Lunar and Planetary Institute

LPI Earth and Space Science Newsletter

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Super-Earths Have Long-Lasting Oceans
New research suggests that planets 2 to 4 times more massive than Earth are better at establishing and maintaining oceans than our own Earth.

Predictions of More Planets in Our Solar System
A team of astronomers predicts that at least two undiscovered planets must exist beyond Neptune and Pluto to explain the orbital behavior of some of the small distant icy objects orbiting our Sun.

Redefining Galaxies
A NASA experiment has detected a surprising amount of infrared light between galaxies, which is thought to be from orphaned stars flung out of galaxies. The findings redefine what scientists think of as galaxies. Galaxies may not have a set boundary of stars, but instead stretch out to great distances, forming a vast, interconnected sea of stars.

Kepler Marks 1,000th Exoplanet Discovery, Uncovers More Small Worlds in Habitable Zones
NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope continuously monitored more than 150,000 stars beyond our solar system, and to date has offered scientists an assortment of more than 4,000 candidate planets for further study -- the 1,000th of which was recently verified.

NASA, NOAA Find 2014 Warmest Year in Modern Record
The year 2014 ranks as Earth’s warmest since 1880, according to two separate analyses by NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists. The 10 warmest years in the instrumental record, with the exception of 1998, have now occurred since 2000. This trend continues a long-term warming of the planet, according to an analysis of surface temperature measurements by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) in New York.
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Young Volcanoes on the Moon
The Moon might not be as dead as it looks. Researchers using NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter have found signs of geologically-recent volcanic eruptions dotting the lunar landscape.

Puzzling Polar Sea Ice
Arctic sea ice extent is still below normal, continuing a years-long downward trend, covering less and less of the north polar seas with a frozen crust. Scientists have also found that while Arctic sea ice was melting, Antarctic sea ice was at an all-time high. Climate scientists are examining this mystery to determine whether the increased sea ice is due to increased winds freezing more water, more glacier melt producing more sea ice, changes in snowfall, or other processes.

Rosetta Reignites Debate over Earth's Oceans
Many scientists have suspected that Earth's water originated in ancient impacts of comets and asteroids. However, new data from the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft indicate that terrestrial water did not come from comets like 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.