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North Atlantic Corals Could Lead to Better Understanding of the Nature of Climate Change
11/10/2005

North Atlantic Corals Could Lead to Better Understanding of the Nature of Climate Change

Robert Tindol
The deep-sea corals of the North Atlantic are now recognized as "archives" of Earth's climatic past. Not only are they sensitive to changes in the mineral content of the water during their 100-year lifetimes, but they can also be dated very accurately.
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Geologists Uncover New Evidence About the Rise of Oxygen
10/24/2005

Geologists Uncover New Evidence About the Rise of Oxygen

Robert Tindol
Scientists believe that oxygen first showed up in the atmosphere about 2.7 billion years ago. They think it was put there by a one-celled organism called "cyanobacteria," which had recently become the first living thing on Earth to make oxygen from water and sunlight.
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Watson Lecture: Marvelous Mars Rovers
10/21/2005

Watson Lecture: Marvelous Mars Rovers

Kathy Svitil
Spirit and Opportunity, the unflappable exploration rovers, have each spent over 600 days trekking across the surface of Mars--more than 500 days longer than either was expected to last. "The rovers have done much more than we ever hoped they would," says geologist Joy A. Crisp of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, the lead scientist for the rover project at JPL. "Although they've passed their warranty, Spirit and Opportunity could keep on going for years," Crisp says.
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Cracks or Cryovolcanoes? Surface Geology Creates Clouds on Titan
10/20/2005

Cracks or Cryovolcanoes? Surface Geology Creates Clouds on Titan

Kathy Svitil
Like the little engine that could, geologic activity on the surface of Saturn's moon Titan-maybe outgassing cracks and perhaps icy cryovolcanoes-is belching puffs of methane gas into the atmosphere of the moon, creating clouds.
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Tenth Planet Has a Moon
09/30/2005

Tenth Planet Has a Moon

Kathy Svitil

The newly discovered 10th planet, 2003 UB313, is looking more and more like one of the solar system's major players. It has the heft of a real planet (latest estimates put it at about 20 percent larger than Pluto), a catchy code name (Xena, after the TV warrior princess), and a Guinness Book-ish record of its own (at about 97 astronomical units-or 9 billion miles from the sun-it is the solar system's farthest detected object). And, astronomers from the California Institute of Technology and their colleagues have now discovered, it has a moon.

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Work Continues on the Solar System's Three Recently Discovered Objects
09/08/2005

Work Continues on the Solar System's Three Recently Discovered Objects

Robert Tindol

When planetary scientists announced on July 29 that they had discovered a new planet larger than Pluto, the news overshadowed the two other objects the group had also found. But all three objects are odd additions to the solar system, and as such could revolutionize our understanding of how our part of the celestial neighborhood evolved.

Evolutionary Accident Probably Caused The Worst Snowball Earth Episode, Study Shows
08/01/2005

Evolutionary Accident Probably Caused The Worst Snowball Earth Episode, Study Shows

Robert Tindol

For several years geologists have been gathering evidence indicating that Earth has gone into a deep freeze on several occasions, with ice covering even the equator and with potentially devastating consequences for life. The theory, known as "Snowball Earth," has been lacking a good explanation for what triggered the global glaciations.

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Planetary Scientists Discover Tenth Planet
07/29/2005

Planetary Scientists Discover Tenth Planet

A planet larger than Pluto has been discovered in the outlying regions of the solar system with the Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar Observatory, California Institute of Technology planetary scientist Mike Brown announced today.
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KamLAND Detector Provides New Way to Study Heat from Radioactive Materials Within Earth
07/27/2005

KamLAND Detector Provides New Way to Study Heat from Radioactive Materials Within Earth

Robert Tindol
Much of the heat within our planet is caused by the radioactive decay of the elements uranium and thorium. Now, an international team of particle physicists using a special detector in Japan has demonstrated a novel method of measuring that radioactive heat.
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Mars Has Been in the Deep Freeze for the Past Four Billion Years, Study Shows
07/21/2005

Mars Has Been in the Deep Freeze for the Past Four Billion Years, Study Shows

Robert Tindol
The current mean temperature on the equator of Mars is a blustery 69 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Scientists have long thought that the Red Planet was once temperate enough for water to have existed on the surface, and for life to possibly have evolved. But a new study by Caltech and MIT scientists gives this idea the cold shoulder.
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