A recently-published study from NASA has revealed that glaciers in West Antarctica’s Marguerite Bay have increased their flow rate, speeding up by up to 25 percent, an event that has accelerated ice loss in the region from 2 to 3 meters (7 to 10 feet) per year to 10 meters (33 feet). Prior to 2008, the flow rates of the four affected glaciers had been stable for two decades, but a major calving event in 1989 left the bay with little to no ice shelf, leaving them with only grounded ice on dry land — a precarious position for its potential to affect sea level rise.
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To say the environment on the surface of Venus is extreme might be viewed as an understatement by some: the hottest planet in the Solar System’s air cooks at a scorching 462ºC (864ºF), under crushing atmospheric pressure that is 92 times greater than Earth’s — and that’s not counting the corrosive effects of the sulphuric acid lacing the clouds. The result is an environment that severely limits the lifespan of manmade probes sent there, that are typically measured in timescales of mere hours, as opposed to the years-long missions enjoyed by Mars rovers.
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After a 4.9 billion mile journey spanning more than two decades and countless major discoveries, the Cassini probe will complete its long voyage by plunging into the clouds of Saturn on September 15th, in what NASA’s mission engineers are calling the probe’s "goodbye kiss". The intentional destruction of the probe is to avoid potentially contaminating the environments of Saturn’s moons — Enceladus in particular — in case extraterrestrial life might be found there.
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NASA has unveiled a plan to prevent the eruption of supervolcanoes, such as the Yellowstone Caldera in Wyoming. The ambitious, $3.5 billion plan would involve pumping water deep into the Earth to cool the volcano to prevent it from erupting — and the plan would result in the generation of cheap, low-emission electricity in the process.
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