The majority of exploration into the presence of water on Mars deals with looking for evidence that there was water on the planet at some point in the past. But NASA JPL has announced they think water may be flowing right this very moment. A combination of salt and iron may be giving this seeping groundwater a natural antifreeze property, and you wouldn’t want to drink it, but still, shit… water on Mars as we speak.
If you want something to keep you up at night, read stuff on the Yellowstone caldera megavolcano and how bad it’s going to be if that thing blows all at once while humans are still on the planet. It would make even the worst volcanic eruptions in human history look like a middle school science fair baking soda volcano. It would even dwarf the destruction and extinction caused by the asteroid that started the decline of the dinosaurs. Now imagine that nightmare scenario amplified by 250%. Because that’s how much bigger the caldera is compared to measurements from even just a few years ago. Chances are good that it won’t explode for tens of thousands of years, but it theoretically could blow at any time, and destroy everything you love.
Sometimes in science, you have to have the mindset of a child. If something is out there to be done or to be tested, sometimes you just have to do it to see what happens. So after a cache of underground water was discovered in Canada last year that had lay undisturbed for 1.5 billion years, Dr. Barbara Sherwood Lollar had to see what it tasted like. For science.
Deep under the ice of Antarctica lies a mountainous land filled with ridges and peaks and valleys, but long, long ago, as Antarctica slid down to the bottom of the globe, all those spaces began filling in with snow and ice. The British Antarctic Survey has more or less completed, giving a peek of the mountains hidden under the frozen surface.
After analyzation of a sample of soil underneath the red dust of Mars, scientists at NASA have confirmed that parts of the red planet might once have been home to all kinds of microbial life in the shallow streams of Mars a long, long, long time ago. The sample is gray clay from what used to be a stream bed, and it’s chock full of all kinds of chemicals from a freshwater environment.
It’s not Atlantis, but scientists have discovered a lost mini-continent in the Indian Ocean that disappeared under the waves around 85 million years ago. The chain of islands, now called Mauritia, was once between the southeast coast of Africa and India.
In another outer space tech first, this past week, the Curiosity rover became the first manmade object to drill into the surface of another world when it drilled out a 2.5” deep circle of exposed bedrock on the Martian surface.
Spiegel has an interactive 360 degree helicopter panorama of a nasty, spewing volcano on the Kamchatka peninsula in Russia. It’s like being there except less lens warping and it probably smells nicer wherever you are.
Now that Curiosity has seen a couple sights and thoroughly tested out much of its equipment, it’s time to get down to serious business. And that serious business is drilling down into the surface of Mars to see what’s under the hood. And since this will be the first time we’ve ever actually drilled down into a rock on the surface of any planet, this could be a really big deal.
While water may not have been as widespread on Mars as some once thought, there is new evidence that some of it was certainly warm enough to have harbored primitive life, so that’s good news.
This is a fascinating read about why Obama has strange swath of strong supporters in the South that happens to exactly mirror the coastline of the southeast corner of America during the Cretaceous era, 129 million years ago. Yes, ancient geology still plays a role in modern American politics.
Italy’s had a long history of putting scientists on trial for incredibly dumb shit. But it’s the 21st century, we should long be over that by now, right? Apparently not. After a deadly earthquake in the city of L’Aquila in 2009, the government blamed a group of geologists, saying they should have more accurately predicted the earthquake. Earlier this week, six of those scientists and a government official were sentenced to five years in jail for manslaughter.