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Earth undergoing climate change.
Oct 24, 2003 Alliant Techsystems performed the first static test of a new five-segment solid rocket booster for the space shuttle. This new booster gives approximately 10% more thrust than the four-segment boosters that the shuttle currently flies with. If these new boosters are installed on the shuttle it would have a few benefits: the shuttle would have enough thrust to still reach orbit if its main engine fails, it won't have to make an emergency landing; or it could be used to let the shuttle carry an additional 10,500 kg of cargo.
Oct 24, 2003 New images of shrinking sea ice may provide further evidence that the Earth is undergoing significant climate change. NASA scientists compared images of arctic sea ice since 1981 and have measured that it's shrinking by an average of 9% per decade - summer sea ice in 2002 was a record low levels. The loss of ice could accelerate global warming because liquid water absorbs sunlight instead of reflecting it like ice.
Oct 24, 2003 A gigantic group of sunspots, 10 times larger than the Earth, have been active on the surface of the Sun for the past few days. Solar Astronomers have spotted several Coronal mass Ejections (CMEs) blasting out of the sunspots, and one of them seems to be coming our way. Once it reaches the Earth, it will interact with the planet's geomagnetic field, and potentially disrupt communications satellites. Beautiful auroras (Northern Lights) will probably be visible, even from middle latitudes. The solar material is expected to sweep past the Earth Friday or Saturday.
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