One Wobbly Thing: The Earth’s Shifting Axis

Image: NASA Jet Propulsion Lab

A study published recently in the journal Geophysical Research Letters found that the Earth’s axis, which shifts naturally, is now shifting 17 times faster than before 1981. Scientists use satellites that track gravity to assess “polar drift” and what they have discovered is that water is the greatest cause of the shifts.  Even more unnerving is the authors’ finding that the poles actually began moving in a new direction quite suddenly and rapidly starting in 2000. This speed-up in the shifting of the poles had been identified in prior research, which attributed it to ice loss in Greenland and West Antarctica as well as the pumping and use of groundwater.  Experts said it is another sign of the ways that man is fundamentally altering the planet.

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Space Tourism — the Final Commercial Frontier — Blasts Off This Summer

Jeff Bezos’ commercial space venture, Blue Origin, plans to launch its first crewed ship to space on July 20, aboard its suborbital space tourism rocket, New Shepard. The company announced on Wednesday that one seat aboard that flight will be auctioned off to support its Club for the Future Foundation

Why this Matters:  After much anticipation, space tourism is finally happening.  Really. 

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One Space Thing: NASA’s Big Week

Last week was so busy with what was happening on Earth, there was hardly time to talk about what happened in space.  To start the week, NASA launched a helicopter (named Ingenuity) on Mars — it did not just roll like the Perserverence rover — it flew and that was an amazing first that would […]

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The Supermoon Is More Than Pretty, It’s Powerful

The Supermoon Is More Than Pretty, It’s Powerful

Don’t underestimate the power of the moon. Super full moons like the one last night happen when the moon is closest to Earth, and they bring higher tides. For coastal cities like Miami or Boston or Norfolk, high tides also mean an increased risk of flooding.

Why This Matters: “In short, the moon has very strong control over how we experience sea level. It doesn’t affect sea-level rise, but it can hide or exaggerate it,” writes Brian McNoldy, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

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