Cassini Spacecraft's Final Flyby This Weekend of Saturn's Titan --Search for "Magic Island"

 

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NASA's Cassini spacecraft will make its final close flyby of Saturn's haze-enshrouded moon Titan this weekend. The flyby marks the mission's final opportunity for up-close observations of the lakes and seas of liquid hydrocarbons that spread across the moon's northern polar region, and the last chance to use its powerful radar to pierce the haze and make detailed images of the surface.

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"Life in the Universe" --World-Renowned Scientists Discuss at Breakthrough Summit --Be There Today Via Facebook Live!

 

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Breakthrough Initiatives is holding its second annual Breakthrough Discuss scientific conference, bringing together leading astronomers, engineers, astrobiologists and astrophysicists to advance discussion surrounding recent discoveries of potentially habitable planets in nearby star systems. The conference will take place on Thursday, April 20 and today, Friday, April 21, at Stanford University.

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2020 Mars Mission: Map of Landing Site High on NASA's List --"Reveals a Time of Profound Environmental Change on Mars"

 

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"We know that these environments existed near this major pivot point in Mars history, and in mapping their context we know what came first, what came next and what came last," said ack Mustard, a professor at Brown University. "So now if we're able to go there with a rover, we can sample rock on either side of that pivot point, which could help us understand the changes that occurred at that time, and test different hypotheses for the possibility of past life."

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EcoAlert: Climate Scientists Provide Photographs of Melting Glaciers Around the World --100 Years Ago vs Today

 


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"We have unretouched photographic evidence of glaciers melting all around the globe," said Gregory Baker, adjunct professor of geology at the University of Kansas, whose research career centers on geophysical imaging of Earth's subsurface and geoscience education. "That includes the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica -- they're reduced in size. These aren't fancy computer models or satellite images where you'd have to make all kinds of corrections for the atmosphere. These are simply photos, some taken up to 100 years ago, and my co-authors went back and reacquired photos at many of these locations. So it's just straightforward proof of large-scale ice loss around the globe."

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The Mystery of the Milky Way --WATCH Today's 'Galaxy' Stream

 

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"The Mystery of the Milky Way," chronicles the history of telescopes, from Galileo's refractor to Newton's reflector and beyond. It looks at key discoveries, such as those made by William Herschel and his sister Caroline, including the discovery of the planet Uranus. The documentary also looks at recent missions: the voyage of the Cassini spacecraft to Saturn, the Kepler telescope's search for planets beyond our solar system, and the Herschel Space Observatory's examination of the Milky Way, which is so large that it would take 100,000 years traveling at the speed of light to cross from one edge to the other.

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Alien Water Worlds --"Most Habitable Planets May Have Oceans Spanning 90% of Their Surface"

 

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When it comes to exploring exoplanets, it may be wise to take a snorkel along. A new study, published in a paper in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, has used a statistical model to predict that most habitable planets may be dominated by oceans spanning over 90% of their surface area.

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High-Mass Stars "Reveal Rate Black Holes, Neutron Stars and Supernovae Evolved in the Cosmos"

 

 

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The Large Magellenic Cloud embodies a phase of the universe prior to the Milky Way when the largest number of high-mass stars were formed. For this reason, its metallicity - the proportion of its matter made up of chemical elements different from hydrogen and helium, the primordial atoms that gave rise to the first stars - is only half that of the binaries found in the Milky Way, whose metallicity is very close to the Sun's.

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Earth-Impacting Asteroids --For the 1st Time, Scientists Rank Seven Most Threatening Effects

 

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Earth is struck by an asteroid 60 meters (more than 190 feet) wide approximately once every 1500 years, whereas an asteroid 400 meters (more than 1,300 feet) across is likely to strike the planet every 100,000 years. If an asteroid struck Earth, which of its effects--scorching heat, flying debris, towering tsunamis--would claim the most lives?

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"Beyond Carbon" --Life in the Universe (WATCH Today's 'Galaxy' Stream)

 

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we normally think of as 'life' is based on chains of carbon atoms, with a few other atoms, such as nitrogen or phosphorous, Stephen Hawking observed in his famous lecture, Life in the Universe.  We can imagine that one might have life with some other chemical basis, such as silicon, "but carbon seems the most favorable case, because it has the richest chemistry."

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Fabric of the Cosmos --"Much of What We Think About the Universe is Wrong" (WATCH Documentary)

 

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Episode One of The Fabric of the Cosmos, a four-hour series based on the book by renowned physicist Brian Greene, professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University and the co-founder of the World Science Festival, who takes us to the frontiers of physics to see how scientists are piecing together the most complete picture yet of space, time, and the universe.

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