Spaceship Earth

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    Despite its magnetic field, Earth is losing its atmosphere to space at about the same rate as planets that lack this protective barrier against the solar wind. Scientists now are beginning to question whether magnetic fields really are vital to helping a planet hold
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    Special cameras on the IBEX spacecraft have snapped their first pictures of the complex interactions between space weather and Earth's magnetic field. The new data could help astrobiologists understand the links between the space environment and Earth's habitability.
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    Recent data from the Spitzer Space Telescope has helped scientist determine what the 'dust tail' of Earth looks like. The finding could help astrobiologists search for Earth-like planets because similar dust tails trailing behind extrasolar planets might actually be easier to spot than the planets
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    There are many factors influencing the Earth's greenhouse effect, but a new study indicates that global temperature ultimately depends on atmospheric level of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide may also hold secrets about the climate history of Mars.
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    When researchers found an unusual linkage between solar flares and the inner life of radioactive elements on Earth, it touched off a scientific detective investigation that could end up protecting the lives of space-walking astronauts and maybe rewriting some of the assumptions of physics.
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    "The thermosphere", the layer of Earth's atmosphere that meets space, recently collapsed and is now rebounding again...and we don't know why. The thermosphere is important because it shields us from the Sun's Extreme Ultraviolet Photons.
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    Water is essential for life as we know it, and some scientists believe that the water on Earth was delivered by comets after the planet's formation. Now, a new study of silver in meteorites and Earth rocks tells a different story.
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  • Attack of the Killer Electrons
    The European Cluster mission has provided new information about the energetic particles trapped in Earth's radiation belt. These dangerous electrons from solar storms can be harmful for satellites and astronauts in orbit. Understanding their properties will help make future missions more safe.
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    Scientists have discovered that the Earth's magnetic field 3.5 billion years ago was only half as strong as it is today. This could have had profound implications for the evolution of the biosphere, which would have been bathed in higher levels of intense solar radiation.
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    Life may have been significantly affected in the past by a cosmic ray blast, but researchers are still looking for the smoking gun.
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    If a star located light-years away explodes, it could take out life on Earth. A group of researchers previously proposed that this might explain a mass extinction event millions of years ago. A follow-up project is now trying to beef up the case.
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  • The Eye of Space Storms
    NASA's THEMIS mission has been used to pinpoint the impact epicenter of an Earth-bound space storm, providing advance warning of its arrival. Storms such as this can dump large amounts of power into the Earth's atmosphere, causing beautiful auroras. However, space storms also have the
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  • The Day the Sun Brought Darkness
    Twenty years ago, astronomers witnessed a powerful explosion on the sun. Shortly after, radio signals on Earth were jammed, satellites tumbled out of control and the entire Quebec power grid went down. The event showcased the powerful and immediate affects that the sun can have
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  • Earth’s Leaky Atmosphere
    Using satellite observations, scientists have discovered why the Earth is constantly leaking oxygen into space. The finding provides insight into the mechanisms behind oxygen loss on our planet.
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  • Recycling a Solar Satellite
    NASA has extended the SORCE satellite mission until 2012. The satellite will now be able help scientists resolve predictions about the upcoming solar cycle peak and it's influence on Earth's climate.
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