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Guillermo Gonzalez: Earth’s position makes space exploration easier

Gonzalez: In the larger context of the Milky Way galaxy, our Solar System is in the best location to initiate interstellar missions. In summary, we here confirm and expand upon recent studies that argue that the Earth and the Solar System are rare in the degree to which they facilitate space exploration. Read More ›

Earth’s core hardened just in time to prevent magnetic field collapse

Around 565 million years ago, just when life was getting seriously underway: The finding, reported online January 28 in Nature Geoscience, supports an idea previously proposed by simulations that Earth’s inner core is relatively young. It also provides insight into how, and how quickly, Earth has been losing heat since its formation 4.54 billion years ago —key to understanding not only the generation of the planet’s magnetic shield but also convection within the mantle and plate tectonics.Carolyn Gramling, “Earth’s core may have hardened just in time to save its magnetic field” at ScienceNews The powerful recent phase protects lifefrom damaging radiation. Paper. (open access) See also: Researchers: The Moon made life on Earth possible and What becomes of science when the Read More ›

What Earth vs Mars can teach us about fine tuning

We are told that Earth and Mars are like two siblings who have grown apart: “There was a time when their resemblance was uncanny: Both were warm, wet and shrouded in thick atmospheres. But 3 or 4 billion years ago, these two worlds took different paths”: Long ago, Mars stopped changing, while Earth continued to evolve. Earth developed a kind of geological “conveyer belt” that Mars never had: tectonic plates. When they converge, they can push the crust into the planet. When they move apart, they enable new crust to emerge. This churning of material brings more than just rock to the surface. Some of life’s most vital ingredients are so-called volatiles, which include water, carbon dioxide and methane. Because Read More ›