Low-gravity environment can have a profound impact on the behaviors of biological systems, the dynamics of fluids, and the growth of materials. Systematic research on the effects of gravity is crucial for advancing our knowledge and for the success of space missions. Due to the high cost and the limitations in the payload size and mass in typical spaceflight missions, ground-based low-gravity simulators have become indispensable for preparing spaceflight experiments and for serving as stand-alone research platforms. Among various simulator systems, the magnetic levitation-based simulator (MLS) has received long-lasting interest due to its easily adjustable gravity and practically unlimited operation time. However, a recognized issue with MLSs is their highly non-uniform force field. For a solenoid MLS, the functional volume V1%, where the net force results in an acceleration
Determining the presence or absence of a past long-lived lunar magnetic field is crucial for understanding how the Moon’s interior and surface evolved. Here, we show that Apollo impact glass associated with a young 2 million–year–old crater records a strong Earth-like magnetization, providing evidence that impacts can impart intense signals to samples recovered from the Moon and other planetary bodies. Moreover, we show that silicate crystals bearing magnetic inclusions from Apollo samples formed at ∼3.9, 3.6, 3.3, and 3.2 billion years ago are capable of recording strong core dynamo–like fields but do not. Together, these data indicate that the Moon did not have a long-lived core dynamo. As a result, the Moon was not sheltered by a sustained paleomagnetosphere, and the lunar regolith should hold buried 3He, water, and other volatile resources acquired from solar winds and Earth’s magnetosphere over some 4 billion years. The Moon lacked a long-lived magnetic field of internal origin, and this allowed solar wind volatiles to accumulate in its soils. The Moon lacked a long-lived magnetic field of internal origin, and this allowed solar wind volatiles to accumulate in its soils.
Terrestrial planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars) are differentiated into three layers: a metallic core, a silicate shell (mantle and crust), and a volatile envelope of gases, ices, and, for the Earth, liquid water. Each layer has different dominant elements (e.g., increasing iron content with depth and increasing oxygen content to the surface). Chondrites, the building blocks of the terrestrial planets, have mass and atomic proportions of oxygen, iron, magnesium, and silicon totaling ≥ 90% and variable Mg/Si (∼ 25%), Fe/Si (factor of ≥2), and Fe/O (factor of ≥ 3). What remains an unknown is to what degree did physical processes during nebular disk accretion versus those during post-nebular disk accretion (e.g., impact erosion) influence these planets final bulk compositions. Here we predict terrestrial planet compositions and show that their core mass fractions and uncompressed densities correlate with their heliocentric distance, and follow a simple model of the magnetic field strength in the protoplanetary disk. Our model assesses the distribution of iron in terms of increasing oxidation state, aerodynamics, and a decreasing magnetic field strength outward from the Sun, leading to decreasing core size of the terrestrial planets with radial distance. This distribution enhances habitability in our solar system and may be equally applicable to exoplanetary systems.
The Tulare Basin in Central California is a site of intensive agricultural activity and extraction of groundwater, with pronounced ground subsidence and degradation of water resources over the past century. Spatially extensive observations of ground displacements from satellite-based remote sensing allow us to infer the response of the aquifer system to changes in usage and to marked recharge events such as the heavy winter rainfall in 2017. Radar imagery from the Sentinel-1a/b satellites (November 2014 to October 2017) illuminates secular and seasonal trends modulated by changes in withdrawal rates and the magnitude of winter precipitation. Despite the increased precipitation in early 2017 that led to a marked decrease, or in some areas, reversal, of subsidence rates, subsidence returned to rates observed during the drought within a matter of months. Spatially and temporally complex Central California aquifer storage is inferred from Sentinel-1a/b satellite radar imagery. Spatially and temporally complex Central California aquifer storage is inferred from Sentinel-1a/b satellite radar imagery.
We explore the use of elastic Green’s functions in inversions of one-dimensional Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) observations to recover three-dimensional displacement fields. This approach enforces coupling of the horizontal displacements and limits the need for prior assumptions about the subsurface sources, driving the deformation or explicit damping of a given dimension of the full 3D deformation field. We apply these methods to data from the Coachella Valley, California, where artificial groundwater recharge in 2017 and the associated increases in pore pressure resulted in ground displacements of up to 12 cm. This area is covered by Sentinel-1a/b data for two overlapping paths from both ascending and descending orbits, as well as an east-west flight line from the Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR), providing five unique line-of-sight geometries. The regularization approaches applied to the Sentinel data alone agree in most respects, with the elastically coupled approach producing a slightly better fit to the independent UAVSAR observations. Our results suggest that the 2017 groundwater entrainment in the Coachella Valley is likely associated with significant horizontal displacements that led to contraction across the fault bounding the northern side of the basin, as well as increases in right-lateral sense of strain in some areas along the fault.
We used data from 333 continuous Global Positioning System stations, including 26 stations installed in 2006–2007 as part of a collaborative EarthScope experiment, to investigate how deformation is distributed near the Rio Grande Rift. Our previous analysis, using data from 2006 to 2010, was consistent with a nearly uniform east-west distributed extensional strain rate of 1.2 nε/year (nanostrain/year) along five profiles spanning a 1,000-km region. We built upon this analysis with additional Global Positioning System networks and longer time series of data spanning varying time ranges between 1993 and 2018. In all five east-west profiles, extensional strain rates are higher within and west of the fault-defined rift zone than to the east. There is an east-to-west increase in Central New Mexico from 0.7 ± 0.1 to 1.8 ± 0.8 nε/year that is significant at the 95% confidence level. We found elevated extensional and shear strain rates of over 10 nε/year along parts of the central Rio Grande Rift, particularly along the southeast edge of the Colorado Plateau along part of the Jemez lineament, as well as elevated dilatational strain rates and uplift above the Socorro magma body. Results from Euler pole analysis of Global Positioning System velocities for sites within the Colorado Plateau show nonrigid behavior with considerable deformation near the plateau margins and internal east-west extension. Our results suggest the Rio Grande Rift is actively deforming in an evolving tectonic environment.