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Mars Odyssey spacecraft discovered water.
With all this talk of global warming, it may come as a surprise that Antarctica has actually been mostly getting colder over the last 30 years. But new research from NASA indicates that this trend is about to reverse, and the continent will warm over the next 50 years. Researchers found, ironically, that low ozone levels actually made the continent colder, but with restrictions on ozone-destroying chemicals around the planet, this cooling effect is going to go away as the ozone layer returns. If temperatures rise too high, the continent's ice sheets will melt and slide into the ocean, raising water levels around the world.
Researchers from Indiana University have found that under Mars-like conditions, Epsom-like salts can contain a significant amount of water. This could help explain why NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft discovered a large amount of water near the surface of Mars, but it's not visible. To get to the bottom of this possibility, the researchers have been funded by NASA to help build an X-ray diffractometer, which a future rover would use to analyze crystals on Mars to see if they're the right kind of salt that could contain water.
The closest stars to our solar system probably haven't been discovered because it's likely they're of a cool, dim class of failed stars called brown dwarfs. But a new mission from NASA called the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has recently been approved for development, and it should be able to locate them. Scheduled for launch in 2008, and costing $208 million, WISE will scan the entire sky in infrared, looking for brown dwarfs, planet-forming disks around nearby stars, and colliding galaxies. Eventually it will build up a database of more than one million images, containing hundreds of millions of objects.
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