Working on a meteorite first discovered in 1951, a group of researchers has now found a rare form of an iron-carbide mineral never before seen in nature. The finding is the key prerequisite for the new mineral to later be officially recognized as such by the International Mineralogical Association (IMA).
The Wedderburn meteorite was found in a small town with the same name in Australia. Researchers have been working on it for decades to figure out the secrets behind it. Now, a group lead by mineralogist Chi Ma has decoded another one with the new mineral.
Only a third of the original meteorite remains intact at the Museum Victoria in Australia. The rest was divided into a series of slices and used to analyze the content of the meteorite. The analysis showed traces of gold and iron, as well as other rare minerals such as kamacite, taenite and troilite.
Now we can add a new mineral to that list, known as ‘edscottite’ in honor of meteorite expert and cosmochemist Edward Scott from the University of Hawaii. It’s a significant discovery as never before researchers had been able to confirm that this atomic formulation of iron carbide mineral occurs naturally. Previously, only the synthetic form of the iron carbide mineral was known.
“We have discovered 500,000 to 600,000 minerals in the lab, but fewer than 6,000 that nature’s done itself,” Museums Victoria senior curator of geosciences Stuart Mills, who wasn’t involved with the new study, told The Age.
There’s not much clarity yet on how the natural edscottite ended up outside of Wedderburn in Australia. But the first theories are already available. Planetary scientists Geoffrey Bonning, a researcher at Australian National University, believes the mineral could have formed in the core of an ancient planet.
A long time ago, this planet could have produced a big cosmic collision that involved another planet or moon or asteroid. The blast would have led to fragmented parts of the world travel across time and space, according to Boning. This would explain the finding of the fragment in Wedderburn.
The findings were published in American Mineralogist, part of the Journal of Earth and Planetary Materials.
Scientists Claim Discovery of Multiple Liquid Water Lakes on Mars – Voice of America
A team of scientists studying data from a satellite orbiting Mars say they have discovered evidence of several lakes of what they believe is salty, liquid water beneath the surface of the planet’s south pole.
The discovery, detailed in a study published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy, expands upon a tentative finding in 2018, which was made using data from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Mars Express satellite.
A radar instrument known as the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding (MARSIS) produced evidence of what astronomers believed was a large saltwater lake under the ice at Mars’s south pole, a finding that was met with excitement and some skepticism at the time.
Since then, the same group of scientists examined 10 years’ worth of radar images sent from the spacecraft and found not only more evidence confirming the original salt lake, but enough for at least three more lying underneath the Martian surface.
Confirming the existence of liquid water on Mars is significant, in that it could provide a possible habitat for life.
The new evidence came after researchers examined over 100 radar images taken by the satellite from 2010 through 2019. The scientists saw what seemed to be several subglacial liquid bodies ranging in size from just over 19 kilometers across to as small as just under 5 kilometers.
The average temperature on Mars is around minus 26 degrees Celsius, far too cold for water to remain liquid at the surface. But the researchers believe the lakes maintain their liquid state due to their high concentrations of salt.
Some scientists believe Mars was once a wet, warm world and may even have hosted life forms at some point in its early history. But over time, the planet’s atmosphere was stripped away because it lacks a magnetic field like Earth’s, making it seemingly inhospitable.
This latest discovery suggests that some pockets of the Martian terrain may be habitable and could contain some form of microbial life that escaped from the planet’s freezing surface to the waters beneath.
Air leaking from International Space Station but no danger to crew: Roscosmos agency – Reuters Canada
MOSCOW (Reuters) – The International Space Station is leaking air in above-normal volumes, but the leak presents no danger to the Russian-American crew, the Russian space agency Roscosmos said on Tuesday.
The leak has been localised to one section of a service module and the crew, made up of U.S. astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, plan to eliminate it in the coming days, Russia’s RIA news agency quoted Roscosmos executive director Sergei Krikalev as saying.
Roscosmos said additional air may be delivered to the station.
Reporting by Polina Devitt; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Kevin Liffey
Rare blue moon will bring a Halloween 2020 treat to the skies – CNET
Another highly unusual event is headed our way in this. The 2020 Halloween full moon will be visible to the entire world, rather than just parts of it, for the first time since World War II, astronomy educator and former planetarium director Jeffrey Hunt says.
“When I was teaching, my high school students thought a full moon occurred every Halloween,” Hunt told me. Not quite, though pop culture decorations sure make it seem that way. The last Halloween full moon visible around the globe came in 1944, he said. He’s written about the event on his web site, When the Curves Line Up. There was a Halloween full moon for some locations in 1955, but that didn’t include western North America and the western Pacific, Hunt says.
While this year’s Halloween full moon will be visible in all parts of the globe, that doesn’t mean every single citizen will have a view. Residents across both North America and South America will see it, as will India, all of Europe and much of Asia. But while Western Australians will see it, those in the central and eastern parts of the country will not.
Know time zones well? “Every time zone has it except those east of (GMT) +8 time zones if they have daylight time, or (GMT) +9 with no daylight time,” Hunt says.
Want to see the Halloween full moon? It’s so bright at the full phase it doesn’t matter if you’re in a crowded city or out on the farm. And you don’t need pricey equipment.
“Walk outside, and take a look,” Hunt says.
Don’t be surprised, though, if you snap a Halloween moon shot with your phone and the photo doesn’t match what you saw.
“When the moon is photographed with a smartphone the results can be disappointing,” Hunt admits. “A telephoto attachment will help make the moon larger. Be sure to check that the adapter fits on your make and model. Also don’t overexpose the moon. Adjust the camera’s brightness so that features are visible and not blotted out by the moon’s brightness.”
If you’re determined to get a good shot, Oct. 1 brings a full moon, so there’s time to practice. Because that makes two full moons in the same month, the Halloween full moon could also be known as a “blue moon.”
If you’re too busy watching horror movies (or doing whatever the coronavirus equivalent of trick-or-treating is), you’ll have to wait until 2039 for another global full moon.
“Of course, full moons occur in October during the intervening years, just not on Halloween,” Hunt says. And a Halloween full moon may appear in your region before then. It just won’t be seen around the world.
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