Climate explained: why Mars is cold despite an atmosphere of mostly carbon dioxide

Paulo de Souza, Griffith University

Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change.

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Top 10 most extreme places where life can be found on earth

The Earth is the only planet we know of that can support life in the cold, vast space. It seems we’re so, so lucky because our planet has a lot of unique characteristics that made life possible on it. But, interestingly, it also seems “where life can evolve, it will”. The diversity in life our planet sustains and the fact that some creatures are able to thrive in places seemingly inhospitable is simply amazing. Here are the top 10 most extreme places where life can be found on Earth.

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Forget the Anthropocene: we’ve entered the synthetic age

One fact about our time is becoming increasingly well-known. No matter how far you travel, no matter in which direction you point, there is nowhere on Earth that remains free from the traces of human activity. The chemical and biological signatures of our species are everywhere. Transported around the globe by fierce atmospheric winds, relentless ocean currents, and the capacious cargo-holds of millions of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles, nowhere on Earth is free from humanity’s imprint. Pristine nature has permanently blinked out of existence.

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Humanity’s birthplace: why everyone alive today can call northern Botswana home

Vanessa Hayes, University of Sydney

Where was the evolutionary birthplace of modern humans? The East African Great Rift Valley has long been the favoured contender – until today.

Our new research has used DNA to trace humanity’s earliest footsteps to a prehistoric wetland called Makgadikgadi-Okavango, south of the Great Zambezi River.

Our analysis, published in Nature today, shows that the earliest population of modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) arose 200,000 years ago in an area that covers parts of modern-day Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.

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Apollo 12 and its destination (Moon) in the same photo

NASA has published a beautiful photo of Apollo 12 at the launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39. This historic image, taken on October 28, 1969 (50 years ago) frames the Apollo 12 spacecraft atop the mighty Saturn V rocket and its destination, the Moon, in a single photo.

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Curiosity’s new selfie & Mars 2020 stands on its six wheels

On October 24, 2019, NASA has published a new selfie of the Curiosity Mars Rover, which was taken on October 11, the 2,553rd Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s mission. The space agency has also announced that Curiosity’s successor, the Mars 2020 Rover now stands on its own six wheels.

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NASA’s AMA (Ask Me Anything) about Van Allen Probes

On October 18, 2019, NASA held an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit. Scientists from the space agency answered questions about Van Allen Probes, two robotic spacecraft that were used to study the Van Allen radiation belts that surround planet Earth.

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How developing countries struggling with air pollution can reduce emissions

Whilst air pollution is a problem all around the world, it can be particularly troublesome in developing countries. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 98% of inhabitants of big cities in low-income countries live in a high level of air pollution, leaving them with a number of health problems due to the poor quality of air. This is contrasted with 56% of inhabitants of high-income countries. Both figures are worrying and illustrate the climate crisis of the present world.

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NASA’s Solar System and Beyond Poster Set – You can download and print for free!

You can download and print NASA’s “Solar System and Beyond” Poster Set for free. The posters are best printed on 11”x17” paper.

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