blooms. If such blooms are widespread, scientists will have to evaluate the impact of these carbon-consumers on the amount of carbon dioxide entering the ocean, and what that means for our changing climate. [ Beeps ] .

RESEARCHERS REVEAL A HIDDEN WORLD UNDER ANTARCTICA

RESEARCHERS REVEAL A HIDDEN WORLD UNDER ANTARCTICA There is a hidden mysterious world hidden away under Antarctica and researchers have revealed the giant wetlands that are 800 meters beneath the ice. The Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling, or WISSARD for short, a project that was financed by National Science Foundation, has taken researchers that step nearer to discovering just what lies underneath the ice that covers the majority of Antarctica. LAKE WHILLANS IS UNDER 800 METERS OF ICE IN WESTERN ANTARCTICA Reports have indicated that Lake Whillans, which was first located in 2007 and which covers more than 20 square miles, is under the 800 meters of ice that is found in Western Antarctica and researchers have said that this is very similar to the wetland. The researchers are hoping that more studies will mean they can understand better how the level of the sea rises and how the ice is behaving in response to the global warming. RESEARCHERS ARE EXCITED ABOUT RICH DATASET OF LAKES RELATED ARTICLES Researchers Reveal: The Egyptian Civilization Is Thousands Of Years Older Than ThoughtRussian Researchers Reveal A Mummified Alien Helen Amanda Fricker from Scripps Institute said that it was amazing to think that people did not know that the lake was in existence until just a decade ago.

It was Fricker that had first found sub-glacial Lake Whillans from satellite data back in 2007. She went on to say that it was exciting to be able to see the lakes rich dataset and that the new data is helping them to understand the function of the lakes as a part of the ice-sheet system. The sub-glacial Lake is fed by ice which has a small amount of seawater in it from the ancient marine sediments that are on the lakes seabed. The lake's water drains periodically into the ocean through channels that are connected to the lake, but they do not have energy enough to carry much of the sediment. NEW DATA WILL LEAD TO BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF MECHANICS OF LAKE WHILLANS Researchers have said that the new data should give them a much better understanding of the mechanics and biogeochemistry of Lake Whillans. It was also said that the data is going to help them to improve the current models and tell them more about how the sub-glacial lake systems in Antarctica interact with any ice that is underneath the surface along with the sediments that are found under it. In January 2013 three different papers analyzed the studies following the WISSARD project having managed to drill successfully down into the sheet of ice to reach subglacial Lake Whillans, to get some samples of sediment along with water samples that had been isolated from any direct contact with the atmosphere of the Earth for many thousands of years.

The Geology and Earth and Planetary Science Letters journal published two of the more interesting of the papers. Alexander Michaud from the Montana State University and the lead author said that data had come from the 15-inch long core lake sediment so that the water chemistry along with the sediment could be characterized. LAKE WATER MOSTLY COMES FROM MELTING ICE AT BASE COVERING LAKE Researchers found that the water in the lake originates mostly from the melting ice at the base of the sheet that covers the sub-glacial lake and that there had been very little contribution from any seawater, trapped under the ice in the sediment during the last inter-glacial period. A second paper had been published by lead author Timothy Hodson from the Northern Illinois University in which he along with colleagues took a look at the core sediment that had been retrieved from the lake with the hope of trying to find out more about the ice sheet and the relationship with the sediments under it and the subglacial hydrology.

Their discovery found that many floods had passed through the lake but that the floods flow was lacking in energy when it came to eroding the extensive drainage channels. The researchers came to the conclusion that the environment underneath Antarctica is similar to that of wetlands in the coastal plain that is found in other parts on the planet. Antarctica of course, broke away from Gondwana around 25 million years ago; around 170 million years ago it had been part of the Gondwana supercontinent before breaking away. Research shows that Antarctica has not always been the very dry and cold region that we know to be covered in sheets of ice. Throughout its long history, it was further to the north and this meant that it experienced a climate that was either tropical or temperate, which would have meant that it had been covered in forest, along with being home to many ancient life forms.

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Top 10 Recently Discovered Earth Like Planets

Welcome to Top10Archive! The longer we stay on Earth, the more apparent it becomes that maybe we should have a backup plan should we live long enough to completely dry ‘er up. On our quest to find the perfect place to call Second Home, we’ve come across these incredible exoplanets. Factoring in the Earth Similarity Index or ESI, we’ve compiled the Top 10 Earth-like planets discovered over the past decade. 10. Kapteyn B In June of 2014, the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher discovered the potentially habitable exoplanet Kapteyn B. Found to reside in a system estimated at over 11 billion years old, about 7 billion years older than our own solar system, Kapteyn B orbits the red subdwarf star Kapteyn and is 12.8 light-years away from Earth. Kapteyn B has an ESI of .67 and, while found within a habitable zone capable of liquid water, is believed to have a temperature of approximately -91° F or roughly -68° C and, therefore, too cold to sustain water in a liquid form, but with enough C02 in its atmosphere, this may not even be a factor.

Working against the argument of habitability is the fact that some researchers, such as Paul Robertson at Penn State University, think Kapteyn B may not even exist and may just be a starspot mimicking a planetary signal. 9. Gliese 667 Cc Orbiting around the red dwarf star Gliese 667 C some 23 light years away, the exoplanet Gliese 667 Cc is within the habitable zone and has an ESI of .84. In November of 2011, astronomers noticed the super-Earth and started to find similarities to our own planet. The habitability of Gliese 667 Cc depends on where you’re aiming to terraform as the two hemispheres display complete opposite properties. One side is completely shrouded in permanent darkness while the other is constantly facing towards the red dwarf. It’s believed that, between these hemispheres, there is a sliver of space that may experience temperatures suitable for human life. There is, however, a possibility of extreme tidal heating upwards of 300 times that of Earth, calling into question whether, at times, if Gliese 667 Cc may be a little too hot for habitation.

8. Kepler 442b Launched in 2009, NASA’s Kepler space observatory has succeeded on numerous occasions in its mission to find Earth-sized planets. Announced in January of 2015, alongside the discovery of Kepler-438b, 442b has an ESI of .83 and a radius of 1.34 radians, quite a bit larger than Earth’s radius of .009 radians. While located within the habitable zone and deemed one of the most Earth-like planets in regards to temperature and size, life would be quite a bit different on 442b. For instance, a year would only be 112.3 days long and we’d experience only 70% of the sunlight that we’re used to receiving on Earth. Since the axial tilt is believed to be fairly small, we also shouldn’t expect to enjoy the quarterly change in seasons that we’re accustomed to. 7. Proxima B With an ESI of .87, Proxima b may be one of the most Earth-like exoplanets to date, but that doesn’t mean it’s the greatest candidate for habitability.

Though it shares many characteristics with Earth and touts a higher ESI, if you haven’t noticed yet, that’s not a guaranteed proponent of habitability. In fact, Proxima b, which is only 4.2 light-years away, is likely uninhabitable due to incredibly high stellar wind pressures. Compared to Earth, Proxima b is thought to be subjected to pressures of more than 2,000 times what we experience. Coupled with the radiation from its host star, it’s possible that the exoplanet would have no atmosphere to sustain life. In October of 2016, researchers at the National Center for Scientific Research in France hypothesized a chance for surface oceans and a thin atmospheric layer, though proof has yet to be discovered. 6. Kepler 438b In January of 2015, the newly found Kepler 438b, located 470 light years away, was deemed one of the most “Earth-like” planets ever discovered, making it an incredible candidate for the potential of life. Though it has a potential ESI of .88 and still carries similarities to our home world, research later that year determined that, while still “Earth-like,” 438b may be missing qualities needed for habitation – such as an atmosphere.

The planet’s nearby star emits flares 10 times more powerful than the Sun, leading to the possibility of a stripped atmosphere. There’s still hope that Kepler-438b, which is 12% larger and receives 40% more light than Earth, may be usable if it has a magnetic field like our own. 5. Wolf 1061 c At an ESI of .76, Wolf 1061 c is a potentially rocky super-Earth exoplanet discovered in December of 2015, some 14 light-years away from Earth. Orbiting Wolf 1061 at .084 AU, the exoplanet is closer to the inner edge of the habitable zone and is believed to be tidally locked. With one side permanently fixated on its star, the possibility of an extreme difference in temperatures on either side of the planet is incredibly likely. On the warmer side, liquid water may be sustainable, though it’s hypothesized to have an icy equilibrium temperature of -58° F or about -50° C, that could be offset by a thick atmosphere that allows for a transfer of heat away from the side of the planet facing Wolf 1061. 4. Kepler 62 e A Super-Earth found within the habitable zone of the Kepler 62 star, this exoplanet, which was discovered in 2013, has an ESI of .

83 and has some of the imperative qualities of potentially livable planets. On top of being rocky, the planet is also believed to be covered in an extensive amount of water. One factor working against 62 e as a habitable zone is the 20% increase in stellar flux from what we experience on Earth, which can trigger temperatures as high as 170° F or about 77 ° C, and start a detrimental greenhouse effect. In relation to Earth, 62 e is 60% larger and orbits the Kepler 62 star 243 days quicker and receives 20% more sunlight than Earth does. 3. Kepler 62f Kepler 62 f may only have an ESI of .67, but this super-Earth, discovered at the same time as 62e at about 1,200 light-years away from Earth, poses one of the best scenarios for habitability.

Where the exoplanet may fall short in its ability to sustain life is its possible lack of an atmosphere, which would lead to any surface water to be ice. At 1.4 times larger than Earth and with an orbital period of 267 days, life on 62f would be fairly similar to life on Earth – that is, of course, if its atmosphere were similar to that of our own. As of now, much remains unknown about the theoretically habitable planet, including whether or not it’s mostly terrestrial or predominantly covered in water. 2. Kepler-186f Kepler 186f of the Kepler 186 system may only have an ESI of .61, but the 2014 discovery is the first Earth-like exoplanet to have a radius similar to Earth’s – measuring in at about 10% larger. Found 500 light-years from Earth in the Cygnus constellation, 186f has an orbital period of 130 days and only receives 1/3 the energy from its star that Earth receives from the Sun. In terms of livability, 186f is within the habitable zone, but unknown atmospheric factors make how habitable it may be impossible to determine.

Like Kepler 442b, 186f has a low obliquity that keeps it from experiencing seasons like Earth. Of the four other planets in the Kepler system, 186f is believed to not be tidally locked like its neighbors and may be the only one far enough away from the Kepler star to sustain water. 1. Kepler 452b Also known as Earth 2.0, the discovery of Kepler 452b by the Kepler space telescope was announced in July of 2015. Found 1,400 light-years away from Earth, the super-Earth, which has an ESI of .83, was located in the habitable zone of a G-type star that shares a very similar mass and surface temperature of our Sun. While 452b’s smaller radius indicates it may have a rocky, terrestrial surface, the habitability of the exoplanet remains widely unknown, though it is believed to be subjected to a runaway greenhouse effect. The exoplanet is approximately 60% larger than Earth and has a year that’s only 5% longer than our own, earning it the title of Earth’s Cousin.

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NASA | Goddard Goes to Mars

The overarching theme of the last decade or so of exploration of Mars is, what happened to the water? There’s evidence of water flowing on Mars at one point in time, perhaps even oceans on Mars. The current atmosphere as it is today is much thinner and cannot support that kind of water on the surface, so MAVEN is going after, what is the current state of the upper atmosphere, how did it change, why did it change, and how did that impact the surface? George Diller: “Five, four, three, two, one. Main engines start, ignition, and liftoff of the Atlas V with MAVEN, looking for clues about the evolution of Mars through its atmosphere.” MAVEN is a mission that is a first of its kind for the Goddard Space Flight Center, that is, a mission going to Mars that is managed by the Goddard Space Flight Center on behalf of the Principal Investigator at the University of Colorado.

With it we provide the project management, which encompasses a whole range of disciplines: safety of mission assurance, the mission systems engineering, mission design, disciplined engineers, and the financial side of this, the tracking, the schedule, the budget. So that’s all part of it. We’re also delivering two of the instruments for the MAVEN mission, one being the magnetometers, there’s actually redundant magnetometers, there’s two on this mission, and there’s a mass spectrometer, again, steeped in heritage of past developments from this particular group at the Goddard Space Flight Center. In fact they have a similar mass spectrometer on board the Curiosity rover at Mars right now. So this is two elements of Goddard, both from a project management standpoint and instrument delivery that are such an integral part of the MAVEN mission. Ultimately, I’m excited about the science that we hope to deliver for the world community and the Mars scientists. It’s going to unlock a piece of the puzzle that we have not been able to do with current rovers or other orbiters to this point in time.

This is another important piece that the scientists have been very interested for many years in what’s happening all the way up through the upper atmosphere.

The Air On Mars Has A Mysterious Glow. Here’s Why

With a rarified (or super thin) atmosphere looking at the stars from Mars must be incredible! But at night on Mars, there's also another source of light … the atmosphere of the Red Planet is literally glowing! Howdy glow worms, this is DNews, and I'm Trace. Nightglow is the tendency for the atmosphere of a planet to glow in complete absence of external light. This bizarre effect was spotted in mid-2016 by MAVEN. The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN mission was sent to orbit Mars to ascertain how Mars was stripped of its ancient atmosphere. But, while analyzing ultraviolet pictures scientists spotted this nightglow in the swirling high-altitude air of our rust-colored neighbor… Okay first, MAVEN has found that the sun's constant barrage of energy from it's nuclear reactions have slowly stripped the atmosphere of the planet to it's current level, 100 to 150 times thinner than our on Earth.

That same stripping of the atmosphere is causing the nightglow that MAVEN spotted! When ultraviolet light from the sun hits the "leading edge" of the planet the energy in the particles break down carbon dioxide, nitrogen and oxygen which are all floating around in the Martian sky. This is called photodissociation. The now-broken-up particles, are then carried on high altitude winds all around the planet. Once they reach the nightside of Mars (away from UV light), those free nitrogen and oxygen atoms interact — combining to form nitric oxide between 60 and 100 kilometers above the dusty surface [. When they do that, they release energy, causing this nightglow! It's basically the same idea used for glow-in-the-dark toys or glowsticks! Scientists are excited because it's very difficult to map the movement of the Martian atmosphere! Taking "pictures" of this glow can help scientists determine what's happening down there throughout the Mars year.

They can see how air moves in different Mars seasons, better understand the planet's cloud formations, and thanks to ozone formation, find water molecules. To be honest, nightglow is completely normal, and Mars isn't the only planet that has it… it's been seen on Venus, and a little planet you may have heard of, Eeeahhrth?! Just like on Mars, Earth's nightglow is caused by chemical reactions in the upper atmosphere, between 85 and 95 kilometers up. And just like on Mars this glow is very faint; NASA's Earth Observatory says the glow on our planet is about a billionth as bright as sunlight. So, it's very hard to see, but it's not invisible. A 2005 study in Astroparticle Physics found about 564 photons per meter squared, per second, over the Mediterranean Sea. And, if you were on the International Space Station looking sideways at the atmosphere you can see a faint glow… that's Earth's nightglow! We know a bit more about our own nightglow — for example, just like on Mars, the solar wind photo dissociates molecules in our upper atmosphere, and when they recombine they release energy as green, blue, yellow, and red light: oxygen glows green or blue, sodium yellowish, and hydroxls, or OH molecules glow red.

Science is beautiful, ain't it? Nightglow is just another byproduct of the sun's neverending assault on our atmosphere, and the atmosphere of other planets in our solar system. What a warm nuclear ball of awesome. Worried that the constant barrage of solar energy is actually going to steal our atmosphere? Can we run out of oxygen!? Check out this video with my girl Julia for more on that. And what is your favorite science topic? Space? Environment? Animals? Physics?! Tell us in the comments. Thanks for watching! Please subscribe so you get more DNews..

NASA’s Earth Minute: Gas Problem

The Earth’s atmosphere is a mixture of gasses. Some are known as greenhouse gases. That’s because they trap heat from the sun and warm the Earth. That’s good, because without greenhouse gases, our planet would freeze and life as most of us know it would be impossible. These greenhouse gases – mainly water vapor and carbon dioxide naturally cycle between the land and atmosphere and ocean. And over the ages, these greenhouse gases have reached a delicate balance that results in temperatures that we like. A lot. It’s been that way for thousands of years. Until the last 150 years. That’s when people began burning fossil fuels. Those fossil fuels – coal, oil, natural gas – contain carbon that’s been locked away from the natural cycle for eons. But when we burn them, that carbon joins with oxygen to make carbon dioxide that goes into the atmosphere. It throws the natural balance out of whack. The more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the more heat that is trapped.

And the warmer it gets. And the warmer it gets, the more the climate changes. And the higher the ocean will rise. The more we learn about carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, the better we can deal with the changes caused by global warming. Because good planets are hard to find!.