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NASA/JPL-Caltech/JHUAPL/Univ. of Arizona

A new study co-authored by a Flagstaff researcher deepens the mystery of what happened to Mars’ ancient atmosphere.

Christopher Edwards of the U.S. Geological Survey is the lead author of the study. He examined the idea that Mars once had a thick atmosphere of carbon dioxide that eventually ended up buried, or “sequestered,” underground. His research shows that hypothesis is unlikely.

USDA Forest Service Active Fire Mapping Program

The U.S. Forest Service now has a better view of wildfires from space, thanks to a new agreement with NASA.

The agreement gives wildland fire managers access to data from a satellite imaging system called VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite). In the daytime, VIIRS can theoretically detect a flaming fire just 50 square meters—about the size of a small house. At night, VIIRS can detect a fire five times smaller. That’s an improvement on current technology, called MODIS, which routinely detects wildfires about 1,000 square meters in size.

NASA

  Mankind's first close-up look at Pluto did not disappoint Wednesday: The pictures showed ice mountains on Pluto about as high as the Rockies and chasms on its big moon Charon that appear six times deeper than the Grand Canyon.

Especially astonishing to scientists was the total absence of impact craters in a zoom-in shot of one rugged slice of Pluto. They said that suggests that Pluto is geologically active even now and is being sculpted not by collisions with cosmic debris but by its internal heat.

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