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New NASA Artemis Instruments to Study Volcanic Terrain on the Moon


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      The six instruments ceased science and technology operations eight days after landing in the lunar South Pole region aboard Intuitive Machines’ Odysseus, meeting pre-launch projected mission operations. Known as IM-1, this was the first U.S. soft landing on the Moon in decades, touching down on Feb. 22, proving commercial vendors can deliver instruments designed to expand the scientific and technical knowledge on the Moon.
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      Some 74,000 years ago, the Toba volcano in Indonesia exploded with a force 1,000 times more powerful than the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. The mystery is what happened after that – namely, to what degree that extreme explosion might have cooled global temperatures.
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      McGraw and colleagues set out to understand what was driving the divergence in model temperature estimates because “models are the main tool for understanding climate shifts that happened too long ago to leave clear records of their severity.” They settled on a variable that can be difficult to pin down: the size of microscopic sulfur particles injected miles high into the atmosphere.
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      By simulating super-eruptions over a range of particle sizes, the researchers found that super-eruptions may be incapable of altering global temperatures dramatically more than the largest eruptions of modern times. For instance, the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines caused about a half-degree drop in global temperatures for two years.
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      By Sally Younger
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      NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
      sally.m.younger@jpl.nasa.gov
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      Last Updated Mar 01, 2024 LocationJet Propulsion Laboratory Related Terms
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