If a time machine could take us back 4.6 billion years to the Earths birth, wed see our sun shining 20 to 25 percent less brightly than today. Without an earthly greenhouse to trap the suns energy and warm the atmosphere, our world would be a spinning ball of ice. Life may never have evolved.
But life did evolve, so greenhouse gases must have been around to warm the Earth. Evidence from the geologic record indicates an abundance of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. Methane probably was present as well, but that greenhouse gas doesnt leave enough of a geologic footprint to detect with certainty. Molecular oxygen wasnt around, indicate rocks from the era, which contain iron carbonate instead of iron oxide. Stone fingerprints of flowing streams, liquid oceans and minerals formed from evaporation confirm that 3 billion years ago, Earth was warm enough for liquid water.
Now, the geologic record revealed in some of Earths oldestrocks is telling a surprising tale of collapse of that greenhouse -- and its subsequent regeneration. But even more surprising, say the Stanford scientists who report these findings in the May 25 issue of the journal Geology, is the critical role that rocks played in the evolution of the early atmosphere.
Dawn Levy | Stanford University
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Mangroves and their significance for climate protection
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DESY and MPSD scientists create high-order harmonics from solids with controlled polarization states, taking advantage of both crystal symmetry and attosecond electronic dynamics. The newly demonstrated technique might find intriguing applications in petahertz electronics and for spectroscopic studies of novel quantum materials.
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Nano- and microtechnology are promising candidates not only for medical applications such as drug delivery but also for the creation of little robots or flexible integrated sensors. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) have created magnetic microparticles, with a newly developed method, that could pave the way for building micro-motors or guiding drugs in the human body to a target, like a tumor. The preparation of such structures as well as their remote-control can be regulated using magnetic fields and therefore can find application in an array of domains.
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Due to the special arrangement of its molecules, a new coating made of corn starch is able to repair small scratches by itself through heat: The cross-linking via ring-shaped molecules makes the material mobile, so that it compensates for the scratches and these disappear again.
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The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.
A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...
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