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Keyword: xplanets

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  • NASA's Mars Rover Found Mysterious Growths On Mars That Could Be The Biggest Discovery In Science

    02/05/2016 12:46:49 AM PST · by blam · 42 replies
    BI ^ | 2-5-2016
    NASA's Spirit Mars Rover Found Mysterious Growths On Mars That Could Be The Biggest Discovery In Science Jennifer Deal February 5, 2016 Four billion years ago, Mars looked a lot like Earth does today. So it's not surprising that a team of scientists believe that they may have discovered the first signs of ancient alien life on the planet.(click to the site to see the video)
  • New study zeros in on plate tectonics' start date

    01/25/2016 10:35:42 AM PST · by JimSEA · 28 replies
    Science Daily ^ | 1/21/2016 | University of Maryland
    Earth has some special features that set it apart from its close cousins in the solar system, including large oceans of liquid water and a rich atmosphere with just the right ingredients to support life as we know it. Earth is also the only planet that has an active outer layer made of large tectonic plates that grind together and dip beneath each other, giving rise to mountains, volcanoes, earthquakes and large continents of land. Geologists have long debated when these processes, collectively known as plate tectonics, first got underway. Some scientists propose that the process began as early as...
  • Wild new theory says Earth may actually be two different planets

    02/04/2016 10:21:30 AM PST · by Smittie · 64 replies
    BGR News ^ | 02/03/2016 | Chris Smith
    A new theory says Earth is made of two planets, rather than just one. Apparently, our planet is the result of a collision that helped map the course of both Earth as we know it and the moon. According to new research from the University of California, Earth and a hypothesized early planet called Theia collided, and the two planets fused together 4.5 billion years ago. That impact also formed our moon, Science Alert explains. The initial working theory was that the Earth and Theia only side-swiped each other, sending the moon into orbit and then flying away into space....
  • Scientists Debate Signatures of Alien Life

    02/03/2016 7:23:06 PM PST · by LibWhacker · 19 replies
    Quanta Magazine ^ | 2/2/16 | Natalie Wolchover
    Scientists Debate Signatures of Alien Life Searching for signs of life on faraway planets, astrobiologists must decide which telltale biosignature gases to target. Photo illustration by Olena Shmahalo/Quanta Magazine February 2, 2016 Comments (5) Share this: facebooktwitterredditmail PDF Print Huddled in a coffee shop one drizzly Seattle morning six years ago, the astrobiologist Shawn Domagal-Goldman stared blankly at his laptop screen, paralyzed. He had been running a simulation of an evolving planet, when suddenly oxygen started accumulating in the virtual planet’s atmosphere. Up the concentration ticked, from 0 to 5 to 10 percent.“Is something wrong?” his wife asked.“Yeah.”The rise of...
  • The Many Mysteries of Uranus

    02/02/2016 11:09:42 PM PST · by Timpanagos1 · 39 replies
    The Atlantic ^ | 2/2/16 | DAVID MOSCATO
    The best planet in our solar system is not, as Adrienne LaFrance claimed several months ago, Jupiter. Nor is it Saturn, as Ross Andersen argued in a rebuttal last month. I teach science for a living, which means I have a hard time allowing misinformation to pass by uncorrected—and after reading those articles, I knew I had to step in before any more intellectual damage was done. The best planet is Uranus—Uranus the bizarre. Uranus the unique.
  • The Fermi Paradox Is Not Fermi's, and It Is Not a Paradox

    02/02/2016 1:30:21 AM PST · by LibWhacker · 81 replies
    Scientific American ^ | 1/29/16 | Robert H. Gray
    Two big ideas often come up in discussions about the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, or SETI. One is the Drake Equation, which estimates the number of civilizations in our Galaxy whose signals we might be able to detect--potentially thousands, according to plausible estimates. The other is the so-called Fermi paradox, which claims that we should see intelligent aliens here if they exist anywhere, because they would inevitably colonize the Galaxy by star travel--and since we don't see any obvious signs of aliens here, searching for their signals is pointless. The Drake Equation is perfectly genuine: it was created by astronomer...
  • ...Antarctic fungi survives Martian conditions...strapped outside the space station for 18 months

    01/28/2016 6:28:56 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 9 replies
    daily mail uk ^ | 01/25/2016 | cheyenne macdonald
    After a year-and-a-half long voyage aboard the International Space Station, a group of fungi collected from Antarctica has proven its ability to withstand harsh, Mars-like conditions. More than half of the cells remained intact over the course of the 18-month study, providing new insight for the possibility of life on Mars. These fungal samples, along with lichens from Spain and Austria, have allowed European researchers to assess the survivability and stability of microscopic lifeforms on the red planet. The tiny fungi taken from Antarctica are typically found in the cracks of rocks in this dry, hostile region. Scientists took samples...
  • Don't Blame 'Planet Nine' for Earth's Mass Extinctions

    01/26/2016 8:03:21 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 21 replies
    space.com ^ | 01/25/2016 | mike wall
    Planet Nine - a newly proposed but not yet confirmed world perhaps 10 times more massive than Earth that's thought to orbit far beyond Pluto — probably could not have triggered such "death from the skies" events, researchers said. Planet Nine likely has an elliptical orbit, coming within 200 to 300 astronomical units (AU) of the sun at its closest approach and getting as far away as 600 to 1,200 AU, Brown said. (One AU is the distance from Earth to the sun - about 93 million miles, or 150 million kilometers). Neptune orbits about 30 AU from the sun,...
  • Study: Maybe we can’t find aliens because they’ve all died already

    01/22/2016 12:32:08 PM PST · by Trumpinator · 85 replies
    washingtonpost.com ^ | January 22 at 12:27 PM | Rachel Feltman
    Study: Maybe we can’t find aliens because they’ve all died already By Rachel Feltman January 22 at 12:27 PM he hunt for extraterrestrial life is one of humanity's most exciting endeavors. The pieces are all falling into place: We're finding more and more planets outside of our own solar system, and soon the James Webb Telescope will give us unprecedented looks at these distant worlds. We've populated Mars with robots looking for signs of ancient habitability. Orbiters dive through the icy geysers of ocean-covered moons in hopes of catching some life-giving minerals. Our radio telescopes are tuned in to mysterious...
  • Researchers find evidence of a real ninth planet

    01/20/2016 7:52:49 PM PST · by Utilizer · 31 replies
    Phys.org ^ | January 20, 2016 | Kimm Fesenmaier
    Caltech researchers have found evidence of a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system. The object, which the researchers have nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the sun on average than does Neptune (which orbits the sun at an average distance of 2.8 billion miles). In fact, it would take this new planet between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make just one full orbit around the sun. The researchers, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, discovered the planet's existence through mathematical modeling...
  • There's a ninth planet in our solar system - we just can't see it yet, study says

    01/20/2016 1:43:51 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 39 replies
    l a times ^ | 01/20/2016 | amina khan
    Scientists have been wondering whether a "Planet X" exists in the dim regions far beyond the known planets, but it has remained largely speculative.... That started to change in March 2014, when a pair of astronomers announced that they’d discovered a brand-new dwarf planet, 2012 VP113, beyond the well-populated edge of the Kuiper belt, whose main mass stretches from Neptune’s orbit around 30 astronomical units (or 30 times the Earth-Sun distance) out to 50 astronomical units. It wasn’t the only such object: Sedna, a 600-mile-wide rock discovered in 2003, also boasted this far-out orbit, and it seemed to be making...
  • Ninth Planet May Exist in Solar System Beyond Pluto, New Evidence Suggests

    01/20/2016 12:01:57 PM PST · by presidio9 · 50 replies
    The New York Times ^ | JAN. 20, 2016 | KENNETH CHANG
    There might be a ninth planet in the solar system after all - and it is not Pluto. Two astronomers reported on Wednesday that they had compelling signs of something bigger and farther away — something that would definitely satisfy the current definition of a planet, where Pluto falls short. "We are pretty sure there's one out there," said Michael E. Brown, a professor of planetary astronomy at the California Institute of Technology. What Dr. Brown and a fellow Caltech professor, Konstantin Batygin, have not done is actually find that planet, so it would be premature to revise mnemonics of...
  • Moon Village Is International Space Station Successor, Stepping Stone To Mars: ESA Head

    01/18/2016 8:28:52 PM PST · by Jack Hydrazine · 31 replies
    Tech Times ^ | 16JAN2016 | Katherine Derla
    European Space Agency's head Jan Woerner released the vision outline for the Moon Village, which could replace the International Space Station as early as 2030. The lunar village will be composed of structures created by 3D printers and robots using Moon dusts as raw materials. Woerner became the ESA head in July 2015 and made the Moon mission the space agency's central project. Woerner added that this lunar project is a crucial step towards the future flight to Mars. "I looked into the requirements I see for a project after ISS. As of today, I see the Moon Village as...
  • Dimming star remains mystery, but it's likely not caused by comets

    01/16/2016 5:52:31 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 13 replies
    cnn ^ | jareen imam
    Theories surrounding the star system KIC 8462852, also known as Tabby's Star, ranged from comets to an "alien megastructure" after the online astronomy crowdsourcing site Planet Hunter discovered an unusual light fluctuation in the star system a few years ago. A new analysis of KIC 8462852 shows that the star system, which lies about 1,500 light years away, has been gradually dimming for more than a century, and it's likely not caused by a cloud of orbiting comets. Bradley Schaefer, a physics and astronomy professor at Louisiana State University, examined data from a Harvard University archive of digitally scanned photographic...
  • How fast is the earth moving?

    01/09/2016 6:12:50 PM PST · by MtnClimber · 65 replies
    Scientific American ^ | 26 Oct, 1998 | Rhett Herman
    Consider the movement of the earth's surface with respect to the planet's center. The earth rotates once every 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.09053 seconds, called the sidereal period, and its circumference is roughly 40,075 kilometers. Thus, the surface of the earth at the equator moves at a speed of 460 meters per second-or roughly 1,000 miles per hour. As schoolchildren, we learn that the earth is moving about our sun in a very nearly circular orbit. It covers this route at a speed of nearly 30 kilometers per second, or 67,000 miles per hour. In addition, our solar system--Earth...
  • “X” Marks the Spot of Convective Churning on Hot Pluto

    01/09/2016 4:45:38 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 18 replies
    universe today ^ | 01/08/2016 | Ken Kremer
    X marks the spot that's illustrative of "convective churning" resulting from subsurface planetary heating, as seen in a fascinating new super high resolution image received from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 2015. Its situated at the very center of the left ventricle of Pluto's huge "heart" - an icy flow plain that's informally named "Sputnik Planum." The "X" feature - see image above - is located in an area of intersecting cells, shaped like polygons, on the plains of "Sputnik Planum" which are mostly comprised of frozen nitrogen ices. So what's really piqued the interest of...
  • Precise stellar surface gravities from the time scales of...

    01/05/2016 12:06:22 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    Science Advances ^ | January 1, 2016 | Thomas Kallinger, Saskia Hekker, Rafael A. García, Daniel Huber, and Jaymie M. Matthews
    We have demonstrated that the typical time scale of the combined granulation and oscillation variability is a reliable tracer of stellar surface gravity for stars with masses 0.8 to 3 times the mass of the Sun across a wide evolutionary range -- from main sequence stars with granulation time scales of minutes to hours to red giants with granulation time scales of days, including luminous red giants with time scales of weeks. We have tested this for a well-defined subsample of the Kepler catalog and found it to maintain a high accuracy, about six times better than that of the...
  • Spot five planets at once and a transit of Mercury in 2016

    12/31/2015 11:16:31 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 3 replies
    Batlimore Sun ^ | 12/31/2015 | Scott Dance
    Skywatchers will have many opportunities in 2016 to see just how small we are in the universe. Four days into the new year, hundreds of meteors will dance across the night skies.... Come September, an outer ring of the sun's annular eclipse will be visible across Africa. In between, there will be spectacular shooting stars, super moons, and lunar eclipses to take in. ... From about Jan. 20 to Feb. 20, all five planets that are visible to the naked eye — Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn — will occupy the morning sky. This hasn't happened since 2005, according...
  • A Message from Above

    12/23/2015 4:20:29 AM PST · by Sean_Anthony · 10 replies
    Canada Free Press ^ | 12/23/15 | Dr. Klaus Kaiser
    Planet of the red dwarf star WOLF-1016 Astronomers are excited: a new planet has been discovered, currently termed WOLF-1016c, a planet of the red dwarf star WOLF-1016. It’s said to be the planet most similar yet discovered to Earth, both in size, trajectory and other features but a bit far away, about 15 light years or so. Let’s put that distance into perspective.
  • Astrobiology Top 10: Earth's Moon May Not Be Critical to Life

    12/25/2015 12:03:24 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 44 replies
    Astrobiology ^ | Wednesday, December 23, 2015 | Keith Cooper
    In 1993, French astronomer Jacques Laskar ran a series of calculations indicating that the gravity of the Moon is vital to stabilizing the tilt of our planet. Earth's obliquity, as this tilt is technically known as, has huge repercussions for climate. Laskar argued that should Earth's obliquity wander over hundreds of thousands of years, it would cause environmental chaos by creating a climate too variable for complex life to develop in relative peace. So his argument goes, we should feel remarkably lucky to have such a large moon on our doorstep, as no other terrestrial planet in our solar system...
  • Intelligence genes discovered by scientists

    12/22/2015 4:43:59 AM PST · by SkyPilot · 93 replies
    Photo: AP The Telegraph ^ | 21 Dec 15 | Sarah Knapton
    Imperial College London has found that two networks of genes determine whether people are intelligent or not so bright. Genes which make people intelligent have been discovered and scientists believe they could be manipulated to boost brain power. Researchers have believed for some time that intellect is inherited with studies suggesting that up to 75 per cent of IQ is genetic, and the rest down to environmental factors such as schooling and friendship groups. But until now, nobody has been able to pin-point exactly which genes are responsible for better memory, attention, processing speed or reasoning skills. Now Imperial College...
  • Curiouser And Curiouser: NASA's Curiosity Rover Finds Piles Of Silica On Mars

    12/19/2015 4:50:10 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 37 replies
    NPR ^ | 12/18/2015 | Bill Chappell
    In a finding that suggests "considerable water activity" on Mars, NASA says its Curiosity rover has found very high concentrations of silica on the red planet. The agency says it also found "a mineral named tridymite, rare on Earth and never seen before on Mars." The discoveries took place on Mount Sharp, where Curiosity drilled into a rock called "Buckskin" to find the tridymite, and where it used its "ChemCam" laser to measure high silica levels. The odd findings led researchers to take the rare step of ordering Curiosity to retrace its path to learn more. Explanations for the high...
  • Scientists may have found Planet X, the mysterious presence that has eluded astronomers

    12/12/2015 1:40:04 AM PST · by Squawk 8888 · 66 replies
    National Post ^ | December 11, 2015 | Sarah Kaplan
    It’s a big, dark presence at the farthest reaches of our solar system, a mysterious force powerful enough to skew the paths of planets in orbit and yet so subtle that it slips undetected past even the most powerful telescopes on Earth. For centuries, it has eluded some of the most brilliant minds in astronomy — some say it even destroyed one. It’s the subject of endless calculations and rampant speculation, crackpot theories and countless hours spent gazing, fruitlessly, at the night sky. It’s known as Planet X. And on Tuesday, a group of astronomers said they’d found not just...
  • Exiled exoplanet likely kicked out of star's neighborhood

    12/02/2015 3:07:04 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 6 replies
    A planet discovered last year sitting at an unusually large distance from its star - 16 times farther than Pluto is from the sun - may have been kicked out of its birthplace close to the star in a process similar to what may have happened early in our own solar system's history. Images from the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) in the Chilean Andes and the Hubble Space Telescope show that the star has a lopsided comet belt indicative of a very disturbed solar system, and hinting that the planet interactions that roiled the comets closer to the star might...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- In the Glare of Alpha Centauri

    06/28/2012 6:12:55 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 16 replies
    NASA ^ | June 28, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The glare of Alpha Centauri, one of the brightest stars in planet Earth's night sky, floods the left side of this southern skyscape. A mere 4.3 light-years distant, Alpha Centauri actually consists of two component stars similar in size to the Sun, locked in a mutual orbit. Much smaller and cooler, a third member of the same star system, Proxima Centauri, lies outside this field of view. Still, the telescopic scene does reveal often overlooked denizens of the Milky Way's crowded galactic plane that lie beyond the glare of Alpha Centauri, including a planetary nebula cataloged as Hen 2-111,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Alpha Centauri: The Closest Star System

    07/03/2011 10:34:44 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 55 replies
    NASA ^ | July 03, 2011 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The closest star system to the Sun is the Alpha Centauri system. Of the three stars in the system, the dimmest -- called Proxima Centauri -- is actually the nearest star. The bright stars Alpha Centauri A and B form a close binary as they are separated by only 23 times the Earth- Sun distance - slightly greater than the distance between Uranus and the Sun. In the above picture, the brightness of the stars overwhelm the photograph causing an illusion of great size, even though the stars are really just small points of light. The Alpha Centauri system...
  • A Blue, Neptune-size Exoplanet Around A Red Dwarf Star

    11/26/2015 10:09:42 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    Phys.org ^ | November 25, 2015 | arXiv
    A team of astronomers have used the LCOGT network to detect light scattered by tiny particles (called Rayleigh scattering), through the atmosphere of a Neptune-size transiting exoplanet. This suggests a blue sky on this world which is only 100 light years away from us. The result was published in the Astrophysical Journal on November 20 (and is available on ArXiV). Transits occur when an exoplanet passes in front of its parent star, reducing the amount of light we receive from the star by a small fraction. When the orbit of an exoplanet is aligned just right for transits to occur,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Phobos: Doomed Moon of Mars

    11/22/2015 6:33:53 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 42 replies
    NASA ^ | November 22, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This moon is doomed. Mars, the red planet named for the Roman god of war, has two tiny moons, Phobos and Deimos, whose names are derived from the Greek for Fear and Panic. These martian moons may well be captured asteroids originating in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter or perhaps from even more distant reaches of the Solar System. The larger moon, Phobos, is indeed seen to be a cratered, asteroid-like object in this stunning color image from the robotic Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, recorded at a resolution of about seven meters per pixel. But Phobos orbits...
  • New detector perfect for asteroid mining, planetary research

    11/21/2015 8:16:42 AM PST · by Red Badger · 9 replies
    phys.org ^ | November 20, 2015 | by David Salisbury & Provided by: Vanderbilt University
    Concept of an asteroid redirect mission. Credit: NASA ==================================================================================================================================== The grizzled asteroid miner is a stock character in science fiction. Now, a couple of recent events - one legal and the other technological - have brought asteroid mining a step closer to reality. The legal step was taken when the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee passed a bill titled H.R. 2262—SPACE Act of 2015. The bill has a number of measures designed to facilitate commercial space development, including a provision that gives individuals or companies ownership of any material that they mine in outer space. According to one estimate,...
  • Where Will the 1st Astronauts on Mars Land?

    11/17/2015 9:16:02 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 15 replies
    space.com ^ | Leonard David,
    The ideal Red Planet crewed site should be of high scientific value — allowing pioneers to search for signs of Mars life and investigate other intriguing questions — and also possess enough resources to help sustain expeditionary crews, scientists and engineers said. They came to these and other conclusions at the First Landing Site/Exploration Zone Workshop for Human Missions to the Surface of Mars, which was held here Oct. 27 though Oct. 30 at the Lunar and Planetary Institute. ... Nearly 50 locations on Mars were proposed as future locales for human landings. Those sites were all within 50 degrees...
  • Astronomers Found the Ghost of a Rare Giant Radio Galaxy

    11/09/2015 6:14:29 AM PST · by Red Badger · 33 replies
    gizmodo.com ^ | 11/08/15 4:05pm | Kiona Smith-Strickland
    Image: J021659-044920. The red and yellow lobes are the galaxy’s radio lobes. The red spot in the center is the visible galaxy. Prathamesh Tamhane/Yogesh Wadadekar. ================================================================================================================== Astronomers in India have discovered a very unusual galaxy, and it’s dying. By now, in fact, it’s probably already dead. The new galaxy, known as J021659-044920, is 9 billion light years away from Earth. That means it’s really old in cosmic terms (but not quite as old as the oldest object astronomers have ever found, a galaxy 13 billion light years away called UDFy-38135539). Viewed in the visible spectrum, J021659-044920spans about 100,000 light years...
  • The Curious Case of Missing Asteroids

    03/03/2009 7:31:32 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 38 replies · 720+ views
    NASA Solar System Exploration ^ | February 25, 2009 | Lori Stiles
    University of Arizona scientists have uncovered a curious case of missing asteroids. The main asteroid belt is a zone containing millions of rocky objects between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. The scientists find that there ought to be more asteroids there than researchers observe. The missing asteroids may be evidence of an event that took place about 4 billion years ago, when the solar system's giant planets migrated to their present locations. UA planetary sciences graduate student David A. Minton and UA planetary sciences professor Renu Malhotra say missing asteroids is an important piece of evidence to support an...
  • Assessing the massive young Sun hypothesis to solve the warm young Earth puzzle [preprint abstract]

    04/24/2007 8:09:35 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies · 202+ views
    arXiv.org ^ | last revised 12 Dec 2006 | David A. Minton, Renu Malhotra
    A moderately massive early Sun has been proposed to resolve the so-called faint early Sun paradox. We calculate the time-evolution of the solar mass that would be required by this hypothesis, using a simple parametrized energy-balance model for Earth's climate. Our calculations show that the solar mass loss rate would need to have been 2-3 orders of magnitude higher than present for a time on the order of ~2 Gy. Such a mass loss history is significantly at variance (both in timescale and in the magnitude of the mass loss rates) with that inferred from astronomical observations of mass loss...
  • Could An Asteroid Hit Planet Earth, Again?

    01/30/2008 3:46:10 PM PST · by blam · 53 replies · 146+ views
    Science Daily ^ | 1-20-2008 | Planetary Society
    Could An Asteroid Hit Planet Earth, Again?Asteroid impact on early Earth. Some scientists believe that impacts such as this during the Late Heavy Bombardment period, 4 billion years ago, may have delivered primitive life to Earth. (Credit: Copyright Don Davis) ScienceDaily (Jan. 30, 2008) Earth dodged a bullet today, when asteroid TU24 passed within 540,000 kilometers of our planet, which is just down the street on a galactic scale. Tomorrow, another asteroid 2007 WD5 will zip past Mars at a distance of only 26,000 kilometers away. Will we dodge the bullet the next time a near-Earth object...
  • What We Can Learn From The Biggest Extinction In The History Of Earth

    08/09/2007 7:47:19 PM PDT · by blam · 35 replies · 944+ views
    Science Daily ^ | 8-10-2007 | Stanford University
    Source: Stanford University Date: August 10, 2007 What We Can Learn From The Biggest Extinction In The History Of Earth Science Daily Approximately 250 million years ago, vast numbers of species disappeared from Earth. This mass-extinction event may hold clues to current global carbon cycle changes, according to Jonathan Payne, assistant professor of geological and environmental sciences. Payne, a paleobiologist who joined the Stanford faculty in 2005, studies the Permian-Triassic extinction and the following 4 million years of instability in the global carbon cycle. Jiayong Wei, Payne's colleague, examined a block of early Triassic microbial limestone. (Credit: Jonathan Payne)...
  • When Earth Turned Bad: New Evidence Supports Terrestrial Cause Of End-Permian Mass Extinction

    09/02/2006 11:15:06 AM PDT · by Ernest_at_the_Beach · 67 replies · 2,010+ views
    Science Daily ^ | December 8, 2004 | Christian Koeberl team leader
    Two hundred and fifty million years ago, ninety percent of marine species disappeared and life on land suffered greatly during the world's largest mass extinction. The cause of this great dying has baffled scientists for decades, and recent speculations invoke asteroid impacts as a kill mechanism. Yet a new study published in the December issue of Geology provides strong indications that the extinction cause did not come from the heavens but from Earth itself.An international team of scientists led by Christian Koeberl from the University of Vienna studied rock samples taken from deep in the Carnic Alps of southern Austria...
  • Report questions role of Mexico crater in mass extinction

    03/01/2004 3:54:21 PM PST · by yonif · 14 replies · 453+ views
    WQAD ^ | March 1, 2004 | AP
    Washington-AP -- New research casts doubt on the theory that a single asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs. Scientists have often pointed to a crater in Mexico as the asteroid's impact point. But Princeton University researchers say the impact that caused the crater occurred 300-thousand years before the dinosaurs were wiped out 65 (m) million years ago. A report appears in this week's online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. At least one scientist doubts the group's findings. Richard Norris of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography says the Princeton researchers were working with incorrect site data.
  • A CATASTROPHICAL SCENARIO FOR DISCONTINUITIES IN HUMAN HISTORY

    04/19/2002 12:42:27 PM PDT · by vannrox · 29 replies · 5,783+ views
    Journal of New England Antiquities Research Association, 26, 1-14, 1991 ^ | First version published in 1985 as Quaderno 85/3. | Emilio Spedicato - University of Bergamo
    GALACTIC ENCOUNTERS, APOLLO OBJECTS AND ATLANTIS: A CATASTROPHICAL SCENARIO FOR DISCONTINUITIES IN HUMAN HISTORY Emilio SpedicatoUniversity of Bergamo Acknowledgements The author acknowledges stimulating discussions with Thor Heyerdahl (Colle Micheri, Liguria and Guimar, Tenerife), Laurence Dixon (University of Hertfordhshire), Victor Clube (Oxford University), Emmanuel Anati (Centro Camuno di Studi Preistorici), Zdenek Kukal (Central Geological Survey, Prague), Donald Patten (Seattle), Flavio Barbiero (Livorno), Antonino Del Popolo (Bergamo), Lia Mangolini (Milano), Graham Hancock (Leat Mill, Lifton) and Andrew Collins (Leigh on Sea). Third revised version. First version published in 1985 as Quaderno 85/3. First revised version published in 1990 as Quaderno 90/22...
  • The Chilling Regularity of Mass Extinctions

    11/03/2015 4:22:15 PM PST · by MtnClimber · 37 replies
    The Atlantic ^ | 3 Nov 2015 | Adrienne Lafrance
    One thing we know for sure is that conditions on Earth were, shall we say, unpleasant for the dinosaurs at the moment of their demise. Alternate and overlapping theories suggest the great beasts were pelted with monster comets, drowned by mega-tsunamis, scorched with lava, starved by a landscape stripped of vegetation, blasted with the radiation of a dying supernova, cloaked in decades of darkness, and frozen in an ice age. Now, a pair of researchers have new evidence to support a link between cyclical comet showers and mass extinctions, including the one that they believe wiped out the dinosaurs 66...
  • SETI Institute undertakes search for alien signal from Kepler Star KIC 8462852

    10/24/2015 5:31:16 AM PDT · by Momaw Nadon · 13 replies
    PHYS.ORG ^ | October 22, 2015 | Bob King
    "We either caught something shortly after an event like two planets crashing together or alien intelligence," said Dr. Gerald Harp, senior scientist at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, referring to the baffling light variations seen in the Kepler star KIC 8462852. And he and a team from the Institute are working hard at this moment to determine which of the two it is. Beginning last Friday (Oct. 16), the Institute's Allen Telescope Array (ATA) was taken off its normal survey schedule and instead focused on KIC 8462852, one of the 150,000-plus stars studied by NASA's Kepler Mission to...
  • 'Alien Megastructure' Mystery May Soon Be Solved

    10/28/2015 12:56:27 PM PDT · by ETL · 57 replies
    Space.com ^ | October 28, 2015 | Mike Wall - Space.com Senior Writer
    The mystery behind a strangely dimming star could soon be solved. Astronomers around the world are keeping a close eye on the star KIC 8462852, which has dimmed dramatically numerous times over the past few years, dropping in brightness by up to 22 percent. These big dips have spurred speculation that the star may be surrounded by some type of alien megastructure a hypothesis that will be put to the test if and when KIC 8462852 dims again. "As long as one of those events occurs again, we should be able to catch it in the act, and then...
  • Why Earth is so much bigger than Mars: Rocky planets formed from 'pebbles'

    10/27/2015 11:47:58 AM PDT · by JimSEA · 9 replies
    Science Daily ^ | 10/27/2015 | Southwest Research Institute
    Using a new process in planetary formation modeling, where planets grow from tiny bodies called "pebbles," Southwest Research Institute scientists can explain why Mars is so much smaller than Earth. This same process also explains the rapid formation of the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn, as reported earlier this year. "This numerical simulation actually reproduces the structure of the inner solar system, with Earth, Venus, and a smaller Mars," said Hal Levison, an Institute scientist at the SwRI Planetary Science Directorate. He is the first author of a new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences...
  • The Astronomer Who Wanted to Rearrange the Solar System, Using Nukes

    CalTech astronomer Fritz Zwicky was the first to conceive of dark matter, supernovas and neutron stars. He also had a theory about colonizing the solar system using nuclear bombs. We could terraform other planets, he argued, by pulverizing them and then moving them closer or further from the sun. ...
  • New Horizons aiming toward next target [Kuiper Belt 2014 MU69]

    10/25/2015 6:30:08 PM PDT · by markomalley · 4 replies
    Earthsky ^ | 10/25/15
    The fast-moving New Horizons spacecraft is now approximately 74 million miles (119 million km) beyond the Pluto system, which it swept through in July. Today (October 25, 2015), the spacecraft is carrying out the second in a series of four initial targeting maneuvers ultimately designed to send it toward its next target a small body in the Kuiper Belt about a billion miles beyond Pluto called 2014 MU69. NASA said: The four planned maneuvers will change New Horizons trajectory by approximately 57 meters per second, nudging it toward a prospective close encounter with MU69 on January 1, 2019....
  • The Fermi Paradox

    10/24/2015 1:45:16 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 38 replies
    Wait But Why ^ | Tim Urban
    The Fermi Paradox By Tim Urban Facebook275k Twitter0 Google+0 Pinterest0 Everyone feels something when theyre in a really good starry place on a really good starry night and they look up and see this:Some people stick with the traditional, feeling struck by the epic beauty or blown away by the insane scale of the universe. Personally, I go for the old existential meltdown followed by acting weird for the next half hour. But everyone feels something.Physicist Enrico Fermi felt something tooWhere is everybody?________________A really starry sky seems vastbut all were looking at is our very local neighborhood. On the very...
  • New methane organisms discovered

    10/23/2015 2:17:22 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 23 replies
    phys.org ^ | October 23, 2015 | by Gene Tyson & Provided by: University of Queensland
    ===================================================================================================================== Textbooks on methane-metabolising organisms might have to be rewritten after researchers in a University of Queensland-led international project today (23 October) announced the discovery of two new organisms. Deputy Head of UQ's Australian Centre for Ecogenomics in the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences Associate Professor Gene Tyson said these new organisms played an unknown role in greenhouse gas emissions and consumption. "We sampled the microorganisms in the water from a deep coal seam aquifer 600m below the earth's surface in the Surat Basin, near Roma, Queensland, and reconstructed genomes of organisms able to perform methane metabolism," Associate...
  • Astronomers say real-life 'death star' destroying faraway rocky object

    10/22/2015 1:02:05 AM PDT · by WhiskeyX · 20 replies
    Associated Press ^ | October 22, 2015 | Associated Press
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. A white dwarf star in the Constellation Virgo turns out to be a "death star" worthy of "Star Wars." Astronomers announced Wednesday that they have discovered a rocky object coming apart in a death spiral around this distant star. They used NASA's exoplanet-hunting Kepler spacecraft to make the discovery, then followed up with ground observations. "This is something no human has seen before," said Andrew Vanderburg of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the lead author. "We're watching a solar system get destroyed," he said in a statement.
  • Hottest, heaviest touching double star

    10/21/2015 3:19:56 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 49 replies
    EarthSky.org ^ | 10/21/15
    Hottest, heaviest touching double star Astronomers say the two stars might be heading for catastrophe. They will likely either merge to create a single giant star or form a double black hole. This artists impression shows VFTS 352 hottest and most massive double star system known to date where the two components are in contact and sharing material. Image via ESOWe know that many stars in our galaxy are in double or multiple systems, but here are two stars so close they touch. An international team of astronomers said this week (October 21, 2015) that this system known...
  • Did Astronomers Find Evidence of an Alien Civilization? Probably Not. But Still Cool.

    10/15/2015 8:55:50 PM PDT · by Brad from Tennessee · 30 replies
    Slate ^ | October 14, 2015 | By Phil Plait
    The paper doesnt mention aliens, and it doesnt even imply aliens. Not directly, at least. But the astronomers found a star so odd, with behavior so difficult to explain, that its clear something weird is happening there. And some of the astronomers who did the work are now looking into the idea that what theyve found might (might!) be due to aliens. But dont let this idea run away with you. The scientists involved are being very skeptical and approaching this the right way. The star is called KIC 8462852, and its one of more than a hundred thousand stars...
  • The strange star that has serious scientists talking about an alien megastructure

    10/15/2015 12:04:31 PM PDT · by grundle · 64 replies
    Washington Post ^ | October 15, 2015 | Sarah Kaplan
    It was kind of unbelievable that it was real data, said Yale University astronomer Tabetha Boyajian. We were scratching our heads. For any idea that came up there was always something that would argue against it. She was talking to the New Scientist about KIC 8462852, a distant star with a very unusual flickering habit. Something was making the star dim drastically every few years, and she wasnt sure what. Boyajian wrote up a paper on possible explanations for the stars bizarre behavior, and it was published recently in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. But she also...