Jupiter Moon Europa Ocean May Be Too Acidic for Life

According to researchers the ocean underneath the icy shell of Jupiter’s moon Europa might be too acidic to support life, due to compounds that may regularly migrate downward from its surface. Scientists believe that Europa, which is roughly the size of Earth’s moon, possesses an ocean perhaps 100 miles deep (160 kilometers). This ocean is overlain by an icy crust of unknown thickness, although some estimates are that it could be only a few miles thick.

European Spacecraft Spotted Signs of Ancient Ocean on Mars

Accroding to researchers the European Space Agency’s Mars Express spacecraft detected sediments on Mars’ northern plains that are reminiscent of an ocean floor, in a region that has also previously been identified as the site of ancient Martian shorelines. Mars Express uses a radar instrument, called MARSIS, to probe beneath the Martian surface and search for liquid and soliMARSISd water in the upper portions of the planet’s crust. The researchers analyzed more than two years of MARSIS data and found that the northern plains of Mars are covered in low-density material that suggests the region may have been an ancient Martian ocean.

Cause of Little Ice Age May Be Volcanoes

Accoriding to new study a mysterious, centuries-long cool spell, dubbed the Little Ice Age, appears to have been caused by a series of volcanic eruptions and sustained by sea ice. The research, which looked at chemical clues preserved in Arctic vegetation as well as other data, also pinpointed the start of the Little Ice Age to the end of the 13th century. During the cool spell, which lasted into the late 19th century, advancing glaciers destroyed northern European towns and froze the Thames River in London and canals in the Netherlands, places that are now ice-free. There is also evidence it affected other continents. The cause appears to have been massive tropical volcanic eruptions, which spewed tiny particles called aerosols into the atmosphere.

NASA New Satellite Captures Blue Marble Earth Image

Suomi NPP, NASA’s newest Earth-watching satellite, has taken a high resolution image of Earth, one of the most beautiful such images ever created. The satellite, named after the “father of satellite meteorology,” Verner E. Suomi, is designed to create fabulous images of Earth, monitor for natural disasters and improve weather forecasts as well as our understanding of long-term climate changes. The image is a composite, created using a number of swaths of the Earth’s surface taken on January 4, 2012. It echoes the legendary “Blue Marble” photograph, taken by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft on December 7, 1972.

Russian Mars Probe Crashes Into Pacific Ocean

According to Ria Novosti news agency after languishing in Earth orbit for more than two months, the 14.5-ton Phobos-Grunt spacecraft fell at around 12:45 p.m. EST (1745 GMT) on January 15, apparently slamming into the atmosphere over a stretch of the southern Pacific off the coast of Chile. As reported Ria Novosti Alexei Zolotukhin, an official with Russia’s Defense Ministry say that spacecraft crashed about 776 miles (1,250 kilometers) west of the island of Wellington. Before the crash, Russia’s Federal Space Agency, known as Roscosmos, released a map that estimated a potential crash zone in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean sometime between 12:50 p.m. and 1:34 p.m. EST (1750-1834 GMT) on Sunday.

Deep Ocean Bacteria Make Fuel

Pamela Silver, a Harvard scientist, is working on deriving biofuel from the deep-ocean extremophiles bacteria. U.S. Department of Energy is funding Pamela Silver’s team to find out bacteria, other than the known e-coli, yeast, or even photosynthetic bacteria, which can be used for producing biofuel.

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