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Mashable

Netflix trailer for sci-fi ‘The Midnight Sky’ sees George Clooney trying to warn astronauts away from Earth

Netflix’s new George Clooney-directed, post-apocalyptic sci-fi has a trailer and it looks like Earth is in a pretty bad way.  Adapted from Lily Brooks-Dalton’s novel Good Morning, Midnight by The Revenant writer Mark L. Smith, the film follows a well-bearded Clooney as Augustine, a lone scientist in the Arctic who is attempting to stop a group of astronauts from returning to Earth after a mission. Why? A global disaster has happened and the conditions on Earth seem to be unstable. But no one seems to be able to make contact.  The film also stars Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Kyle Chandler, Demián Bichir, and Tiffany Boone. The Midnight Sky lands on Netflix Dec. 23. Source linkContinue readingNetflix trailer for sci-fi ‘The Midnight Sky’ sees George Clooney trying to warn astronauts away from Earth

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The Next Web

Why the moon’s early magnetic field might be responsible for life on earth

The habitability of a planet depends on many factors. One is the existence of a strong and long-lived magnetic field. These fields are generated thousands of kilometers below the planet’s surface in its liquid core and extend far into space – shielding the atmosphere from harmful solar radiation. Without a strong magnetic field, a planet struggles to hang on to a breathable atmosphere – which is bad news for life as we know it. A new study, published in Science Advances, suggests that the Moon’s now extinct magnetic field may have helped protect our planet’s atmosphere as life was forming around 4 billion years ago. Today, Earth has a strong global magnetic field that protects the atmosphere and low-orbiting satellites from harsh solar radiation. In contrast, the Moon does not possess either a breathable atmosphere or a global magnetic field. Global magnetic fields are generated by the motion of molten iron in the cores of planets and moons. Keeping the fluid moving requires energy, such as heat trapped within the core. When there is insufficient energy, the field dies. Without a global magnetic field, the charged particles of the solar wind (radiation from the Sun) passing close to a planet generate electric fields that can accelerate charged atoms, known as ions, out of the atmosphere. This process is happening today on Mars and it is losing oxygen as a result – something that has been directly measured by the Mars atmosphere and volatile evolution (Maven) mission. The solar wind can…Continue readingWhy the moon’s early magnetic field might be responsible for life on earth

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The Next Web

24 planets that are warmer, wetter, and better for life than Earth

Where to look? Where to look? An artist’s concept of the first terrestrial planet found by the Kepler observatory orbiting in the habitable zone around its star, where temperatures are “just right” for liquid water — and perhaps, life — to form. Image credit: NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech Researchers examined data from terrestrial exoplanets orbiting in the habitable zone around their stars, where temperatures allow liquid water to pool on their surface. Just a small percentage of the 4,500 exoplanets now known to orbit other stars are known to have conditions relatively friendly to life. “Most important from the perspective of an observer searching for extrasolar life is that such a search might be executed most effectively with a focus on superhabitable planets instead of Earth-like planets. We argue that there could be regions of astrophysical parameter space of star-planet systems that could allow for planets to be even better for life than our Earth,” researchers describe in an article published in the journal Astrobiology. Each of the planetary systems examined in this new study sit more than 100 light years from our family of planets. It took nearly four billion years for complex lifeforms to develop, suggesting that longer-lived stars may be more likely to host planets awash in life. The Sun, and other G-type stars like it, live for about 10 billion years. This study also examined planets abound cooler, less-massive K-type stars, which exist for between 20 and 70 billion years, allowing plenty of time to life to develop. However, extremely old…Continue reading24 planets that are warmer, wetter, and better for life than Earth

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The Next Web

How data from Google Earth helps us understand the world, and ourselves

Rebecca Moore will be joining us during our TNW 2020 conference, speaking about Google Earth, geographical data, and how it leads to climate awareness. If you want to know more, you can check out her session “Turning geographical data into climate action and awareness.” Find out more information about the different conference tracks here. We all know the world is changing, at least in the abstract. But it’s hard to visualize because we have such a limited view of it in our day-to-day lives. We don’t see how mountains, oceans, and forests change over the course of decades because our human perspective is so miniscule. It’s thanks to the likes of Google Earth and satellite imagery that we can even properly see the world in its scope. And Google’s using those decades of visuals to show you exactly how Earth changes — as that’s how we know exactly what kind of impact those changes are having on us, and vice versa. Rebecca Moore, the director of Google Earth and Google Earth Engine, told TNW that the problem isn’t a lack of data. As she puts it, there’s a flood of data, but it’s not actionable. “It’s overwhelming,” she said. But Google Earth Insights is helping break that down into data we can actually use. Google Earth was recently used to provide useful information about the California wildfires, with data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s GOES satellites being processed by Earth Engine and displayed on both Google Maps and…Continue readingHow data from Google Earth helps us understand the world, and ourselves

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The Next Web

The Moon’s surface is rusting — and Earth may be to blame

Oh, hiding away, eh? The solar wind delivers hydrogen, usually discouraging the oxidation of iron into hematite on the lunar surface. However, each full moon finds our planetary companion behind the Earth, where it is protected from the solar wind. These monthly reprieves from the bombardment of hydrogen creates periodic times when oxygen can react with iron, producing hematite, researchers theorized. “The lack of atmosphere on the Moon allows solar wind (most of which is [hydrogen]) to reach the lunar surface and be implanted into the top tens to hundreds of nanometers of layer of surface grains,” researchers describe in an article published in the journal Science Advances. When oxidation nibbles more slowly — more delicately, like a tortoise — at the world around us, without a flame, we call it rust and we sometimes scarcely notice as it goes about its business consuming everything from hairpins to whole civilizations. ― Alan Bradley, A Red Herring Without Mustard The Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft undergoing testing prior to launch. Image credit: ISRO The other critical ingredient for rust is water. And, although the Moon possesses water ice at its poles, these hematite deposits were separated from these lunar glaciers. Investigators suggest water on the surface of the Moon may be kicked up by fast-moving dust particles traveling through space. When this occurs when the Moon is shielded by Earth, hematite could, potentially, form. This new study might also suggest how water found on other small, airless bodies like asteroids may have been created. “It could be that…Continue readingThe Moon’s surface is rusting — and Earth may be to blame

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The Verge

Sorry but NASA says this small asteroid doesn’t pose a threat to Earth before Election Day

Headlines abound this week about an asteroid heading toward Earth at perhaps the most opportune time during a terrible year: November 2nd, the day before the presidential election. It sounds too good to be true — an asteroid to wipe us all out before what will surely be a very contentious election process — and that’s because it is. This so-called “dangerous” asteroid, dubbed 2018VP1, has a 0.41 percent chance of crossing paths with Earth on November 2nd and entering our atmosphere — incredibly low odds. And even if it did take a turn and hit us, no one would be in danger. The asteroid is a measly 2 meters, or 6.5 feet, across, making it slightly smaller than a compact Smart car. If it did hit our atmosphere, it would completely disintegrate up above us and pose no threat to anyone below. For reference, much larger satellites and space debris enter our atmosphere from time to time, burning up above us without affecting anyone on the ground. The asteroid is a measly 2 meters, or 6.5 feet, across I understand it’s 2020, the year of just incredibly bad odds, so it would be very poetic for an asteroid to threaten Earth before Election Day. But the thing is, asteroids whiz by Earth all the time, sometimes getting close to us and sometimes not. In fact, another small asteroid between 10 to 20 feet across made the closest approach to Earth ever recorded by a known near-Earth asteroid on August…Continue readingSorry but NASA says this small asteroid doesn’t pose a threat to Earth before Election Day

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Mashable

Watch SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule ferry NASA astronauts back to Earth

Back at the end of May, SpaceX became to launch NASA astronauts into space. Now, astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are back home. Read more… More about Nasa, Spacex, Astronauts, Dragon Capsule, and Science Source linkContinue readingWatch SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule ferry NASA astronauts back to Earth

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Mashable

David Attenborough’s ‘Planet Earth’ is getting rebooted with rapper Dave and Hans Zimmer

It’s the collaboration we never knew we needed: Sir David Attenborough, British rapper Dave, and composer Hans Zimmer, all joining forces for a nature documentary special. Planet Earth: A Celebration will use some of the many memorable moments from Planet Earth II and Blue Planet II and combine them with new narration from Attenborough and some new compositions from Zimmer. Dave will feature on the piano, playing alongside the BBC Concert Orchestra’s string section. There’ll be no new footage, exactly, but we will be getting more rumbling goodness from Attenborough and plenty of fairly intense, dramatic music to go along with such classic scenes as the great iguana snake chase of 2016. Following the announcement, Zimmer shared a clip from the special on Twitter. “Working with David on so many of his magnificent programs celebrating nature and our planet has been a joy for me,” Zimmer, who composed music for the likes of Planet Earth II, Blue Planet II, and Seven Worlds, One Planet, said in a press statement. “I am constantly inspired by what he is able to capture, and the collection of sequences featured in Planet Earth: A Celebration is truly special.” Dave, meanwhile, said he’s always been a fan of powerful natural history documentaries. “This is a programme where nature and music come together, so it was only right that I lent my talent, my time, and my attention to this project,” he said. “It was a pleasure to work alongside Sir David Attenborough and Hans Zimmer.”…Continue readingDavid Attenborough’s ‘Planet Earth’ is getting rebooted with rapper Dave and Hans Zimmer

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TechCrunch

Watch SpaceX’s Crew Dragon splash down in the Atlantic Ocean live as astronauts return to Earth – TechCrunch

SpaceX and NASA are getting ready to complete their most important joint mission to date – Crew Dragon Demo-2, which is the culmination of the partners’ work on their Commercial Crew program designed to certify a SpaceX spacecraft for regular human spaceflight operations. NASA astronauts are already on board Crew Dragon making their way back to Earth during a multi-hour descent, and later on Sunday will be splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida. Behnken and Hurley undocked from the International Space Station on Saturday, August 1 at just after 7:30 PM EDT, with the Crew Dragon capsule handling all of the maneuvers since in a fully automated fashion, just like it’s designed to do. SpaceX built Crew Dragon to be fully automated both during takeoff and the return to Earth and landing portion of any trip to the ISS, and in fact have previously flown a successful uncrewed version of the mission that’s happening now with astronauts on board. To conclude Demo-2, Behnken and Hurley are currently scheduled to splash down in the Gulf of Mexico at 2:48 PM EDT (11:48 AM PDT), where they’ll be met and recovered by a SpaceX crew. This will be a historic first for a commercial spacecraft, capping a mission of historic first for private human spaceflight that began with the successful launch of Crew Dragon ‘Endeavour’ on May 30. Once Dragon enters the atmosphere, it’ll deploy its parachutes, which will slow it until it’s traveling at a speed…Continue readingWatch SpaceX’s Crew Dragon splash down in the Atlantic Ocean live as astronauts return to Earth – TechCrunch

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The Verge

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon successfully returns NASA astronauts back to Earth

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley safely returned to Earth inside SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule this afternoon, bringing their historic two-month mission at the International Space Station to an end. The spacecraft carrying the two astronauts splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Florida at 2:48PM ET, where recovery boats were waiting nearby to receive the crew. With this landing, the Crew Dragon has now successfully completed its first-ever passenger flight to orbit. The mission began on May 30th, when Behnken and Hurley both launched inside the capsule from Cape Canaveral, Florida and then docked with the space station a day later. Called Demon-2 or DM-2, the mission was meant to prove out all of the Crew Dragon’s biggest capabilities — by safely transporting people to space and getting them to the ISS. Now SpaceX has proved that the capsule can safely bring people home, too. the Crew Dragon has now successfully completed its first ever passenger flight to orbit The mission isn’t quite over yet, as SpaceX recovery boats filled with teams of people are working to hoist the Crew Dragon out of the water. Then Behnken and Hurley can exit the capsule and breathe fresh air again. But the riskiest part of the landing is complete, and that ultimately paves the way for Crew Dragon to start regularly carrying astronauts to space in the future. SpaceX developed the Crew Dragon as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, an initiative that tasked private…Continue readingSpaceX’s Crew Dragon successfully returns NASA astronauts back to Earth