Silica aerogel could make Mars habitable

People have long dreamed of re-shaping the Martian climate to make it livable for humans. Carl Sagan was the first outside of the realm of science fiction to propose terraforming. In a 1971 paper, Sagan suggested that vaporizing ...

High pressure creates new neighbours for beryllium

The rare element beryllium is mainly known for being a component of emeralds, aquamarines, and other precious stones. However, in Nature Communications, an international team of scientists from the University of Bayreuth ...

Ice-squeezed aquifers might create marsquakes

As the Mars InSight lander begins listening to the interior of Mars, some scientists are already proposing that some marsquakes could be signals of groundwater beneath the frozen surface of the Red Planet.

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.

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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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