Magnetised regions on the far side of the Moon have been found to deflect the solar wind, shielding the Moon’s surface (presented last Friday, 24th September, at an EPS meeting in Rome). Airless bodies interact with the solar wind quite differently than the earth, for example. The surface may be pockmarked by meteoroids for instance, and in the case of the Moon, covered by weathered regolith. However, energy particles from within the Moon cause up to one fifth of the solar wind to reflect from the surface back into space, and in addition, when the solar wind comes into contact with magnetised regions of the surface of the Moon it seems to fail to be driven away. Hence, magnetic anomalies shield the surface of the Moon- where such areas exist (see www.physorg.com/print204832803.html ).
At www.physorg.com204832802.html we have a report on the similarities between lightning on the Earth and lightning on Venus – captured by the Venus Express spacecraft (and published in Planetary and Space Science).
At www.dailygalaxy.com Sept 27th … Saturn’s newly discovered outer ring is so big it could hold one billion earth sized objects. It is composted of ice and fine grained dust and is very thin. This is why it has not been detected until recently – by the Spitzer camera. For images visit www.spitzer.caltech.edu or www.nasa.gov/spitzer
Casey Kazan (also at www.dailygalaxy.com Sept 27th) has a piece with the title, ‘Was complex life on earth chemically jump started?’ … when geological events caused large quantities of phosphorous to outwash into the oceans. Phosphorous is an element in all living cells – DNA, RNA and ATP. Dominic Papineau has suggested higher levels of phosphorous created algal blooms which pumped oxygen into the environment and allowed complex organisms to thrive. Phosphate rocks seem to have formed sporadically in geological history, he says, coinciding it would seem with major global biogeochemical changes and significant loops in biological evolution.