LPI Earth and Space Science Newsletter
Hydrogen Peroxide Could Feed Life on Europa
Jupiter's moon Europa has an ocean of water beneath its icy crust; new observations show that it also has hydrogen peroxide across much of the surface of its leading hemisphere. This compound could potentially provide energy for life. The peroxide is created by interactions of Jupiter's magnetic field with Europa's surface ice.
More Evidence that Mars Lost Its Atmosphere
The Curiosity rover has found strong evidence that Mars lost much of its earlier atmsophere to space, by measuring the ratio of the isotopes of argon in the atmosphere. Lacking a strong magnetic field, Mars' atmosphere was susceptible to erosion from the energetic particles in the solar wind.
Rings Raining on Saturn
Astronomers found charged water particles falling from Saturn's rings into Saturn's atmosphere, falling across larger areas of the planet than previously thought. The rain influences the composition and temperature structures of parts of Saturn's upper atmosphere.
New Type of Gamma Ray Burst Observed
Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) are the most luminous and mysterious explosions in the Universe. The blasts emit surges of gamma rays as well as X-rays, and they produce afterglows that can be observed at optical and radio energies. Three unusually long-lasting GRBs have been observed and scientists think it is associated with the death of a blue supergiant star.
Newly Discovered Planets in the Habitable Zone
NASA's Kepler mission has discovered two new planetary systems that include three super-Earth-size planets in the "habitable zone," the range of distance from a star where the surface temperature of an orbiting planet might be suitable for liquid water. Scientists do not know whether life could exist on the newfound planets, but their discovery signals we are another step closer to finding a world similar to Earth around a star like our sun.
Antimatter Detection Supports Dark Matter Model
A particle detector onboard the International Space Station has counted more than 400,000 positrons, the antimatter equivalent of electrons. The data support a leading model for mysterious dark matter, which holds that dark matter is made of a particle called the neutralino, and that collisions between neutralinos will produce large numbers of high-energy positrons.
Meteoroids Impacting Saturn's Rings
The Cassini mission has provided the first direct evidence of small meteoroids crashing into Saturn's rings and breaking into streams of rubble. The meteoroids Cassini detected range in size from about 1 centimeter to several meters. The new results imply the impact rates for small particles at Saturn are about the same as those at Earth.
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/