Is time travel even possible? An astrophysicist explains the science behind the science fiction

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New Horizons, scheduled to pass by Pluto July 14, may learn whether the dwarf planet has rings, geysers and perhaps a subsurface ocean. Scientists are unsure if Titan’s ocean is thin and sandwiched between layers of ice or thick, extending down to the moon’s rocky interior.

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Head lice hitched a ride on humans to the Americas at least twice

Heat from the young sun vaporized any ice that dared to come near the inner planets. Earth’s relatively feeble gravity couldn’t grab on to the water vapor, or any other gas for that matter. Water regulates the climate, shapes and reshapes the landscape and is essential to life.

years ago, scientists warned of the ‘neglected dangers’ of heat islands

Only when the team downlinked additional images, captured in the minutes around the encounter, was the true nature of this object revealed. Observations over landcan be collected by weather stations, but the effort is more complicated at sea. In the early 20th century, before the advent of satellites, most maritime weather data were gathered voluntarily by sailors aboard commercial trading ships. Before this project, the observations “had never been seen by anybody else except the people who wrote them,” saysPraveen Teleti, lead researcher on the project and a climate modeler at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom.

Both of these comets are part of a community known as Jupiter family comets. They originated in the Kuiper belt, the ring of icy debris beyond Neptune where Pluto lives. The gravity of first Neptune and then Jupiter gradually nudged these comets into relatively short orbits that bring them closer to the sun. All previous D/H measurements were of comets that hail from the far more distant Oort cloud, a shell of ice fragments that envelops the solar system.

The 19th century saw breakthroughs occur after observing networks developed across several countries. After the development of the computer in the latter half of the 20th century, breakthroughs in weather forecasting were achieved.

Gwynne was the science editor of Newsweek 39 years ago when he pulled together some interviews from scientists and wrote a nine-paragraph story about how the planet was getting cooler. This difference in orientation led to striking differences in insight. Japanese primatologists discovered that male rank was only one factor determining social relationships and group composition.

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This includes a broad range of applied science-related fields, including engineering and medicine. By and large, he added, the U.S. science press has done “a pretty good job” of covering climate change. But “the political press doesn’t check. It tends to do ‘on the one hand, on the other hand.’ A lot of reporters simply will not go into issues like global warming with any understanding that the sides are not equal.” This bombardment of asteroids a few million years after the start of the solar system could have easily delivered enough ice — locked inside the rocks, safe from the sun’s heat — to account for Earth’s oceans, computer simulations indicate. Water makes up to about 20 percent of the mass of some of these asteroids. On Earth, despite having more than 70 percent of its surface blanketed in blue, water accounts for only 0.023 percent of the planet’s mass.

Gwynne, now 72, is a bit chagrinned that from a long career of distinguished science and technology reporting, he is most remembered for this one story. It is commonly said that scientists should have a professional distance from what they study. To the extent that we can remove our biases and learn from multiple perspectives, we will understand our world better. Productivity and equity are probably the most often cited reasons to attend to diversity in science.

The belief that science has had a positive effect on society correlated strongly with education. Of those with a high school education or less, less than half said that science has had a mostly positive effect on society. That rose to 72 percent among those who completed college and 79 percent for those with a graduate degree. From 2016 to 2021, the portion of US residents who felt science had a mostly positive effect on society hovered within three points of 70 percent. Eight percent now feel that science has had a mostly negative impact, up from a low of just 3 percent in January 2019. The drop is most pronounced for self-identified Republicans and those without a college education.

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