This week in science: Ice, ice, baby

FX dinos on ice are hilarious and cute. But on the distant ice-rink world of Europa, scientists are pouring over images and finding the Jovian moon is swaddled in frozen over oceans that breathe, at least a little, and that’s one of the things I wrote about this week:

The core of Europa could well be hot enough that it resembles a less energetic version of Io. Europa could harbor a paradise for the same kinds of hardy, extremophile bacteria that support deep-sea communities on earth, similar to the way their evolutionary cousins, the chloroplasts, support living communities above.

As always the Bad astronomer has more including some great images of the alien arctic, along with some cool hi res video of mighty Jupiter itself, and a psychedelic storm on Saturn for good measure.

  • I have no idea what’s going on with neutrinos at CERN these days. But I’m a leader not a reader, and in that sweet GOP-esque state of expert ignorance, I’m wholly confident in being skeptical that the little suckers are going super-luminal — btw if you quote me on that you’re lying.
  • The Black Rhino may be no more; it has been pronounced extinct or beyond hope of saving in the wild. But we are still finding new species of critters, some cute and cuddly, and some kind of intimidating.
  • A super light material of surprising strength has been created by US research engineers using nano-tubes and micro-architecture. How light is it? So light it can sit atop a puffy dandelion.
  • Neuroscience is certainly nearing a climax, as this three-d map built using an active MRI of a female brain during orgasm indicates … it’s science I promise!
  • NASA’s 2012 budget encompassed by H.R. 2112 was passed by the House and Senate, and signed by the President yesterday. Spaceref.com has the links and highlights. Here’s some insider sausage making:

    Provided further, That $ 100,000,000 of the funds provided for commercial spaceflight activities shall only be available after the NASA Administrator certifies to the Committees on Appropriations, in writing, that NASA has published the required notifications of NASA contract actions implementing the acquisition strategy for the heavy lift launch vehicle system …




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