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March 26, 2013

Carnival of Space 294

The Carnival of Space 294 is up at Dear Astronomer

The Meridiani Journal wonders Are alien oceans common?

One of the unique characteristics of Earth which sets it apart from other known planets is its oceans. Such large bodies of surface water have not yet been found elsewhere, although a number of moons, including Europa, Enceladus and Titan and possibly others, are thought to have subsurface oceans and or seas.

As it turns out however, water oceans may be common on rocky planets, at least in their early stages of formation, according to a new study announced on March 18, 2013 at the 44th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, Texas.

The process is relatively simple: the water for the oceans comes from the original material clumping together to form the planets, according to Elkins-Tanton (water from comets may be a secondary source). First, water evaporates out of the hot, molten rock which the young planet is initially composed of. The released water then forms a thick, steamy atmosphere. Later, as the planet gradually cools and hardens, that atmosphere collapses, allowing the water to collect on the surface as an ocean.

If rocky worlds tend to at least start out with oceans though, that would increase the chances of life being able to gain a foothold. “Habitability is going to be much more common than we had previously thought,” according to Elkins-Tanton.




The Venus Transit - Until recently I thought that Venus is the only planet visible in daylight... Wrong! Jupiter can be seen as well

Astroblogger - When the Coronal Mass Ejection from the 15th of March hit, not only were there spectacular displays in the Northern Hemisphere, but the Aurora Australis put on a good show as well.

Nextbigfuture- The Spacex Merlin 1D has been space qualified and it will improve the Spacex Falcon 9 v1.1 to launch 25% more

Nextbigfuture- An interview from the Fall of 2012 with John Slough on his Direct Fusion Rocket project

Nextbigfuture- All of the videos from the NASA innovative advanced concepts spring symposium. Interesting projects covered like Spider Fab for making up to 1 kilometer diameter structures in space and tethers for launching nanosatellites into deep space


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