Double-barreled sunspot points toward Earth


An “intensitygram” from the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager on NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory shows the double-barreled sunspot active region 1416.

As solar activity builds toward an expected peak in 2013, a double-barreled sunspot has been doubling in size over the past couple of days and now has the potential to shoot significant eruptions in our direction. (video)

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Global showdown over push to abolish leap second

leap second

Leap seconds are necessary to prevent atomic clocks from speeding ahead of solar time.

Governments are headed for a showdown after ten years of talks as they vote this week on an issue that pits technological precision against nature’s whims.  The United States, France and others are pushing for countries at a U.N. telecom meeting to abolish the leap second, which for 40 years has kept computers in sync with the Earth day.

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Lunar scientists’ plan for sustainable and affordable Moon base


Settlement on the Moon

It’s been a dream for a long time to have a human settlement on the Moon, but in this age of budget cuts and indecisive plans for NASA’s future, a Moon base may seem too costly and beyond our reach.  But a noted lunar scientist, Dr. Paul Spudis from the Lunar and Planetary Institute and a colleague, Tony Lavoie from the Marshall Space Flight Center, have come up with a plan for building a lunar settlement that is not only affordable but sustainable. It creates a Moon base along with a type of ‘transcontinental railroad’ in space which opens up cislunar space – the area between Earth and the Moon – for development.


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Man-mad world – diagrams show how technology has taken over Earth


Global map showing major road and rail networks over land, along with transmission line and underwater cable data superimposed over satellite images of cities illuminated at night

The images show silvery threads stretching around the dark globe that create a dramatic spider’s web showing the patterns of our global sprawl. (Pics)


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Earth’s ‘missing’ heat may be hiding deep in oceans


The world temperature should have risen more than it did but where was the heat going?

The mystery of Earth’s missing heat may have been solved: it could lurk deep in oceans, temporarily masking the climate-warming effects of greenhouse gas emissions, researchers reported on Sunday.


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Space junk at a ‘tipping point’: study

space junk

Space junk: a conceptual artwork representing defunct satellites, failed missions, and shrapnel orbiting Earth.

“A tipping point” for collisions has been reached with the amount of debris orbiting the Earth, which would in turn generate more of the debris that threatens astronauts and satellites, according to a U.S. study released on Thursday.


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90% of plant and animal species on Earth not yet discovered


There are approximately 8.7 million different types of plant and animal on Earth.

About 90% of the plant and animal species on Earth have yet to be discovered or classified according to scientists.  Earth is estimated to be home to just under 9 million species, a study says.


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World’s oldest fossils could give clues about life on Mars

oldest fossils

This cluster of cells is one example of the spheroidal and ellipsoidal microfossils found at the 3.4-billion-year-old.

Scientists say life thrived on Earth 3.4 billion years ago even though the world still had no oxygen.  But now they say they have the world’s oldest fossils to prove it.


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