Biggest North Pole mission returns from ‘dying Arctic’

Researchers on the world’s biggest mission to the North Pole will return to dock on Monday, bringing home devastating proof of a dying Arctic Ocean and warnings of ice-free summers in just decades.

The German Alfred Wegener Institute’s Polarstern ship is set to return to the port of Bremerhaven after 389 days spent drifting through the Arctic trapped in ice, allowing scientists to gather vital information on the effects of global warming in the region.

The team of several hundred scientists from 20 countries have seen for themselves the dramatic effects of global warming on ice in the region, considered “the epicentre of climate change”, according to mission leader Markus Rex.

“We witnessed how the Arctic ocean is dying,” Rex told AFP. “We saw this process right outside our windows, or when we walked on the brittle ice.”

Underlining how much of the sea ice has melted away, Rex said

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Iodic acid influences cloud formation at the North Pole — ScienceDaily

The Arctic is warming two or three times faster than the rest of the planet. This amplified warming is due to several factors, but the relative importance of each one remains still unclear. “We do know, however, that clouds could play an important role,” says Julia Schmale, an EPFL professor who heads the Extreme Environments Research Laboratory and holds the Ingvar Kamprad Chair. “By reflecting the sun’s rays back into space or trapping heat close to the Earth’s surface like a blanket, clouds help either cool off or warm up the planet.”

Schmale — along with scientists from the Paul Scherrer Institute’s Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry and Stockholm University’s Department of Environmental Science and Bolin Centre for Climate Research — spent several weeks collecting data near the North pole in August and September 2018, as part of the US-Swedish expedition Arctic Ocean 2018 on board the Swedish icebreaker Oden. The

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Iodic acid influences cloud formation at the North Pole

arctic
Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

The Arctic is warming two or three times faster than the rest of the planet. This amplified warming is due to several factors, but the relative importance of each one remains still unclear. “We do know, however, that clouds could play an important role,” says Julia Schmale, an EPFL professor who heads the Extreme Environments Research Laboratory and holds the Ingvar Kamprad Chair. “By reflecting the sun’s rays back into space or trapping heat close to the Earth’s surface like a blanket, clouds help either cool off or warm up the planet.”


Schmale—along with scientists from the Paul Scherrer Institute’s Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry and Stockholm University’s Department of Environmental Science and Bolin Center for Climate Research—spent several weeks collecting data near the North pole in August and September 2018, as part of the US-Swedish expedition Arctic Ocean 2018 on board the Swedish icebreaker Oden. The

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Are there super salty lakes on Mars? Research suggests buried reservoir near south pole

The existence of liquid water on Mars — one of the more hotly debated matters about our cold, red neighbor — is looking increasingly likely.

New research published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy indicates that there really is a buried reservoir of super salty water near the south pole. Scientists say such a lake would significantly improve the likelihood that Mars just might harbor microscopic life of its own.

Some scientists remain unconvinced that what’s been seen is liquid water, but the latest study adds weight to a tentative 2018 finding from radar maps of the planet’s crust made by the Mars Express robot orbiter.

That research suggested that an underground “lake” of liquid water had pooled beneath frozen layers of sediment near the south pole — akin to the subglacial lakes detected beneath the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets on Earth.

Image: Mars south polar ice cap (Bj?rn Schreiner - FU Berlin / ESA)
Image: Mars south polar ice cap (Bj?rn
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Salty lake, ponds may be gurgling beneath South Pole on Mars

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A network of salty ponds may be gurgling beneath Mars’ South Pole alongside a large underground lake, raising the prospect of tiny, swimming Martian life.

Italian scientists reported their findings Monday, two years after identifying what they believed to be a large buried lake. They widened their coverage area by a couple hundred miles, using even more data from a radar sounder on the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter.

In the latest study appearing in the journal Nature Astronomy, the scientists provide further evidence of this salty underground lake, estimated to be 12 miles to 18 miles (20 kilometers to 30 kilometers) across and buried 1 mile (1.5 kilometers) beneath the icy surface.

Even more tantalizing, they’ve also identified three smaller bodies of water surrounding the lake. These ponds appear to be of various sizes and are separate from the main lake.

Roughly 4

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MoonRanger will search for water at moon’s south pole

CMU's MoonRanger will search for water at moon's south pole
MoonRanger, a suitcase-size lunar rover being developed by Carnegie Mellon University and Astrobotic, will search for signs of water during a NASA mission to the moon in 2022. Credit: Carnegie Mellon University

MoonRanger, a small robotic rover being developed by Carnegie Mellon University and its spinoff Astrobotic, has completed its preliminary design review in preparation for a 2022 mission to search for signs of water at the moon’s south pole.


Whether buried ice exists in useful amounts is one of the most pressing questions in lunar exploration, and MoonRanger will be the first to seek evidence of it on the ground. If found in sufficient concentration at accessible locations, ice might be the most valuable resource in the solar system, said William “Red” Whittaker, University Founders Research Professor in the Robotics Institute.

“Water is key to human presence on and use of the moon,” explained Whittaker, who is leading development

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NASA still targeting moon’s south pole for 2024 crew landing

NASA is still targeting the moon’s south pole for a crewed landing in 2024 — but that timeline will be difficult to achieve if Congress doesn’t open its purse strings, and fast, agency chief Jim Bridenstine said.

During a presentation with NASA’s Lunar Exploration Analysis Group last Monday, Bridenstine seemed to suggest that the agency is open to a more equatorial site for the 2024 touchdown, a key milestone in NASA’s Artemis program of crewed lunar exploration.

That would be a big shift for NASA, which has long stressed that the first crewed moon landing since the Apollo days would come near the south pole, where lots of water ice lurks on permanently shadowed crater floors. But Bridenstine just clarified that his earlier words about the 2024 mission, known as Artemis 3, were purely hypothetical.

Related: See the moon like the Apollo astronauts with these epic panoramic photos

“To be

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