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Earth's cryosphere averages net loss of 87000 sq. km per year, study shows – CTV News

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TORONTO —
A 37-year-long study shows that the Earth’s fluctuating cryosphere – the area of the planet covered in ice and snow – averages a net loss of 87,000 square kilometres each year, with researchers attributing it to climate change.

The study, published in a journal by the American Geophysical Union, was done by researchers who calculated the size of the cryosphere on a daily basis between the years of 1979 and 2016 and later averaged out the yearly estimates.

“The cryosphere is one of the most sensitive climate indicators and the first one to demonstrate a changing world,” Xiaoqing Peng, co-author of the study and physical geographer at Lanzhou University, said in a media release. “It’s change in size represents a major global change, rather than a regional or local issue.”

Through their analysis, researchers in the study found that the Northern Hemisphere was impacted the most, decreasing in size by approximately 102,000 sq. km a year. But, in the Southern Hemisphere, the cryosphere actually increased in size by an average of 14,000 sq. km a year.

Still, researchers said that the overall shrinking of the cryosphere was a signal of climate change.

When looking at how long the cryosphere was frozen for, the study shows that a large proportion of it remained frozen for a shorter period of time over the years.

“The average first day of freezing now occurs about 3.6 days later than in 1979, and the ice thaws about 5.7 days later,” the study said.

The cryosphere is intended to reflect sunlight off its surface to cool the Earth, therefore the study says that the shrinking of this area could lead to global changes in air temperatures, sea levels, and ocean currents.

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Boeing Starliner Orbital Flight Test 2: Live updates – Space.com

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2021-07-23T00:18:15.531Z

(Image credit: Kim Shiflett/NASA)

The CST-100 Starliner capsule has passed its flight readiness review (FRR) for the upcoming liftoff, which will kick off the uncrewed Orbital Flight Test 2 (OFT-2) mission to the station, NASA and Boeing representatives announced today (July 22). Read the full story here.

Over the weekend, engineers mated the Starliner spacecraft to its Atlas V rocket, marking a key milestone ahead of the mission’s launch next week. See the photos here.

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NASA hands SpaceX contract for first mission to Jupiter's moon Europa – Fox Business

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NASA’s (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Southern California-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)  has awarded SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corp.) with the launch services contract for the Earth’s first mission to conduct detailed investigations of Europa. 

The “Europa Clipper” mission is set for October 2024 and NASA said in a Friday release that the spacecraft will launch on a Falcon Heavy rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 

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The contract award is approximately $178 million dollars

Scientists at the agency will explore whether Jupiter’s icy moon, which is about 90% the size of Earth’s moon, could host conditions suitable for life. 

The world – discovered first by famed astronomer Galileo Galilei – shows strong evidence for an ocean of salty water beneath the planet’s crust, thought to contain twice as much water as Earth’s oceans combined.

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NASA believes that the moon’s ice shell is around 10 to 15 miles thick and its internal ocean is estimated to be around 40 to 100 miles deep.

The mission will send Europa Clipper to orbit around Jupiter to perform close flybys of Europa on an elliptical path. The orbiter’s suite of science instruments will help to measure the ocean’s depth and salinity and the thickness of its icy shell, map surface geology and composition, search for plumes of water vapor that could be emitted from Europa’s crust and subsurface lakes and produce high-resolution images of its surface.

This color view of Jupiter’s moon Europa was captured by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft in the late 1990s. Scientists are studying processes that affect the surface as they prepare to explore the icy body. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute)

JPL notes that understanding Europa habitability will help astrobiologists to better understand how life developed on Earth approximately 382 million miles away, in addition to efforts to find life beyond the blue marble.

While JPL leads the development of the Europa Clipper mission in partnership with the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, NASA’s Kennedy-based Launch Services Program will manage the Europa Clipper launch service. 

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Additionally, the Planetary Missions Program Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, will orchestrate program management of the Europa Clipper mission.

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Buck Moon rises over Oshawa harbour – insauga.com

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July’s orange- or yellow-tinted full moon – known as a Buck Moon – arrived at 10:36 p.m. Friday night.

It’s called the Buck Moon because the antlers of male deer are in full-growth mode at this time.

Indigenous people of Canada have several other names for the phenomenon, including Berry Moon (Anishinabe), Feather Moulting Moon (Cree), Salmon Moon, (Tlingit) and Raspberry Moon (Algonquin, Ojibwe).

The full moon can be viewed in all its glory until tomorrow night.

Photo: Colin Ryan

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