Science Scanner: Sea Salt on Europa; Natural Sunblock; ISS Crew Return Delayed

Posted May 13th, 2015 at 6:01 pm (UTC-5)
3 comments

The unique surface of Jupiter's moon Europa can be seen in this reprocessed color view, made from images taken by NASA's Galileo spacecraft in the late 1990s. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute)

The unique surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa can be seen in this reprocessed color view, made from images taken by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft in the late 1990s. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute)

Sea Salt Covers Parts of Europa’s Surface

Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory found evidence that the dark material that covers parts of the surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa is probably sea salt produced by an ocean beneath its surface.

The researchers believe that the existence of sea salt on the moon’s icy surface implies that its sub-surface ocean is intermingling with its seafloor – something they say is a significant factor in determining if Europa can actually support life.

But this sea salt is discolored. Scientists said Jupiter’s strong magnetic field blasts Europa with a powerful force similar to what would be produced by a particle accelerator. It is believed that, as a result, the radiation discolored the salt, leaving it with a dark hue.

A study on the researcher’s investigation and findings has been accepted for publication in the journal Geophysical Research Letters and can be found online.

 

Research has discovered that some animals can produce their own sunscreen. (Cartoon by A.J. Hall/Creative Commons)

Research has discovered that some animals produce their own sunscreen. (Cartoon by A.J. Hall/Creative Commons)

Naturally-Produced Sunblock Protects Some Animals From Sunburn 

Did you ever wonder why certain animal species can spend their entire lives outdoors without getting a bad sun burn?

That’s because animals, including many species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, and birds naturally produce their own natural sunscreen.

Scientists from Oregon State University said the animals naturally produce a compound called gadusol, which provides a degree of protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.

Unfortunately, mammals, including humans, don’t have the ability to produce this sun-blocking mixture.

 

Secondary school students attending their graduation ceremony (Nic McPhee/Creative Commons)

Secondary school students attending their graduation ceremony (Nic McPhee/Creative Commons)

Taking a Break between Secondary School and College? It’s Okay

Researchers at the Academy of Finland have some encouraging news for graduating secondary school students who want to take some time off before enrolling in college and parents concerned that a hiatus between high school and college could spell failure for their student

Taking a year off between secondary school graduation and beginning college does not weaken a young person’s enthusiasm to study, say the researchers, nor does it impact overall academic performance once the college term begins.

The researchers say those who do begin their college education immediately after secondary school graduation were more resilient in their studies and more committed to their study goals.

 

NASA astronaut Terry Virts (left) Commander of Expedition 43 on the International Space Station along with crewmates Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov (center) and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti on May 6, 2015 (NASA)

NASA astronaut Terry Virts (left) Commander of Expedition 43 on the International Space Station along with crewmates Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov (center) and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti on May 6, 2015 (NASA)

ISS Crewmembers Return to Earth Delayed

NASA said the schedule for space traffic to and from the International Space Station must be adjusted following initial investigative findings by the Russian Federal Space Agency – Roscosmos – on the recent loss of the Progress 59 re-supply spacecraft.

While exact dates of the modified schedule haven’t yet been determined, NASA plans to do so within the coming weeks.

The schedule change means that the return of ISS expedition 43 crewmembers Terry Virts, Samantha Cristoforetti and Anton Shkaplerov will be delayed until at least early June.

Roscosmos continues its investigation of the Progress mishap and is expected to provide an update on Friday, May 22.

Rick Pantaleo
Rick Pantaleo maintains the Science World blog and writes stories for VOA’s web and radio on a variety of science, technology and health topics. He also occasionally appears on various VOA programs to talk about the latest scientific news. Rick joined VOA in 1992 after a 20 year career in commercial broadcasting.

3 responses to “Science Scanner: Sea Salt on Europa; Natural Sunblock; ISS Crew Return Delayed”

  1. Aadan says:

    I love to read your thoughts & really admire your views.

  2. AC says:

    what!!!! ISIS in space???

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