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Enceladus "Sea" Mystery Deepens 166

Smivs writes "The BBC reports that an ocean may not be the source of the jets emanating from Saturn's moon Enceladus. Controversial research questions the moon's promise as a target in the search for life beyond Earth. A chemical analysis of Enceladus, led by University of Colorado planetary scientist Nick Schneider, failed to detect sodium, an element scientists say should be present in any body of water that has been in contact with rock for billions of years. Spectral analysis with the Keck Telescope found no sodium in the plumes or in the vapor in orbit around the moon. At stake is whether Saturn's moon could support alien life and is thus a worthy target for a NASA exploratory mission to detect it. Such a mission to Enceladus is one of four currently under review for further development."

Cause of Aurora Borealis Confirmed 172

An anonymous reader writes "There are reports that satellites have aided scientists in confirming why the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) exists. 'New data from NASA's Themis mission, a quintet of satellites launched this winter, found the energy comes from a stream of charged particles from the sun flowing like a current through twisted bundles of magnetic fields connecting Earth's upper atmosphere to the sun. The energy is then abruptly released in the form of a shimmering display of lights.'"

Computer Model Points To the Missing Matter 97

eldavojohn writes "There exists a little-known problem of missing regular matter that has perhaps been overshadowed by the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy. Computer models show that there should be about 40% more regular matter than we see... so where is it? From the article: 'The study indicated a significant portion of the gas is in the filaments — which connect galaxy clusters — hidden from direct observation in enormous gas clouds in intergalactic space known as the Warm-Hot Intergalactic Medium, or WHIM, said CU-Boulder Professor Jack Burns... The team performed one of the largest cosmological supercomputer simulations ever, cramming 2.5 percent of the visible universe inside a computer to model a region more than 1.5 billion light-years across.' This hypothesis will be investigated and hopefully proved/disproved when telescopes are completed in Chile and the Antarctic. The paper will be up for review in this week's edition of the the Astrophysical Journal."

A rock store eventually closed down; they were taking too much for granite.