Pale blue dot – or not?

Appearances can be deceiving. This thick, cloud-rich atmosphere rains sulphuric acid and below lie not oceans but a baked and barren lava-strewn surface. Welcome to Venus.

Lunar tunnel engineers excited by boring Moon colonies

As space agencies prepare to return humans to the Moon, top engineers are racing to design a tunnel boring machine capable of digging underground colonies for the first lunar inhabitants.

Hurricane Michael gets an upgrade to rare Category 5 status

Hurricane Michael, which devastated a swath of the Florida Panhandle last fall, has been upgraded to a Category 5 storm, only the fourth to make recorded landfall in the United States and the first since 1992.

Icy giant planets in the laboratory

Giant planets like Uranus and Neptune may contain much less free hydrogen than previously assumed. Researchers from the German Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) drove shock waves through two types of plastic to ...

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Atmospheric pressure

Atmospheric pressure is sometimes defined as the force per unit area exerted against a surface by the weight of air above that surface at any given point in the Earth's atmosphere. In most circumstances atmospheric pressure is closely approximated by the hydrostatic pressure caused by the weight of air above the measurement point. Low pressure areas have less atmospheric mass above their location, whereas high pressure areas have more atmospheric mass above their location. Similarly, as elevation increases there is less overlying atmospheric mass, so that pressure decreases with increasing elevation. A column of air one square inch in cross-section, measured from sea level to the top of the atmosphere, would weigh approximately 65.5 newtons (14.7 lbf). The weight of a 1 m2 (11 sq ft) column of air would be about 101 kN (10.3 tf).

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