1. On November 12, 2014, more than a decade after launching, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission was positioned to send a probe to the surface of 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, a small comet orbiting the Sun at a distance of hundreds of millions of kilometers. After a tense 7-hour descent (and a 30-minute transmission delay), mission control confirmed that the Philae probe had reached the comet’s surface.

    But Philae could not anchor itself; its harpoons failed to deploy. It ‘bounced’ twice on 67P, finally coming to rest in shadow, where it would be unable to fully recharge once its battery ran out. Rosetta mission scientists raced against time to gather as much data as they could. On November 14 at 7:36 p.m. EST (0036 GMT), Philae went silent, possibly for good.

    Philae lander manager Stephan Ulamec of DLR German Aerospace Agency, said: "Despite the unplanned series of three touchdowns, all of our instruments could be operated and now it's time to see what we've got."

    Comets are time capsules dating back to the earliest days of our solar system, and the data gathered by this mission will help scientists understand the forces that shaped the planets, and may reveal the role played by comets in delivering water and organic molecules to an infant Earth.

    RELATED LINKS

    European Space Agency: Rosetta
    sci.esa.int/rosetta/

    Comet 67P (Churyumov-Gerasimenko)
    livecometdata.com/comets/67p-churyumov-gerasimenko/

    Rosetta: Europe’s Comet Chaser
    dlr.de/dlr/en/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-10394/

    National Space Science Data Center: Philae
    nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftDisplay.do?id=2004-006C

    Rosetta: Understanding Comet Mysteries
    rosetta.jpl.nasa.gov/

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  2. Wildfires, whether ignited by lightning or people, show global patterns that are visible to satellites. In the United States, fire is increasing: on average, millions more acres burn each year than was typical a few decades ago, and fire season is longer. Prolonged drought in the West, provoked by climate change, is encouraging this rise in fire.

    Science Bulletins is a production of the National Center for Science Literacy, Education, and Technology (NCSLET), part of the Department of Education at the American Museum of Natural History. This visualization was supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

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  3. Scientists at the American Museum of Natural History conduct studies all over the world during their annual field seasons. In this episode of "Field Notes," we trek into the jungles of Madagascar with two museum biologists in search of strange and unusual reptiles.

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  4. As the leading greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide is one of the atmosphere’s most closely watched ingredients. The scrutiny began in 1958, when a young geochemist named Charles Keeling began regularly measuring CO2 atop a massive Hawaiian volcano—and discovered some intriguing patterns.

    For a Google+ Hangout with the scientists behind this visualization, educational resources, and more, visit Keeling’s Curve: The Story of CO2 on the Science Bulletins website: amnh.org/explore/science-bulletins/(watch)/earth/visualizations/keeling-s-curve-the-story-of-co2

    Science Bulletins is a production of the National Center for Science Literacy, Education, and Technology (NCSLET), part of the Department of Education at the American Museum of Natural History. This visualization was supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

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  5. NASA’s Gravity and Climate Experiment (GRACE) is an audacious mission to track the impact of climate change on the planet’s vast tracts of freshwater, saltwater, and ice. GRACE’s pair of satellites responds to the gravitational pull of these massive stores, effectively “weighing” Earth’s shifting water resources month by month. The satellites can detect where water is accumulating and drying up on a grand scale—data that were unavailable before. GRACE’s unprecedented view of our water planet could prove critical in the effort to anticipate and manage the consequences of climate change for people worldwide.

    For background information, educational resources and more, visit Grace: Tracking Water from Space on the Science Bulletins website, amnh.org/explore/science-bulletins/(watch)/earth/documentaries/grace-tracking-water-from-space

    Science Bulletins is a production of the National Center for Science Literacy, Education, and Technology (NCSLET), part of the Department of Education at the American Museum of Natural History. This visualization
    was supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

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Science Bulletins

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Explore the natural world with Science Bulletins; our documentary Feature Stories, Data Visualizations, and News updates focus on recent discoveries and new technologies in astrophysics, Earth science, biodiversity, and human health and evolution.

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Explore the natural world with Science Bulletins; our documentary Feature Stories, Data Visualizations, and News updates focus on recent discoveries and new technologies in astrophysics, Earth science, biodiversity, and human health and evolution.

Astro Bulletin highlights the scientists, observatories, and technologies that advance our knowledge of the cosmos.

Earth Bulletin reports recent events and discoveries related to Earth's land, oceans, and atmosphere.

Bio Bulletin covers the ever-evolving diversity of life on Earth and our human footprint on the biosphere.

Human Bulletin explores the science of our species, covering fossil and genetic research on human evolution as well as studies on human health and biology.

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