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Travels in Geology: Exploring an icon of Patagonia: Chile's Torres del Paine National Park

Torres del Paine may be off the beaten path near the bottom of South America, but the peaks in the heart of Patagonia are magnets for tourists and rock climbers from around the world.

 
30 Nov 2016

Getting there and getting around Patagonia

Southern Chile has two main gateways, the homey town of Puerto Natales, a 1.5-hour drive from the national park, and Punta Arenas, a small city about 4 hours’ drive to the south. Of the two, Punta Arenas (PUQ) has the larger airport, which hosts regular year-round flights from Santiago on LATAM and Sky Airline, an efficient regional carrier, plus occasional flights from Puerto Montt in Chile’s beautiful Lake District. Flights to Puerto Natales (PNT) only operate during the summer season. There are no direct flights from the U.S. to this region.

30 Nov 2016

Getting There and Getting Around Tumbler Ridge

There are no direct commercial flights into Tumbler Ridge, which is about a 13-hour drive from Vancouver, B.C. However, Air Canada and WestJet fly from Vancouver into nearby Fort St. John, and from there, it is about a two-hour drive to Tumbler Ridge. Regional airline Central Mountain Air also flies from Vancouver into Dawson Creek, about a 90-minute drive from Tumbler Ridge. You can also fly into Edmonton, the capital of Alberta, a 6.5-hour drive, or Grande Prairie, a 2.5-hour drive.

04 Nov 2016

When Earth hit the reset button on life: New research on the Permian-Triassic mass extinction

The Permian-Triassic extinction 252 million years ago extinguished most life on Earth. Recent research weighs in on the kill mechanisms, the timing of the extinctions on land and in the water, and how the environmental degradation of the past may shed light on our current mass extinction.

25 Oct 2016

Travels in Geology: Tumbler Ridge: Finding dinosaurs — and their predecessors and descendants — in northeastern British Columbia

Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark got its start when an 8-year-old found a dinosaur footprint and convinced his father to call the experts. Today, visitors can see an exceptional source of fossils from the Precambrian through the Pleistocene, along with stunning scenery.

18 Oct 2016

Today's weather forecast: Good with a strong chance of improvement

Weather forecasts have improved significantly — roughly one day per decade — since the first numerical, physics-based computer models were implemented in the 1950s. What is needed to continue improving our forecasts?
 
18 Oct 2016

Rosetta mission ends with a bang: But the discoveries will continue

Rosetta crashed onto the surface of a comet on Sept. 30, bringing its mission to an end, though the scientific analysis and discoveries will continue for decades. We examine a few of the biggest surprises and highlights of Rosetta’s scientific journey so far.

30 Sep 2016

What's in a name: Rosetta, Philae, and 67P?

All of the names associated with the Rosetta mission, including the orbiter itself, the lander and all of the place names coined by mission scientists on 67P, refer to ancient Egyptian sites or deities, in homage to the Egyptian origin of the Rosetta Stone and Philae obelisk.

30 Sep 2016

Philae: Achievement and disappointment

Rosetta’s Philae lander made the first landing on the surface of a comet when it touched down on Nov. 12, 2014, three months after Rosetta began orbiting 67P. The landing, though historic, did not go as planned, and Philae was unable to accomplish much of the scientific program that had been scheduled for its 10 instruments.

30 Sep 2016

Rosetta's journey

Launch date: March 2, 2004

Launch place: French Guiana

Launch mass: Rosetta: 2,900 kilograms; Philae: 100 kilograms

Rosetta dimensions: 2.8 x 2.1 x 2.0 meters, plus two 14-meter solar panels

30 Sep 2016

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