Ultraviolet light from giant stellar flares can destroy a planet’s habitability. New research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will help astrobiologists understand how much radiation planets experience during super flares and whether life could exist on worlds beyond our solar system.
Super flares are bursts of energy that are 10 to 1,000 times larger than the biggest flares from the Earth’s sun. These flares can bathe a planet in an amount of ultraviolet light huge enough to doom the chances of life surviving there.
Researchers from UNC-Chapel Hill have for the first time measured the temperature of a large sample of super flares from stars, and the flares’ likely ultraviolet emissions. Their findings, published Oct. 5 ahead of print in Astrophysical Journal, will allow researchers to put limits on the habitability of planets that are targets of upcoming planet-finding missions.
The presence of diamonds in an outcrop atop an unrealized gold deposit in Canada’s Far North mirrors the association found above the world’s richest gold mine, according to University of Alberta research that fills in blanks about the thermal conditions of Earth’s crust three billion years ago.
“The diamonds we have found so far are small and not economic, but they occur in ancient sediments that are an exact analog of the world’s biggest gold deposit — the Witwatersrand Goldfields of South Africa, which has produced more than 40 per cent of the gold ever mined on Earth,” said Graham Pearson, researcher in the Faculty of Science and Canada Excellence Research Chair Laureate in Arctic Resources.
“Diamonds and gold are very strange bedfellows. They hardly ever appear in the same rock, so this new find may help to sweeten the attractiveness of the original gold discovery if we can find
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is almost ready to touch down on the asteroid Bennu, NASA announced today. On October 20th, OSIRIS-REx will make its first attempt at collecting a sample of the asteroid’s rocks and dust. This will be the first time NASA has collected pieces of an asteroid and the largest sample return from space since the Apollo program.
OSIRIS-REx is about the size of a large van, and it will touch down in a sampling area that is about the size of a few parking spaces — 52 feet in diameter. The area is surrounded by building-sized boulders, which could make the landing a bit more challenging.
Once OSIRIS-REx has landed, a robotic sampling arm will perform Touch-And-Go (TAG) collection. The mission is to collect at least two ounces, or 60 grams, of rocky material. If the first TAG attempt in October does not collect enough material, OSIRIS-REx has