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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Asteroid Vesta features mountain bigger than any on Earth

Asteroid Vesta is currently in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Scientists recently discovered a huge mountain on the asteroid Vesta.

A NASA spacecraft orbiting the asteroid Vesta is revealing new details about the huge space rock's surface, including a massive mountain that rises taller than Mt. Everest on Earth.
NASA's Dawn probe has been circling Vesta since mid-July, when it arrived in the asteroid belt that orbits the sun between Mars and Jupiter. So far, Dawn has beamed back surprising views of Vesta that revealed an enormous mountain in the asteroid's southern hemisphere and show that its crater surface is incredibly diverse place.

"We are learning many amazing things about Vesta, which we call the smallest terrestrial planet," Chris Russell, principal investigator of the Dawn mission, said in a statement. "Like Earth, Mars, Venus and Mercury, Vesta has ancient basaltic lava flows on the surface and a large iron core … The south polar mountain is larger than the big island of Hawaii, the largest mountain on Earth, as measured from the ocean floor. It is almost as high as the highest mountain in the solar system, the shield volcano Olympus Mons on Mars."

Global warming a threat to polar bears? Judge orders review of US rule

A judge rules that the US has met its obligations for protecting polar bears, but ordered a review of a special rule that excludes greenhouse gases from the list of threats to the bears.

By Pete Spotts,  October 18, 201

A US district court judge in Washington on Monday rejected arguments from environmental groups that the US Department of Interior was failing to protect polar bears because of its refusal to consider greenhouse gases as one of the threats facing the bears.

The environmentalists had hoped that a ruling in their favor would force the government to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions in order to comply with the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Most scientists agree that greenhouse-gas emissions are causing global warming, and that the rising temperatures are leading to the disappearance of Arctic Ocean ice, which is crucial to the health of polar bear populations.

Overall, the ruling highlights the challenge conservation groups can face as they turn to federal regulators to curb greenhouse-gas emissions.