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Earth and Space Highlights From LPI: December 2013

I get a monthly mailing from the Lunar and Planetary Institute. I thought it would be fun to share a few highlights each month with you.

Planetarium Shows Available to Watch Online 
These shows were first developed for established planetariums by Rice University and the Houston Museum of Natural Science, but are available to watch free online. There are dozens of topics include a new asteroid and comet show, “IMPACT!”

The shows are in fisheye view online because they are previews for shows intended to be shown with fisheye projectors under an inflatable dome.

“Space Weather” Software Available Free Online 
Space Weather software is a treasure trove of material about space weather, the auroras, heliospheric missions, and the sun. It allows one-click updating of the solar and auroral imaging and space weather forecasts. Free downloads of portions of the program are now available online.

Haven’t tried the software yet, but it looks useful for those of us monitoring the Sun.

Salty Water on Mars? 
NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has observed slender dark markings that advance seasonally down slopes on Mars, near the Martian equator. These observations are forcing scientists to re-evaluate how dry the Martian equator is; the best explanation for the dark markings is salty water that flows down the slopes as the temperature rises.

I’d love for this to be confirmed one way or the other. A place with actual liquid water would be stop number one for a probe specifically equipped to detect current life as we know it.

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