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Ancient Mars was wet, study says

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Gizmorama - Ancient Mars was wet, study says
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Do you plan on seeing the new Batman? I want to see it just
to see how they made Chicago look like Gotham City. I don't
think I will make it to the midnight showing tonight, but
I do hope to see it soon. Enjoy today's stories!

Until Tomorrow,

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Ancient Mars was wet, study says

Mars once was home to lakes, rivers and other wet environments
that possibly supported life, a study based on the U.S. space
program's Mars venture shows. One study, published in the recent
edition of Nature, shows regions of Mars' ancient highlands
held clay minerals that can form only when water is present,
NASA said Wednesday in a news release Lava buried clay-rich
regions, but impact craters exposed the regions scattered across
Mars, NASA said. The data for the study is from images taken by
the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars and
other instruments on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, managed
by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "The
big surprise from these new results is how pervasive and long-
lasting Mars' water was, and how diverse the wet environments
were," said Scott Murchie, CRISM principal investigator at
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. The
minerals, called phyllosilicates, recorded water's interaction
with rocks dating back approximately 4.6 billion to 3.8 billion
years ago, Murchie said. "This is really exciting because we're
finding dozens of sites where future missions can land to
understand if Mars was ever habitable and if so, to look for
signs of past life," said John Mustard, a CRISM member from
Brown University and lead author of the Nature study.

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Unmanned flights give peek at melting ice

Aircraft flying over Greenland will offer a view of the melting
Greenland Ice Sheet and its potential for raising the global
sea level, U.S. scientists said. The two unmanned Manta planes
will help scientists determine whether the ice sheet's melt
rate will accelerate, Betsy Weatherhead of National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration's Earth System Research Laboratory
said in a news release. A view of the region from 500-1,000
feet above the ice can provide fine-scale measurements of the
water and surface of the glaciers, said Weatherhead, a scientist
for the Arctic test bed of NOAA's Unmanned Aircraft Systems
program. The Mantas can provide that view, cruising at low
altitudes over little-known terrain without endangering humans.
The Greenland Ice Sheet is shrinking at a rate of 40-50 cubic
miles annually, a pace that's accelerating, NOAA said. Better
observations could help explain the role of short-lived surface
lakes and why the edges of the ice sheet are melting so fast.
"We're concerned that as temperatures rise, more heat will
cause more melting, more melting will create bigger lakes,
and the rate of ice loss will accelerate," said NOAA's
John Adler, the project manager. The unmanned flights will last
three weeks.

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Invasive species cost Great Lakes $200M

A U.S. study suggests invasive species brought in by ocean-going
ships may be costing the Great Lakes region more than $200
million a year. A study by the the Center for Aquatic
Conservation at the University of Notre Dame and the University
of Wyoming said the losses include commercial fishing, sport
fishing and the region's water supply. David Lodge, director
of the Center for Aquatic Conservation said the $200 million
figure is preliminary. "The losses are for the U.S. alone,
with comparable losses expected in Canada," he said Wednesday
in a news release. "Losses may also grow as these invaders
spread from the source of invasion and across the country on
boats, recreational equipment or natural migration." The report
said 68 percent of the 84 invasive species established in the
Great Lakes can be linked to ballast tanks in ocean-going ships.
The species include zebra and quagga mussels, Eurasian ruffe,
round goby and spiny water flea.


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