Spaceship Earth

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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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  • Setting Stars Reveal Secrets
    Watching stars set behind a planet from space can reveal unique details about the planet's atmosphere. Researchers at ESA are using orbiting spacecraft to learn about the atmospheres of Earth, Mars and Venus.
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  • Ballooning to the Sun
    A solar telescope has been successfully launched to 120,000 feet using a balloon larger than a Boeing 747. The technology will be used in 2009 to launch polar balloon flights that will view details of the Sun's surface and collect data concerning the Sun's influence
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  • Cluster Maps Convection
    By mapping convection cells in Earth's magnetic field for the first time, scientists have shown that the behavior of the cells is linked to solar activity. The activity of our Sun has profound implications for the habitability of Earth, and studying this connection can help
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  • Argon Provides Atmospheric Clues
    New studies on how gases are expelled from the Earth may change the way scientists view atmospheric formation on the Earth, Mars and Venus. Studying the dynamics of Earth's atmosphere is essential in understanding what makes our planet habitable today.
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  • Sunspots Bring Rain?
    Scientists have revealed a connection between solar activity and periods of heavy rain in East Africa. The findings show one way in which changes in the Solar System environment can directly affect life on Earth.
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  • Can a Biosphere Be Selfish?
    In this book review of "Scientists Debate Gaia," Charley Lineweaver discusses what astrobiology and the Gaia hypothesis have in common. Both are trying to recognize new forms of life by seeking universal connections between different kinds of systems.
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  • Earth’s Magnetic Cocoon
    Researchers have found that the Earth's magnetic field was nearly as strong 3.2 billion years ago as it is today, which suggests that even in its earliest stages the Earth was protected from the solar wind. The findings of are immense interest to astrobiologists.
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  • James Van Allen and Astrobiology
    In a lifetime devoted to instrumentation and rocket science, James Van Allen made immense contributions to the exploration of the space environment and its astrobiological potential.
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  • Weather Wobbles
    New technologies are enabling scientists to determine precisely the extent and causes of Earth's short-term wobbling. Like a spinning top, Earth wobbles as it rotates on its axis. In fact, it displays many different wobbling motions, ranging in period from a few minutes to billions
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  • The Song of Killer Electrons
    ESA's Cluster mission has revealed a new creation mechanism of 'killer electrons' - highly energetic electrons that are responsible for damaging satellites and posing a serious hazard to astronauts.
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