January 1st, 2008

The Outer Solar System

The Enduring Mysteries of the Outer Solar System
The farthest reaches of our solar system remain the most mysterious areas around the sun. Solving the mysteries of the outer solar system could shed light on how the whole thing emerged — as well as how life on Earth was born.

For instance, the Kuiper belt past Neptune is currently the suspected home of comets that only take a few decades or at most centuries to complete their solar orbits — so-called "short-period comets." Surprisingly, Kuiper belt objects "show a wide range of colors — neutral or even slightly blue all the way to very red," said University of Hawaii astrophysicist David Jewitt.
  • Current Mood: curious curious

2008: Ellesmere Island Expedition

Icy Adventure
Polar explorer Will Steger and his team of intrepid researchers are studying a fragile world on the brink of disaster.

About the Project:
In March 2008, explorer Will Steger and an international team of emerging leaders will embark on a 1,400-mile (2,250-kilometer) dogsled expedition across Ellesmere Island, the northernmost island in the Canadian Arctic. The Ellesmere Island Expedition team will conduct studies examining the impact of global warming on polar environments in an effort to bring worldwide attention to an international crisis.
  • Current Mood: good good
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2008: Human Origins Project

Into Africa
The world's top paleontologists, archaeologists, and geologists are on an ambitious mission to trace the origins of man.

About the Project:
The Human Origins Project, a joint initiative of the National Geographic Society and the Turkana Basin Institute, will utilize cutting-edge technology to become the largest and most informative multilingual resource available on the subject of human evolution.
  • Current Mood: good good

Person of the Week

David Charbonneau
His research heats up the search for alien life—and finds some amazing planets along the way.
 
For his next act, the 33-year-old Charbonneau (a HarvardUniversity astronomer) wants to move beyond the exotic and bizarre planets he has studied so far. Now he is looking for something far more familiar: a smallish rocky planet with an atmosphere that bears the chemical imprint of life, like the abundant (and otherwise inexplicable) oxygen that plants pump into our own air.
 
Charbonneau hopes to refine the transit technique so that even the faint wisps of an Earth-size planet’s atmosphere can soon be detected and analyzed. If he spots the signature of alien biology on such a world, humans will have the evidence that they are not alone in the universe.
 

MILF of the Week
Ali Landry!
  • Current Mood: good good