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Environment

ESA's Mars Express orbiter has captured images that may indicate the presence of supervolcanoes on the surface of Mars. If the findings are later confirmed, the existence of these leviathan volcanoes may greatly inform current theories on climate formation, as eruptions from the supervolcanoes could have dramatically altered the Martian global environment.

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Less than four months after lift-off, testing on NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory is complete, and science operations have begun. The data recorded by the mission, which will give rise to more accurate weather forecasting, will now be subject to a year of validation against existing measurements.

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NASA satellite measurements have contributed to the first ever study focusing on the current status of 11 species of Arctic marine mammals, all of which depend on sea ice to survive. The study, which revealed details on ice loss in the region, made use of more than 35 years worth of archived satellite data. Read More
ESA's Sentinel-2A satellite has arrived safely in French Guiana, ahead of its June 12 launch atop a Vega rocket. It was carried in the belly of an enormous Russian-made Antonov cargo plane, and protected within a specially-constructed air conditioned habitat. Once operational, the satellite will represent a cornerstone of the agency's Copernicus program, which is striving to revolutionize how we observe and understand our environment, and how we may be able to tackle the detrimental effects of climate change. Read More
At Stanford University in California, it’s normally the Nobel-winning researchers who make the news. But with the commissioning of a novel renewable energy system, the campus’s humble heating and cooling system has grabbed some headlines. Using a first-of-its-kind heat recovery system, and drawing a substantial percentage of its electricity from solar, the university is greening up its operations in a move that will see greenhouse gas emissions cut by 68 percent and fossil fuel use cut by 65 percent. Read More
Audi is looking to fuel the future without fossil fuels. One of the company's pilot plants in Germany has just produced the first batches of a synthetic diesel made using only water and air. The company's pilot plant, which is operated by German startup Sunfire, produced its first batches of the "e-diesel" this month. German Federal Minister of Education and Research Johanna Wanka put a few liters of the fuel in her work car, an Audi A8, to commemorate the accomplishment. Read More
The UK's Crossrail project is said to be Europe's largest construction project. What's more, the earth excavated to construct its tunnels is being used to develop one of Europe's largest nature reserves. Wallasea Island in Essex has recently received its final shipment of Crossrail earth. Read More
Trees may be a renewable resource, but the rate of this renewal may not meet the increasing demand for plant biomass. But now researchers at the University of Manchester have potentially found a way to boost tree stocks by using gene manipulation to increase the size and growth rate of trees. Read More
For over 40 years, Landsat has quietly but consistently been taking images of the surface of the Earth, amassing an impressive collection of data about our planet. This month, NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announced that the effort would continue to span the generations, by moving forward with the development and planned launch of LandSat 9 in 2023. Read More
An eco-town described as the UK's "most sustainable development" is moving closer to being occupied. The first residents are expected to move into North West Bicester later this year. Planning permission has also just been granted for up to 2,600 homes in the next stage of the project. Read More
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