Planet Earth

The Surface of the Moon is so Abrasive it can cut Through Kevlar

moondust1On Earth we have we have winds that blow particles around and water that erodes and breaks down rock and other hard materials. These two elements work in conjunction to wear down particles over millions of years into an almost spherical shape. For example if you were to look at sand from a beach on Earth under a microscope you would find the grains to be predominantly smooth and round. This process is called erosion.

The Moon, however, has no atmosphere, as such it has no wind and no oceans, rivers or rain. It has none of the tools that Earth uses to grind away at the rough edges of particles to make them smooth like our sand and soil. As a result of this, the dust that covers the surface of the Moon is razor-sharp, made up of microscopic stone and powered glass from millions of years of meteorites slamming into the surface at high velocities. The particles that form from the shards that break off from these impacts are far from spherical, they have jagged sharp angles, with microscopic hooks that jut out in all directions and with nothing to change them they remain this way forever…or until a man in a spacesuit decides to step on the surface and disturb them.

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Planet Earth

Antarctica is the Worlds Largest Desert

West_Antarctic_ice_sheetWhen you think of a desert you probably think of sand, camels and searing hot sun. However a desert is defined by having lower than 25 centimetres of precipitation (either through rainfall or snow/ice) per year, there are many deserts in the world that are polar deserts, places that are so cold that they receive very little rainfall each year. The largest of these is the continent of Antarctica.

Antarctica receives on average 50 mm of precipitation per year, mainly in the form of snow and spans the near 14,000,000 kilometres of the continent, nearly as large as the USA. In comparison the second largest desert in the world, The Sahara Desert in northern Africa is 9,400,000 km. The Sahara is the more commonly known desert as it fits the stereotypical characteristics that we would think of when considering a desert, but is nowhere near as large as Antarctica.

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Planet Earth

The Longest Canyon in the World was Only Discovered Last Year

canyon_1567918aThe grandest canyon in the world may not be the one you may have heard of. In 2013 researchers discovered a canyon in the world that was, in fact, over 50% longer than the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA. How did we not discover such a massive canyon until very recently? Simple. It was buried under a 2 km deep ice sheet in Greenland.

Tentatively named the “Grand Canyon of Greenland”, scientists from the university of Bristol have described the discovery as a mega-canyon. The canyon is more than 750  kilometers (466 miles) long, comparatively the Grand Canyon in Arizona is 446 kilometres (277 miles) long and no other canyon on earth comes close to its length.

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