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November 24 2016

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November 23 2016

November 22 2016

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TMRO 9.38 - Low Earth Orbit Airships

We are joined by John Powell, founder of JPAerospace. 6 years ago we interviewed John on Spacevidcast (now TMRO) and it is fun to see the progress since then. John has an interesting idea for what could be one of the safest ways to get humans to Low Earth Orbit. If he can get balloons moving fast enough!

In Space News we have:
  • Ariane 5 and Soyuz Launches
  • Goes-R Upcoming Launch
  • Shenzhou 11 crew returns to Earth
  • MESSENGER data finds massive valley on Mercury
  • SpaceX tests Fuel Tanks for ITS at sea
  • New evidence supports a subsurface ocean in Pluto
  • Vector Space raises additional funds
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November 21 2016

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Arctic Sea Ice Minimum Volumes 1979-2016

This is an animated visualization of the startling decline of Arctic Sea Ice, showing the minimum volume reached every September since 1979, set on a map of New York with a 10km grid to give an idea of scale. It is clear that the trend of Arctic sea ice decline indicates that it'll soon be ice-free for an increasingly large part of the year, with consequences for the climate.

The rate of ice loss in the Arctic is staggering. Since 1979, the volume of Summer Arctic sea ice has declined by more than 80% and accelerating faster than scientists believed it would, or even could melt. [...]

About the data: Sea Ice Volume is calculated using the Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS, Zhang and Rothrock, 2003) developed at APL/PSC. Source data for this graph is available from
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November 20 2016

I've hesitated for the past days to post this chart, simply because it's so extraordinary, and requires at least some more corroboration than twitter replies. Now Kaitlyn Tiffany wrote a post on The Verge with a good summary of what's going on. Yes, the data is real, the chart seems to be correct. The only debatable issue seems to be whether it is scientifically helpful to combine arctic and antarctic measurements of sea ice areas, which are as independent as they can be on a planet - but it's still the same planet, undergoing rapid global environmental changes currently.
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November 19 2016

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November 18 2016

November 17 2016

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