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Scientists Punch Into Ancient Antarctic Lake

Racing against the oncoming southern winter, Russian scientists announced today they have broken through more than 2 miles of ice to dip into a freshwater lake in eastern Antarctica that had been sealed off from the surface for millions of years. Pressurized water from the lake was allowed to rise up and fill the bore hole before freezing solid. Next year, the scientists plan to return to sample the lake water. They are especially keen to know if microbes are currently living in one of the most extreme environments on Earth. The lake is seen as an analog for a liquid lake or ocean under the icy crust of Jupiter’s moon Europa. In a terrific piece on the much anticipated breakthrough for the New York Times today, David Herszenhorn and James Gorman write that environmentalists are concerned … Read entire article »

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Solar storm delivering a “glancing blow”

Many news outlets are reporting on the solar storm in progress. The storm, which began as a coronal mass ejection (CME), or explosion of electrically charged particles from the sun, reached Earth about 9:30 this morning (eastern time). According to Space.com, even though the CME was fairly large because it’s hitting us at an angle and not head on, the resulting effects on Earth will be tempered. There is the potential for beautiful displays of auroras in the north. Still, communications satellites and power grids could be damaged and airlines may be forced to reroute or delay flights for passenger safety. According to the Space Weather Prediction Center, operated by the National Weather Service, this is the largest Solar Radiation Storm since October 2003. For those who live in the far north, you might check out OVATION, a … Read entire article »

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