Snowball Earth episode 2.4 billion years ago was hard on life, but good for modern industrial economy, research shows

For the primitive organisms unlucky enough to be around 2.4 billion years ago, the first global freeze was a real wipeout, likely the worst in the history of life on Earth. Few of the organisms escaped extinction, and those that did were forced into an evolutionary bottleneck that altered the diversity of life for eons.

Thunderstorms found to be an energy source for Jupiter's Great Red Spot

PASADENA-Using data from the Galileo spacecraft currently in orbit around Jupiter, scientists have discovered that thunderstorms beneath the upper cloud cover are supplying energy to the planet's colorful large-scale weather patterns-including the 300-year-old Great Red Spot.

Largest Explosions in the Universe May Come from the Death of Massive Stars

Cosmic gamma-ray bursts, the brightest known explosions in the universe, may come from the fiery deaths of very massive stars in supernova explosions, a team of astronomers said today.

Clare Boothe Luce Professorship Awarded to Caltech

PASADENA—The California Institute of Technology is pleased to announce a recent grant of $498,427, in support of a five-year Clare Boothe Luce Professorship in geobiology from the Henry Luce Foundation. Dr. Dianne Newman has been appointed to the position.

Newman's expertise in microbiology and geochemistry will allow her to explore a wide range of problems, as well as collaborate with a variety of faculty members.

Caltech joins effort to extend capabilities of major observatories

The California Institute of Technology will participate in a multi-institutional effort, funded by the National Science Foundation, to advance the field of adaptive optics, which promises to revolutionize astronomy.

Caltech Question of the Month: If the sun ceased to exist right now, how long would mankind survive?" Would the oceans freeze?

Question: If the sun ceased to exist right now, how long would mankind survive?" Would the oceans freeze?

Submitted by Joseph Canale, La Crescenta.

Answered by Dave Stevenson, George Van Osdol Professor of Planetary Science, Caltech.

The sun provides more than just energy, it provides the gravitational force that keeps us in orbit. But I interpret the question to mean "What if the sun stopped shining?"

Many life-bearing planets could exist in interstellar space, according to Caltech planetary science professor

Long ago in a solar system not at all far away, there could have existed about five to 10 Earth-like planets in Jupiter-crossing orbits.

Lack of Energy Makes Life on Europa Unlikely, Caltech Study Concludes

A new study conducted by California Institute of Technology and Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientists shows that the Europan ocean is unlikely to harbor any life form more complex than single-celled organisms—and maybe not even that.

Earth's water probably didn't come from comets, Caltech researchers say

A new Caltech study of comet Hale-Bopp suggests that comets did not give Earth its water, buttressing other recent studies but contrary to the longstanding belief of many planetary scientists.

Anderson wins National Medal of Science

Don L. Anderson, a professor of geophysics at the California Institute of Technology, has been named a 1998 recipient of the National Medal of Science. The announcement was made at 2:45 p.m. EST today (December 8, 1998) at the White House by President Clinton.


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