Spaceship Earth

  • 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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  • Turning the Lights Off in Alaska
    After some 400 years of relative stability, Earth's North Magnetic Pole has moved nearly 1,100 kilometers out into the Arctic Ocean during the last century and at its present rate could move from northern Canada to Siberia within the next half-century.
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  • Supernova Waves Rolled Over Mammoths
    A distant supernova that exploded 41,000 years ago may have led to the extinction of the mammoth, according to research that will be presented by nuclear scientist Richard Firestone of the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).
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  • Terrestrial Tipping Point
    Scientists have concluded more energy is being absorbed from the sun than emitted back to space, throwing the Earth's energy "out of balance" and warming the globe. Scientists from NASA, Columbia University, New York, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, Calif. used satellites to study
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  • Life At Risk When Star Exploded?
    Scientists at NASA and the University of Kansas say that a mass extinction on Earth hundreds of millions of years ago could have been triggered by a star explosion called a gamma-ray burst. The scientists do not have direct evidence that such a burst activated
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  • Genesis: In the End…
    Counting down the top ten astrobiology stories for 2004 highlights the accomplishments of those exploring Mars, Saturn, comets, and planets beyond Pluto. Number ten in this countdown was the remarkable story of the Genesis mission, the first attempt to capture solar wind and return it
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