Mars Atmosphere Loss: Plasma Processes
Mars’s thick early atmosphere was likely lost to space, and the Sun is a potential culprit. When high-energy solar photons strike the upper Martian atmosphere they can ionize gas molecules, causing the atmosphere to erode over time.
This video is public domain and can be downloaded at: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a010000/a011000/a011037
via NASA explorer.
Onward: Searching for Life in Iceland’s Frigid Fissures
In the cold waters of Iceland’s Thingvellir National Park, National Geographic grantee Jónína Ólafsdóttir scours underwater fissures for tiny arthropods. The way they change and adapt may offer clues about what’s in store for wildlife as the world’s climate shifts.
Read about her work, and what it’s like to dive in these frigid fissures:
via National Geographic.
Iceland grieves after police kill a man for the first time in its history
December 5, 2013
It was an unprecedented headline in Iceland this week — a man shot to death by police.
"The nation was in shock. This does not happen in our country," said Thora Arnorsdottir, news editor at RUV, the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service.
She was referring to a 59-year old man who was shot by police on Monday. The man, who started shooting at police when they entered his building, had a history of mental illness.
It’s the first time someone has been killed by armed police in Iceland since it became an independent republic in 1944. Police don’t even carry weapons, usually. Violent crime in Iceland is almost non-existent.
"The nation does not want its police force to carry weapons because it’s dangerous, it’s threatening," Arnorsdottir says. "It’s a part of the culture. Guns are used to go hunting as a sport, but you never see a gun."
In fact, Iceland isn’t anti-gun. In terms of per-capita gun ownership, Iceland ranks 15th in the world. Still, this incident was so rare that neighbors of the man shot were comparing the shooting to a scene from an American film.
The Icelandic police department said officers involved will go through grief counseling. And the police department has already apologized to the family of the man who died — though not necessarily because they did anything wrong.
"I think it’s respectful," Arnorsdottir says, “because no one wants to take another person’s life. “
There are still a number of questions to be answered, including why police didn’t first try to negotiate with man before entering his building.
"A part of the great thing of living in this country is that you can enter parliament and the only thing they ask you to do is to turn off your cellphone, so you don’t disturb the parliamentarians while they’re talking. We do not have armed guards following our prime minister or president. That’s a part of the great thing of living in a peaceful society. We do not want to change that. "
Vietnamese mossy frog (Theloderma corticale)
Camouflage keeps many animals safe from predators, but this little frog has evolved a camouflage mechanism (its skin) that allows it to almost fully conceal itself from potential predators and blend in with the surrounding mossy environment. Some say the camouflage of Vietnamese mossy frogs is the most elaborate in the animal kingdom
When frightened, it curls up into a ball and plays dead.
These frogs have sticky discs at the end of each toe, making them skillful tree climbers.
By Peter Schoen
via Natural Selection http://ift.tt/1blN2lA
Loss of Gravity and Other Terrible Things: How Does the Human Body Act in Space?
You’ve probably been told many, many times that everything in the cosmos is connected. As John Muir so eloquently put it, “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” But what does this mean, exactly? Today, I want to explore this statement by looking at how we are connected to our planet.
We obviously need the Earth for food, water, air, and all the other basic necessities, but what I really want to do is explore how we rely on this planet in ways that, perhaps, we’ve never even considered. And to me, it seems that the best way to explore our connectedness to the planet is to leave it behind…and take a short trip into space.
Going to space can be awesome, but it can also be terrible. Find out why at:
Daniel and Daniels
The Very Large Telescope in Chile fires off a laser strike at the galactic center. Fluctuations in the Earth’s atmosphere distort the telescope image. The telescope can compensate using adaptive optics, but it needs some way to measure the fluctuations. The twinkling of a bright star would do nicely, but often there is no bright star in the vicinity the astronomers want to study. The solution? Use a powerful laser to create an artificial star in the night sky.