Asteroid impact: NASA simulation shows we are sitting ducks

Even with six months' notice, we can't stop an incoming asteroid.

Credit: NASA/JPL
  • At an international space conference, attendees took part in an exercise that imagined an asteroid crashing into Earth.
  • With the object first spotted six months before impact, attendees concluded that there was insufficient time for a meaningful response.
  • There are an estimated 25,000 near-Earth objects potentially threatening our planet.
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‘Hidden’ magma pools under volcanoes may pose alarming eruption threats

A recent study of Iceland's Krafla volcanic caldera suggests hidden magma pools may be lurking under many of the world's volcanic systems.

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  • The study analyzed magma collected from a 2009 incident in which geothermal drillers encountered magma that geophysical surveys failed to detect.
  • Currently, magma imaging technology can't accurately detect magma pools under a certain size.
  • Hidden magma pools pose safety concerns because magma from other sources might combine with the hidden magma, which could trigger unexpectedly explosive eruptions.
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A new warning sign to predict volcanic eruptions?

Satellite imagery can help better predict volcanic eruptions by monitoring changes in surface temperature near volcanoes.

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  • A recent study used data collected by NASA satellites to conduct a statistical analysis of surface temperatures near volcanoes that erupted from 2002 to 2019.
  • The results showed that surface temperatures near volcanoes gradually increased in the months and years prior to eruptions.
  • The method was able to detect potential eruptions that were not anticipated by other volcano monitoring methods, such as eruptions in Japan in 2014 and Chile in 2015.
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Researchers unearth the “Lamborghini” of ancient chariots in Pompeii

The chariot survived ancient eruptions and modern-day looters to become a part of the world heritage site.

Credit: Luigi Spina, Archaeological Park of Pompeii
  • Archeologists recently discovered a first-of-its-kind chariot in Pompeii.
  • The ceremonial chariot is decorated with bronze and tin medallions, while the sides sport bronzesheets and red-and-black paintings.
  • Given looting activity in the area, it's lucky the 2,000-year-old treasure wasn't lost to the world heritage site.
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2020 ties for hottest year on record, says NASA and NOAA

In a joint briefing at the 101st American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting, NASA and NOAA revealed 2020's scorching climate data.

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  • 2020 is tied with 2016 for being globally the hottest year on record.
  • The year's hotspot included the Arctic, which is warming at three times the global mean.
  • The United States endured a record-breaking year for billion-dollar natural disasters.
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