The moon is shrinking — also, moonquakes are a thing

A new NASA report shakes up lunar geology.

  • The moon is indeed shrinking. It has been since it formed.
  • The shrinking is producing thousands of fault lines.
  • Archived seismometer data from Apollo missions show moonquakes.
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Surprising Science

Should we turn the Sahara Desert into a huge solar farm?

The relentless sun makes life in the Sahara almost unbearable. But could it also be its greatest resource?

Photo credit: Savvas Kalimeris on Unsplash
  • If the Sahara Desert were a country, it would be the fifth largest in the world.
  • Each square metre receives, on average, between 2,000 and 3,000 kilowatt hours of solar energy per year.
  • There are two practical technologies at the moment to generate solar electricity within this context: concentrated solar power (CSP) and regular photovoltaic solar panels.
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Technology & Innovation

A tectonic plate may have split apart, pulling Europe toward Canada

Geologists may have spotted evidence of the beginning stages of a subduction zone, a process that drives the movement of Earth's tectonic plates.

  • Geologists have long puzzled over a flat, featureless region off the coast of Portugal that's been the location of several earthquakes.
  • A team may have confirmed that a drip-shaped mass, buried 155 miles below the seafloor, might be responsible for the seismic activity.
  • If confirmed, the drip-shaped anomaly also suggests that geologists have for the first time observed the early stages of a subduction zone.
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Surprising Science

Every step you take, you're likely walking on a world of unseen and undescribed microbial diversity. And you don't need to head out into nature to find these usually unnoticed microscopic organisms.

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Surprising Science

Magnetic north isn’t even close to where it used to be

You won't notice much of a difference unless you're north of the 55th parallel, though.

(Kirk Geisler/hobbit/Shutterstock/Big Think)
  • Magnetic north has recently been moving north from Canada to Russia in a cold hurry.
  • It's moving about 33 miles a year instead of the usual 7 miles.
  • World navigation models had to updated ahead of schedule to catch up with it.
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Surprising Science