Glacier break creates ice island twice size of Manhattan

ScienceDaily: Earth Science News


The electric atmosphere: Plasma is next NASA science target

Posted: 17 Jul 2012 03:34 PM PDT

Two giant donuts of this plasma surround Earth, trapped within a region known as the Van Allen Radiation Belts. The belts lie close to Earth, sandwiched between satellites in geostationary orbit above and satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) are generally below the belts. A new NASA mission called the Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP), due to launch in August 2012, will improve our understanding of what makes plasma move in and out of these electrified belts wrapped around our planet.

Why is Earth so dry? Planet formed from rocky debris in hotter region, inside of solar system’s ‘snow line’

Posted: 17 Jul 2012 10:12 AM PDT

A new analysis of the common accretion-disk model explaining how planets form in a debris disk around our Sun uncovered a possible reason for Earth’s comparative dryness. The study found that our planet formed from rocky debris in a dry, hotter region, inside of the so-called “snow line.” The snow line in our solar system currently lies in the middle of the asteroid belt, a reservoir of rubble between Mars and Jupiter; beyond this point, the Sun’s light is too weak to melt the icy debris left over from the protoplanetary disk. Previous accretion-disk models suggested that the snow line was much closer to the Sun 4.5 billion years ago, when Earth formed.

NASA’s Landsat Data Continuity Mission becomes an observatory

Posted: 17 Jul 2012 07:37 AM PDT

Engineers at Orbital Sciences Corporation, Gilbert, Ariz., have installed the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) instrument back onto to the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) spacecraft. With both the Operational Land Imager (OLI) and TIRS instruments now on the spacecraft, LDCM is a complete observatory.

Glacier break creates ice island twice size of Manhattan

Posted: 17 Jul 2012 07:00 AM PDT

An ice island twice the size of Manhattan has broken off from Greenland’s Petermann Glacier, according to researchers. This marks the second massive break in two years.

What we know and don’t know about Earth’s missing biodiversity

Posted: 17 Jul 2012 05:48 AM PDT

Most of the world’s species are still unknown to science although many researchers grappled to address the question of how many species there are on Earth over the recent decades. Estimates of non-microbial diversity on Earth provided by researchers range from 2 million to over 50 million species, with great uncertainties in numbers of insects, fungi, nematodes, and deep-sea organisms.
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