It seems like just last week we were singing the praises of the oft-overlooked Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). Over the weekend, the Mars satellite sporting one of the coolest cameras this side of the asteroid belt announced new data suggesting a surface formation on the Red Planet long held to be an impact crater may have been misinterpreted. The MRO's new analysis of the geology at the 57 mile-wide Mclaughlin Crater turned up evidence that the massive impact formation may have been a Martian lake at one point in its history -- and that the lake may have been fed by plentiful groundwater long ago in the planet's past.
Researchers from the University of Tennessee have found proof for the theory that water present on the surface of the Moon is the product of solar winds. This work not only shows that other teams have been on the right track, but suggests that large, planet like bodies such as asteroids could also house water created by the same process, in which solar winds carry charged hydrogen particles millions of miles to bond with oxygen particles, producing water molecules in unexpected places.
Large swathes of the Greek island of Santorini are covered in pumice from an enormous volcanic explosion thousands of years ago, a major catastrophe of the ancient world. Lately, the volcanic archipelago has seen some more geological rumblings, starting with a series of small earthquakes a couple years ago that marked the first seismic activity seen on the island in more than a quarter of a century. It now appears those quakes brought along some company, in the form of an underground balloon of magma that may be as large as 20 million cubic meters -- so huge, it has raised the surface of the islands as much as 14 centimeters in some areas. Researchers with the University of Bristol published their findings -- like the fact that the idyllic coastline in the photo above may well be a little bit higher now -- this week in the journal Nature Geoscience.