• Europa Peroxide

    Europa is the sixth closest moon of the planet Jupiter, and the smallest of its four Galilean satellites, but still one of the largest moons in the Solar System. Europa has emerged as one of the top locations in the Solar System in terms of potential habitability and the possibility of hosting extraterrestrial life. Life could exist in its under-ice ocean, perhaps subsisting in an environment similar to Earth's deep-ocean hydrothermal vents. A new paper led by a NASA researcher shows that hydrogen peroxide is abundant across much of the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa. The authors argue that if the peroxide on the surface of Europa mixes into the ocean below, it could be an important energy supply for simple forms of life, if life were to exist there. The paper was published online recently in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. >> Read the Full Article
  • Origin of the Primordial Soup of Life

    Researchers at the University of Leeds may have solved a key puzzle about how objects from space could have kindled life on Earth. While it is generally accepted that some important ingredients for life came from meteorites bombarding the early Earth, scientists have not been able to explain how that inanimate rock transformed into the building blocks of life. There have been many theories. There is no standard model of the origin of life on Earth. This new study shows how a chemical, similar to one now found in all living cells and vital for generating the energy that makes something alive, could have been created when meteorites containing phosphorus minerals landed in hot, acidic pools of liquids around volcanoes, which were likely to have been common across the early Earth. >> Read the Full Article
  • Why Galaxies Spiral

    A spiral galaxy is a certain kind of galaxy originally described by Edwin Hubble in his 1936 work The Realm of the Nebulae[1] and, as such, forms part of the Hubble sequence. Spiral galaxies consist of a flat, rotating disk containing stars, gas and dust, and a central concentration of stars known as the bulge. As the shapes of galaxies go, the spiral disk — with its characteristic pinwheel profile — is by far the most pedestrian. Our own Milky Way, astronomers believe, is a spiral. Our solar system and Earth reside somewhere near one of its swept-back arms. And nearly 70 percent of the galaxies closest to the Milky Way are spirals, suggesting they have taken the most ordinary of galactic forms in a universe with billions of galaxies. Despite their common morphology, how galaxies like ours get into a spiral shape and maintain their characteristic arms has proved to be an enduring puzzle in astrophysics. How do the arms of spiral galaxies arise? >> Read the Full Article
  • 'Waterpod' Turns Desert Well-Water Clean

    Ever since the construction of a hydro-electric dam in the Draa Valley nearly 40 years ago, Sahara nomads have faced further desertification of the region, taking a heavy toll on water supplies. More than 330 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, or around 40 percent of the population, do not have access to clean drinking water, according to a report published by British NGO WaterAid. While there are wells throughout the region, they often contain undrinkable brackish water that is inundated with salt. >> Read the Full Article
  • Sea Lion Keeps the Beat

    A California sea lion named Ronan is now being known as the first non-human mammal that can keep the beat while rocking out to music. Scientists at the Long Marine Laboratory at the University of California, Santa Cruz have trained Ronan to bob her head in time with rhythmic sounds. Not only has she learned how to keep with the tempos, but she can transfer this skill to music she hasn't heard before. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Next Great Urban Vehicle

    Many of the frustrations that come from living in big cities are ultimately tied to our vehicles. Dirty and dusty air, foggy skies, crowded streets, fights over parking spots and traffic jams can all damper our moods. For many, other methods of personal transportation, such as bicycles and Segways, have become preferred solutions. Taking easy transportation into a new direction, Israeli-native Amir Ziad invented a personal transportation vehicle called muvE that picks up where the Segway and the electric scooter left off. >> Read the Full Article
  • Using 'Biochar' To Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    'Biochar' is the name for charcoal when it is used as a soil amendment. People add charcoal to land in order to increase soil fertility and agricultural productivity. In addition to these benefits, researchers are now saying that biochar has potential to mitigate climate change as it can help sequester carbon and thus cut our greenhouse gas emissions. >> Read the Full Article
  • Ancient Global Firestorm

    When a big rock hits the Earth, it will cause a lot of damage. The asteroid sized rock that is believed to have killed off the dinosaurs is one extreme example. A new look at conditions after a Manhattan-sized asteroid slammed into a region of Mexico in the dinosaur days indicates the event could have triggered a global firestorm that would have burned every twig, bush and tree on Earth and led to the extinction of 80 percent of all Earth’s species, says a new University of Colorado Boulder study. Led by Douglas Robertson of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, or CIRES, the team used models that show the collision would have vaporized huge amounts of rock that were then blown high above Earth’s atmosphere. The re-entering ejected material would have heated the upper atmosphere enough to glow red for several hours at roughly 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit -- about the temperature of an oven broiler element -- killing every living thing not sheltered underground or underwater. >> Read the Full Article
  • Martian Hit! or ?

    When Jupiter’s tides ripped Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 to shreds, what remained hit the thick atmosphere and disintegrated. They really did not hit the ground, Occasionally astronomers have caught a glimpse of a rock hitting the moon. How about Mars? Astronomers think there’s a chance of a cosmic ruck hitting Mars in the near term future. This is a comet that is predicted as having a chance of hitting Mars. And Mars is under observation by us humans on the ground and by telescope and camera. >> Read the Full Article
  • Ecosytem Complexity

    What is the impact of a single factor such as climate change on the ecosystem? Ecology is a complex science with multiple and interrelated factors. According to a new study led by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, the forces behind the sardine mystery are a dynamic and interconnected moving target. Publishing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Scripps graduate student Ethan Deyle, professor George Sugihara, and their colleagues argue that problems lie in seeking answers one factor at a time, as scientists have done for decades. What is the singular impact of climate or overfishing? Focusing on single variables in isolation can lead to misguided conclusions, the researchers say. Instead, using novel mathematical methods developed last year at Scripps, the researchers argue that climate, human actions and ecosystem fluctuations combine to influence sardine and other species populations, and therefore such factors should not be evaluated independently >> Read the Full Article