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1 July 2020
How to design continents for maximum tides
A new study simulates ocean tides on imaginary Earth-like worlds, revealing the limits of topography’s influence on tidal energy
16 December 2015
Problematic asteroids could be pushed off course by gentle thrusts
When faced with the threat of large Earth-bound asteroids, some have suggested deflecting the rocky bodies by striking them with large objects. Others prefer to nuke them. But planetary astronomer Michael Busch takes a less violent approach: he suggests we deflect dangerous asteroids without ever touching them.
Busch, an astronomer at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute in Mountain View, California, studies gravity tractors: special spacecraft designed to pull problem asteroids away from destructive trajectories and onto benign paths. He said the technology could come alive within the next decade through NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission. Busch presented his team’s research on gravity tractors at the 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco.
13 January 2014
Earth could remain habitable far longer than previously thought
Our distant descendants may one day need to flee to other planets to escape fatally hot temperatures and boiling seas from a long-predicted and inexorable intensification of our Sun’s heat. A grim prospect. But, some good news, indicated by a study published Jan. 10, is that habitable places could remain on Earth for much longer than scientists had previously thought. That might mean more time for humanity to adapt to …
12 December 2013
What to expect when the sun’s ejecting: forecasting space weather from coronal mass ejections
When whorls of plasma clouds erupt away from the sun in events known as coronal mass ejections, the portions that reach Earth can create terrestrial spectacles. These sun storms fuel stunning auroras in the night sky, but they can also foul up communication networks and Global Positioning Systems. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a method to better forecast these storms before they hit Earth.