Category Archives: Nature

Researchers put pristine Antarctic peninsula at risk

Men and women wanted for hazardous duty. Small wages. Bitter cold. Long months of complete darkness. Compensations include off-road driving, penguin spotting and no-hassle waste disposal.

That could be a job advertisement for station staff at Fildes Peninsula Antarctic research stations. It’s not as noble as the apocryphal advertisement for explorer Ernest Shackleton’s expedition in the early twentieth century, which promised honour and recognition, but then some of the site’s modern occupants deserve neither, according to a report released last month by Germany’s Federal Environment Agency.

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European ministers back research-buddy plan

Europe’s leading scientific institutions could work with less-developed regions to create a new type of research centre, suggests a proposal backed by science ministers last week.

Under the ‘teaming’ proposal, the partners would put forward joint business plans to bid for European Union (EU) start-up funds as part of Horizon 2020, the EU research funding programme for 2014–20, which will replace the current Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) after it expires next year. Ministers gave their backing for the general structure of Horizon 2020 last June. Continue reading

Ice may lurk in shadows beyond Moon’s poles

Water ice on the moon may be more widespread  than previously thought. Permanent shadows have been spotted far from the lunar poles, expanding the number of sites that would be good candidates for exploration by robotic rovers — or even for the locations of lunar bases.

Researchers have known for decades that the Moon’s poles host craters with lofty rims that shield their floors from sunlight, so searches for shadowed areas harbouring water ice have focused on the poles. But over the past few months, researchers have built a catalogue of permanently shadowed regions elsewhere on the Moon.

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