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Moon May Harbor Ancient Pieces Of Venus’ Surface

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Two Yale University researchers have found a potential shortcut in sampling Venus’ ancient surface. Instead of sending a probe on a costly and extraordinarily challenging Venus sample return mission, they propose simply finding a Venusian meteorite on our own Moon.

There’s never been a bona fide detection of a Venusian meteorite on Earth. For one reason, that’s because in the last several hundred million years at least, Venus’ atmospheric pressures have been so intense that even a catastrophic impactor could not dislodge any Venusian rocks into space. 

But before Venus underwent a runaway greenhouse and morphed into the climatic hellhole it is today, it may have had liquid water oceans as late as 700 million years ago. If so, its atmosphere would have been thin enough for surface rocks to have been dislodged by massive impactors and possibly have found their way to both the Earth and our Moon. 

Due to weathering here on Earth, Venusian meteorites on Earth wouldn’t survive long. But because our Moon has no atmosphere, the authors of a paper accepted by The Planetary Science Journal posit that the Moon may have be the ideal spot to preserve Venus meteorites. 

Lead author Samuel Cabot and co-author Gregory Laughlin investigated the amount of material ejected from Venus when it suffered past impacts from asteroids and comets, and then traced the orbits of the rocks throughout the Solar System. They found that a small (but still significant) fraction of rocks ejected from Venus will be swept up by Earth’s Moon. 

Today, due to Venus’ thick atmosphere, even a catastrophic impactor would not

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Perseverance Rover will peer beneath Mars’ surface

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Perseverance Rover Will Peer Beneath Mars' Surface
Perseverance’s Radar Imager for Mars’ Subsurface Experiment (RIMFAX) uses radar waves to probe the ground, revealing the unexplored world that lies beneath the Martian surface. The first ground-penetrating radar set on the surface of Mars, RIMFAX can provide a highly detailed view of subsurface structures down to at least 30 feet (10 meters) underground. In doing so, the instrument will reveal hidden layers of geology and help find clues to past environments on Mars, especially those with conditions necessary for supporting life. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/FFI

After touching down on the Red Planet Feb. 18, 2021, NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover will scour Jezero Crater to help us understand its geologic history and search for signs of past microbial life. But the six-wheeled robot won’t be looking just at the surface of Mars: The rover will peer deep below it with a ground-penetrating radar called RIMFAX.


Unlike similar instruments aboard Mars orbiters, which study the planet from space, RIMFAX will be the first ground-penetrating radar set on the surface of Mars. This will give scientists much higher-resolution data than space-borne radars can provide while focusing on the specific areas that Perseverance will explore. Taking a more focused look at this terrain will help the rover’s team understand how features in Jezero Crater formed over time.

Short for Radar Imager for Mars’ Subsurface Experiment, RIMFAX can provide a highly detailed view of subsurface structures down to at least 30 feet (10 meters) underground. In doing so, the instrument will reveal hidden layers of geology and help find clues to past environments on Mars, especially those that may have provided the conditions necessary for supporting life.

“We take an image of the subsurface directly beneath the rover,” said Svein-Erik Hamran, the instrument’s principal investigator, with the University of Oslo in Norway. “We can do

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Hidden Beneath the Ocean’s Surface, Nearly 16 Million Tons of Microplastic

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Plastic waste has long been a visible — and growing — problem in oceans around the world, with refuse littering the shorelines of once-pristine beaches, stretching out across a wide expanse of sea in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and threatening sea life that ingest it.

A new report offers a glimpse of one of the impacts below the surface of the ocean: the scale of microplastics building up on the ocean floor. In what researchers called the first such global estimate, Australia’s national science agency says that 9.25 million to 15.87 million tons of microplastics — fragments measuring between five millimeters and one micrometer — are embedded on the sea floor.

That is far more than on the ocean’s surface and it is the equivalent of 18 to 24 shopping bags full of small plastic fragments for every foot of coastline on every continent except for Antarctica.

It is an issue that activists have long warned about even as the fight to clean up the ocean has focused largely on the eradication of single-use plastic products like shopping bags.

The findings were published on Monday in a new study by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, or C.S.I.R.O.

“It really points to the ubiquity of the problem. It is really everywhere all the time and increasing,” Britta Denise Hardesty, a principal scientist for C.S.I.R.O. and an author of the study, said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

Microplastics are not confined to the ocean. They are also found in air particles and can be spread by wind. A variety of microplastics was even detected in the human gut.

In recent years, hundreds of plastic objects have been found in the bellies of dead whales around the world.

While cities have banned plastic bags and straws, the use of