Why so gassy? Mysterious methane detected on Saturn’s moon

Scientists do not know what is causing the overabundance of the gas.

Credit: NASA
  • A new study looked to understand the source of methane on Saturn's moon Enceladus.
  • The scientists used computer models with data from the Cassini spacecraft.
  • The explanation could lie in alien organisms or non-biological processes.
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Going rogue: runaway planets roam the galaxy

Tiny fluctuations in old Kepler data reveals four runaway planets that are reminiscent of Earth.

Credit: Rassamee design / Adobe Stock/Big Think
  • Scientists discover four rogue planets that are unbound to any star.
  • The discovery was made thanks to tiny microlensing light curves in data from the retired Kepler telescope.
  • There may be billions of such rogue planets in our galaxy.
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New study darkens hope for Earth-like planets

Most planets can't host plant life.

Ph03nix1986 / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)
  • A new study examines if exoplanets get enough stellar radiation to support photosynthesis.
  • Many planets within the habitable zones of stars do not receive enough energy to support plant life.
  • Earth-like planets are probably very rare.
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Rumbling: New Zealand supervolcano needs to be monitored

The Taupo volcano was responsible for one of the most violent eruptions on record.

  • The Taupo volcano is a rhyolitic supervolcano, whose caldera is filled by the largest freshwater lake in New Zealand.
  • About 26,500 years ago, the Taupo volcano generated the Ōruanui eruption, one of the most violent on record.
  • A recent study found that the Taupo volcano was likely responsible for increased seismic activity in nearby areas, suggesting the need for increased monitoring.
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Every 27.5 million years, the Earth’s heart beats catastrophically

Geologists discover a rhythm to major geologic events.

Credit: desertsolitaire/Adobe Stock
  • It appears that Earth has a geologic "pulse," with clusters of major events occurring every 27.5 million years.
  • Working with the most accurate dating methods available, the authors of the study constructed a new history of the last 260 million years.
  • Exactly why these cycles occur remains unknown, but there are some interesting theories.
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