Lunar and Planetary Institute






LPI Earth and Space Science Newsletter

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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.

Possible Detection of Dark Matter Particle
Astronomers are still seeking the source of "dark matter," an invisible mass that has been detected by its gravitational interaction with galaxies and galaxy clusters. Recently, astronomers found variations in a stream of x-rays from the Sun that match what would be expected if axions--a hypothetical dark matter particle--were interacting with Earth's magnetic field. If confirmed, the axion finding would be a huge discovery.