Stories by Andrew Freedman

Rapid global warming is bringing unprecedented changes to Arctic

Arctic surface air temperature anomalies during 2018, which was the second-warmest year on record in the region.
Arctic surface air temperature anomalies during 2018, which was the second-warmest year on record in the region. Credit: Climate.gov

In yet another disconnect between the Trump administration's science findings and its climate policies, a new report released Tuesday found that rapid Arctic climate change has pushed the region into "uncharted territory," with a host of sweeping changes that are transforming the vast area.

Why it matters: The Arctic contains some of the most productive fisheries in the world, and it acts as the Northern Hemisphere's refrigerator, supplying most of the frigid air that invades the U.S., Europe and Asia during winter. As the report lays out, some scientists have shown that the rapidly warming Arctic is altering weather patterns in the mid-latitudes, contributing to deadly extreme events.

NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft enters interstellar space

Artist illustration of the heliosphere and interstellar space.
This illustration shows the position of NASA’s Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 probes. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

NASA's Voyager 2 probe has reached interstellar space at about 11 billion miles from Earth, making it only the second human-made object to do so, according to the space agency.

Why it matters: Voyager 2, which joins its twin Voyager 1 in crossing the heliopause (the boundary between the hot solar wind and cold, interstellar space), will provide scientists with crucial observations about the kinds of particles and forces the spacecraft encounters, such as cosmic rays. This is huge, given that a key instrument aboard Voyager 1 stopped working before that spacecraft crossed the boundary.

NASA spacecraft discovers evidence of water on the asteroid Bennu

Views of the asteroid Bennu from the spacecraft OSIRIS-REx, as the craft approached the asteroid.
Views of the asteroid Bennu from the spacecraft OSIRIS-REx. Credit: NASA/Goddard via the University of Arizona

NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, which has intercepted the near-Earth asteroid Bennu, has recently found molecular evidence of water locked deep inside the asteroid, NASA said Monday.

Why it matters: This is NASA’s first asteroid sample return mission, and analyzing Bennu could provide scientists with a trove of new information about the asteroid's composition and ultimately lead to new discoveries about how life evolved in the universe. Asteroids are time capsules of the early solar system and are believed to contain information about the origins of planets and the natural resources that enabled life to develop.

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