Atmospheric Gases on Other Planets Could Help us Find Alien Life

by Kerry McGowen Have you ever wondered how scientists hunt for alien life on other planets? What are they looking for? Before jumping straight into the search for aliens, scientists look for planets that could support alien life in the first place. However, this is no easy task. In the Milky Way alone, which is the galaxy to which our eight-planet solar system belongs, there … Continue reading Atmospheric Gases on Other Planets Could Help us Find Alien Life

Lightning Strikes Trigger Atmospheric Nuclear Reactions

On February 6th, 2017, four detectors surrounding a nuclear power station in Niigata, Japan simultaneously observed a striking signal. An hour before dawn, the detectors recorded a short burst of light from a lightning strike, which quickly decayed in intensity, and was followed by an afterglow of radiation that lasted for about a minute. These unique signals caused by lightning strikes have been predicted for … Continue reading Lightning Strikes Trigger Atmospheric Nuclear Reactions

Metal On Mars

A recent NASA mission has discovered that the atmosphere on Mars has many similarities to that of Earth. Metal atoms, contained in dust particles, float down from the solar system and become trapped in the atmosphere of a planet. Energetic particles, for example from the Sun, can then rip electrons from the metal atoms, forming ions. Historically, we haven’t known what happens to these ions. Depending on the specifics of the planet in … Continue reading Metal On Mars