A chemical engineer who normally develops new ways to fabricate microprocessors in computers has figured out how to explain a nagging mystery in space - why comets expel oxygen gas, the same gas we humans breathe.
Explorers planning to settle on Mars might be able to turn the planet's red soil into bricks without needing to use an oven or additional ingredients. Instead, they would just need to apply pressure to compact the soil - the equivalent of a blow from a hammer.
Scientists propose that a universal mechanism can explain the whole spectrum of solar eruptions. They used 3-D computer simulations to demonstrate that a variety of eruptions can theoretically be thought of as the same kind of event, only in different sizes and manifested in different ways.
New surveys of the Milky Way found no aging trend for the element silicon, a fundamental building block of rocks throughout our solar system. This 'ageless' appearance may mean that the Milky Way is more efficient at mixing its contents than previously thought, thereby masking the telltale signs of chemical aging.
New data from NASA's Cassini mission, combined with measurements from the two Voyager spacecraft and the Interstellar Boundary Explorer, or IBEX, suggests that our sun and planets are surrounded by a giant, rounded system of magnetic field from the sun - calling into question the alternate view of the solar magnetic fields trailing behind the sun in the shape of a long comet tail.