In his 1864 science fiction novel, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Jules Verne wrote: "Who in his wildest dreams could have imagined that, beneath the crust of our Earth, there could exist a real ocean ... a sea that has given shelter to species unknown?" Scientists have found that rocks beneath the seafloor are teeming with microbial life.
Geoengineering -- the deliberate effort to manipulate the Earth’s climate in an attempt to offset, delay, or slow global warming -- has slowly transformed from a pie-in-the-sky idea to a serious concept that may well be attempted one day. A wide variety of schemes have been proposed for how we might cool the Earth, but many of these would require the development of technologies far beyond our current capability.
In order to make accurate weather predictions, NOAA needs weather satellites in orbit to peer down at Earth. Until recently, the agency was making do with very old hardware from the 1990s, but it has since started launching the much improved GOES-R satellites. GOES-17 launched in March of this year, and it sent back a few images shortly after that.
If astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell's calculations are correct, the cosmic boundary where the laws of airspace suddenly give way to the laws of orbital space might be a lot closer than we think -- a full 12 miles closer than previous estimates suggest.
GOES-17 took this stunning, full-disk snapshot of Earth’s Western Hemisphere from its checkout position at 12:00 p.m. EDT on May 20, 2018, using the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) instrument. GOES-17 observes Earth from an equatorial vantage point approximately 22,300 miles above the surface.
The 1990s era hardware wasn’t up to the task of gathering the data scientists want, but the agency deployed the first of its new generation GOES-R satellites in 2016. Earlier this year, a second GOES satellite went into orbit. It has just sent back its first stunning images of Earth, but there are some glitches that keep the system for working at full capacity.
The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a collection of satellites, each containing a powerful and precise atomic clock, that broadcasts their time every 30 seconds. Handheld receivers, like your smartphone, can collect this data and perform calculations to figure out their position on the surface of the Earth.
The massive asteroid that is thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs was one of the most significant events in Earth's history, and without it there's a really good chance humans might never have existed at all. With that in mind, it's hard to imagine how the space rock's impact could have been even more devastating than scientists have assumed, but new research suggests exactly that, and paints an even more dire picture of what life was like on Earth in the years that followed.
OSIRIS-REx took a picture of the Earth-moon system on Monday (Sept. 25), a few days after performing a "gravity-assist" flyby of our planet that boosted its speed and helped set its course toward the 1,640-foot-wide (500 meters) asteroid Bennu.