LPI Earth and Space Science Newsletter
Bigger Planets May Be Better for Life?
Alien planets that are slightly bigger than Earth could be more life-friendly than exoplanets closer to our own size, a new study implies. These so-called "super-Earths" that are about two to three times that of our own planet could be "superhabitable" due to the extended period of plate tectonics and thick atmospheres.
New Crater on Mars
Scientists are using the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to observe changes on the Red Planet, such as a retatively new 30-meter-wide crater; the impact and resulting explosion threw debris as far as 15 kilometers in distance. Before and after pictures of this region show the new impact crater formed between July 2010 and May 2012. With data from MRO, scientists estimate Mars receives about 200 impacts per year.
Climate Warming Trend Sustained in 2013
NASA scientists say 2013 tied with 2009 and 2006 for the seventh warmest year since 1880, continuing a long-term trend of rising global temperatures. With the exception of 1998, the 10 warmest years in the 134-year record all have occurred since 2000, with 2010 and 2005 ranking as the warmest years on record.
Water Detected on Dwarf Planet Ceres
Scientists using the Herschel space observatory have made the first definitive detection of water vapor on the largest object in the asteroid belt, dwarf planet Ceres. The water vapour appeared periodically, suggesting that plumes shoot up from Ceres when portions of its icy surface warm slightly. NASA's Dawn mission will take a close look at Ceres in 2015.
5 NASA Earth Science Missions in 2014
For the first time in more than a decade, five NASA Earth science missions will be launched into space in the same year, opening new and improved remote eyes to monitor our changing planet. The five launches, including two to the International Space Station, are part of an active year for NASA Earth science researchers, who also will conduct airborne campaigns to the poles and hurricanes, develop advanced sensor technologies, and use satellite data and analytical tools to improve natural hazard and climate change preparedness.
Potential ‘Goldilocks’ Planet Found
A new-found planet is in a "just-right" location around its star where liquid water could possibly exist on the planet’s surface. A team of international astronomers have discovered a potentially habitable super-Earth orbiting a nearby star in a habitable zone, where it isn’t too hot or too cold for liquid water to exist. The team said this discovery demonstrates that habitable planets could form in a greater variety of environments than previously believed.
Meteorites Brought Ammonia to Earth?
Researchers have teased ammonia of a carbon-containing meteorite from Antarctica, and propose that meteorites may have delivered that essential ingredient for life to an early Earth.
Modified from http://www.universetoday.com/83608/meteorites-may-have-delivered-first-ammonia-for-life-on-earth/