Tag Archives: atmosphere

What Mars Looked Like When It Had Water, Courtesy of NASA (Video)

Today, we think of Mars as having  a cold, dry, and desolate environment (because it does).

But that was not always the case. Four billion years ago, while our Sun was still in its infancy, Mars was covered with water.

Back then, it had a much thicker atmosphere, which kept the planet warm enough for water to exist in its liquid form. Some estimates say that at one point, up to 1640 ft (about half a kilometer) of water covered the whole planet.

Many features on the surface of Mars hint at the existence of water in the past. The image above, for example, seems to show the dried-out remnants of a river delta. Click to enlarge

NASA will launch its  Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) on November 18. MAVEN’s job is to determine exactly what happened to Mars’ atmosphere during those four billion years.

In the meantime, they had their Goddard Conceptual Image Lab create a video showing what Mars might’ve looked like four billion years ago and how it changed as the atmosphere thinned out over time:

There are a number of theories as to why Mars’ atmosphere disappeared, including a major asteroid impact and the loss of its magnetic field as a result of solar winds.

NASA hopes that the data collected by MAVEN will help them solve the issue once and for all.

(h/t IFL Science)

Think You Can Disprove Man-Made Climate Change? There’s $10,000 Up for Grabs If You Can

Dr. Christopher Keating is a former physics professor who taught at the University of South Dakoa as well as the U.S. Naval Academy. He is also author of the book “Undeniable: Dialogues on Global Warming”.

Recently, Keating posted a challenge on his blog: he offered $10,000 to anyone who could disprove man-made climate change using the scientific method. In the post, Keating said,

“I know you are not going to get rich with $10,000. But, tell me, wouldn’t you like to have a spare $10,000? After all, the skeptics all claim it is a simple matter, and it doesn’t even have to be original,” Keating wrote. “If it is so easy, just cut and paste the proof from somewhere. Provide the scientific evidence and prove your point and the $10,000 is yours! This is no joke. If someone can provide a proof that I can’t refute, using scientific evidence, then I will write them a check.”

Christopher Keating, Ph.D

Keating admits his bias, saying he’s sure he’ll never have to write the check because,

“The scientific evidence for global warming is overwhelming and no one can prove otherwise.”

But in response to those criticizing his ability to judge fairly because of his bias and his incentive to not lose $10,000, he had this to say:

“If I am a fraud, then I will be held up as an example of how climate scientists everywhere are frauds.”

Keating refuted the first submission because the data used by the skeptic was “cherry-picked” and only showed the last 14 years of average yearly temperature changes (in Celsius).

The graph submitted by the challenger

Keating responded by posting the same graph, but for the last 34 years, which showed a long-term upward trend.

The graph posted by Keating in his rebuttal, which goes back 20 years further than the graph above

The second submission was a little better. The submitter used data on naturally occurring climate change to argue that the current fluctuations aren’t a result of human activity. While Keating couldn’t dispute the data presented, he basically argued that just saying there was natural fluctuations in the past does not at all prove that the warming we’re now experiencing is natural.

In a recent interview with the College Fix, Keating added that the movement to deny man-made climate change is,

“…very similar to the one waged by tobacco advocates to deny a link between smoking and lung cancer.”

Keating is very confident in his findings and comes off as arrogant more than once in his responses (which I think detracts from his solid arguments). Also, the fact that he has the final say on whether a submission passes the test makes the competition somewhat rigged. However, he does do a great job of backing up his positions with solid data.

For anyone who wants to learn more about both sides of the argument, the exchanges between Keating and those refuting his claims are a pretty good place to start.

Worth noting: one of the biggest indicators of how we are affecting the climate is the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since it started being recorded in 1958 (Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

At the beginning of the industrial revolution, this number was at 300 parts per million. In the late 80s, it had risen to 350ppm. Now, carbon dioxide levels have risen above 400ppm for the first time in recorded history.

While levels that high have existed before (millions of years ago), the extremely rapid rise in carbon dioxide concentration over the last century is much faster than that concentration has ever risen in the past. Here’s a few reactions to that announcement from NASA scientists.

(h/t The Blaze)

Time-Lapse Video of This Insane Supercell Cloud Forming Over Wyoming Last Weekend

On May 18th, a large storm rolled through Wyoming, bring with it some crazy cloud formations. Supercells like the one in the picture above are the rarest type of thunderstorm.

They are formed when there is a wind shear, which occurs when there are significant differences in the speed and direction of the wind on the ground and the wind in the atmosphere about 20,000 feet up.

The video below was captured by the Basehunters, a group of storm-chasers based out of Norman, Oklahoma.

What It Looks Like to Free-Fall From Space (GoPro Video)

On October 14, 2012, Felix Baumgartner broke three world records when he jumped from Earth’s stratosphere, more than 24 miles above the ground.

He was in free fall for over 4 minutes, and broke the speed of sound (761.2 mph).

7 different GoPro cameras captured the monumental accomplishment with breathtaking perspective. The video also allows you to track Felix’s breathing rate, heart rate, speed and altitude.

China’s Pollution is Crossing the Pacific and Becoming America’s Problem

A new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found that pollution from the manufacturing of American-bound products in China is responsible for between 12-24% of daily sulfate concentrations in the western US.

Don Wuebbles, who is a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Illinois, led the study. He said,

Pollution from China is having an effect in the U.S., and we need to recognize how that is affecting both our background ozone levels and also particulates that are reaching the West Coast.”

Strong westerly winds can send pollution from China across the ocean to the American west coast within a matter of days. The picture at the top is of Los Angeles on a particularly smoggy day.

About 21% of export-related pollution in China is from products headed for the US.

Read the full story from CNN here.

Traveling London to Sydney in Just TWO HOURS Using Virgin Super Galactic Space Flight Technology (Video)

According to a recent article by Chris Pleasance

Futuristic planes based on spaceships which could allow passengers to travel from London to Sydney in two and a half hours are being developed.”

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactics space flight company says that a space tourism plane that it is currently working on could be modified and turned into a super jet. The “Concorde-like aircraft” would travel outside of the Earth’s atmosphere and enter into orbit, using the Earth’s gravitational forces to travel at incredible speeds.

The spacecraft/super jet would travel around 4,200 mph and cover the distance of 10,500 miles from London to Sydney in just 2.5 hours.

Virgin Galactic have so far succeeded in getting the craft outside the stratosphere, the second lowest layer of the atmosphere Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2467356/London-Sydney-TWO-hours-Virgin-Galactic-space-flight-technology-used-build-new-generation-super-jets-replace-Concorde.html#ixzz2qzNuq5NX  Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
Virgin Galactic have so far succeeded in getting the craft outside the stratosphere, the second lowest layer of the atmosphere

So far Virgin’s SS2 aircraft has only managed to exit the stratosphere, the second lowest part of Earth’s atmosphere, though the company still says it will launch its first flights next year. Its manned spacecraft has become the highest commercial winged vehicle to ever fly and used its shuttlecock-inspired ‘feather system’ to safely re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere.

Eventually Virgin Galactic would like to create “Space Cruise Ships”, these cruise ships would take people away from earth and outside the atmosphere. Virgin Galactic’s Stephen Attenborough said they could serve as orbital hotels, and even allow tourists to travel to the Moon and back.

The company has already collected around $80million (£50m) in deposits from approx. 640 wealthy individuals interested in being some of the first space tourists. However Sir Richard himself and his family are due to take the first trip. Branson has also launched a TV competition show aimed at rewarding one winner with a ticket on board one of the SS2 craft (I’d gladly accept that victory).

Check Out the below video to see the aircraft in action and a description about the upcoming reality TV competition show.


"The spaceship is flown into the air while strapped into the carrying craft White Knight before detaching itself to launch into space"
“The spaceship is flown into the air while strapped into the carrying craft White Knight before detaching itself to launch into space”