Scientists announced this week that deep, almost perfectly circular pits on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko may be sinkholes. Sinkholes on Earth happen when a subsurface cavern collapses. On the comet, the caverns may be created by ices turning to gas, as the comet nears the sun.
Since Philae renewed contact on June 13, the Rosetta team has been struggling to establish a stable link with the comet lander.
A leap second will be added to official timekeeping on Tuesday, June 30, 2015. That means your day – and my day and everyone’s day – will officially be one second longer. Meanwhile, a proposal to dump the leap second has been deferred until October.
ESA’s ExoMars consists of two separate missions to investigate Mars. The first, set to launch in January 2016, consists of an orbiter and lander. The lander is called Schiaparelli. The second mission, scheduled for 2018, will deliver a European rover and a Russian surface platform to Mars’ surface. Both missions are aimed at the search for evidence of methane and other indicators of active biological activity on Mars.
It feels instantaneous, but how long does it really take to think a thought?
A new study from the astounding Cassini mission suggests that Saturn’s large moon Titan may undergo geological processes similar to those that create sinkholes on Earth. The study might answer the mystery of how Titan – known to be home to seas and lakes filled with liquid hydrocarbons – came to have depressions on its surface into which those liquids can gather.
Mount Sinabung in Indonesia was once considered a dormant volcano, until it erupted for a brief one month period in 2010. Then, on September 15, 2013, it began erupting again and the volcanic activity has continued until today.
Understanding why volcanoes come out of dormancy is no easy task for scientists, but a paper published last year in Solid Earth suggests that some of the recent megathrust earthquakes in Sumatra could be to blame.
In recent years, astronomers have become increasingly certain that planets are common in our Milky Way galaxy. And it’s possible that most stars have planets in their habitable zones, an area around stars within which liquid water – and therefore life as we know it – can exist. How many of those worlds are inhabited by simple or complex life forms? And when will we on Earth discover alien life? Follow the links inside to learn more.
If there’s really intelligent life out there, why haven’t they contacted us yet? Here are some possibilities.