Solar System Update brings together the work of 19 physicists, astronomers, and climatologists from Europe and the USA in 12 chapters on the sun, the main planets and comets.
The book, co-authored by Dr Philippe Blondel, of the University of Bath, highlights the many recent discoveries and in particular the amount of water, one of the essentials for life, found in the Solar System.
Recent studies have revealed ice in craters on Mercury, the closest planet to the sun, and that liquid water may once have existed on the surface of Mars, and may still be there underground.
In addition, liquid water may exist on moons around Jupiter, in particular Europa, Ganymede and Callisto, underneath a surface of ice.
In his chapter The Habitability of Mars: Past and Present, Thomas McCollom, of the Center for Astrobiology at the University of Colorado, USA, says that though the temperatures on Mars, as low as minus 120 Centigrade, mean that water cannot exist on the surface, there may be a "planet-wide liquid aquifer at some depth in its crust." There is also geological evidence that water has flowed on the surface in the past.
"It seems increasingly apparent that habitable environments very likely exist on Mars today, and may have been considerably more diverse and abundant in the past," he writes.
In his chapter The Icy Moons of Jupiter, Richard Greenberg, of the Department of Planetary Sciences at the University of Arizona, USA, says: "There is an unusually strong motivation to continue to pursue studies of the icy satellites."
He says that three large moons of Jupiter "probably have liquid water layers, and one, Europa, almost certainly has an ocean just below the surface. Naturally liquid water raises the possibility of extraterrestrial life."
However, if the surface ice were very thick, this would cut the water below off from oxygen and sunlight which are important for most forms of life on Earth, and so might have prevented life from developing.
Dr Blondel, who works in the University of Bath's Department of Physics, took 18 months to edit the book, with his co-editor Dr John Mason.
"This book sets out how much water and ice there is in the solar system," said Dr Blondel. "This obviously has implications for our search for extra-terrestrial life.
"By understanding better how the climates of planets like Mars and Venus have evolved, we can understand more about climate change on Earth.
"For instance, the very hot and cloudy climate of Venus is likely to have developed after a runaway greenhouse effect, and the more we know about this the more we can understand some of the challenges caused by our climate change on Earth. "
Tony Trueman | EurekAlert!
Computer model predicts how fracturing metallic glass releases energy at the atomic level
20.07.2018 | American Institute of Physics
What happens when we heat the atomic lattice of a magnet all of a sudden?
18.07.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.07.2018 | Information Technology
20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences