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The team's findings can also be applied to exoplanets, which are planets that circle stars beyond our own Sun. Some super-Earth exoplanets, which are rocky planets more massive than our own, have been proposed as "water worlds" covered with churning oceans. Could they have life? Perhaps. The potential would certainly be there. Dr. Vance and his team believe laboratory experiments and more sophisticated modeling of exotic oceans might help to find answers to these very profound questions.

Simply put, resistance to the creation of a space frontier originates with the insecurities of Western leaders. First, it is clear that everything changes with the emergence of a frontier. Established power structures are usually shaken, not reinforced. (If this is not clear, try reading Walter Prescott Webb's The Great Frontier, particularly the last chapter, and Divided We Stand: The Crisis of a Frontierless Democracy, by the same author.)

There are over 100 moons dancing around the eight major planets of our Sun's family. Most of them are small, frozen, icy objects, harboring only a relatively scanty amount of rocky material, that circle around the quartet of giant gaseous planets that dwell in the outer, frigid realm of our Solar System--far from the comforting warmth and brilliance of our Star. The quartet of majestic, giant denizens of our outer Solar System--Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune--are enveloped with gaseous atmospheres, and orbited by a multitude of dancing, sparkling moons and moonlets. In marked contrast, the inner region of our Solar System--where our Earth dwells--is almost bereft of moons. Of the quartet of relatively petite, rocky "terrestrial" planets--Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars--only Earth is circled by a large Moon. Mercury and Venus are moonless, and Mars is orbited by a duo of tiny, lumpy, potato-shaped moons, Phobos and Deimos. Phobos and Deimos are probably escaped asteroids, born in the Main Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter, that were captured by the gravitational embrace of the Red Planet long ago.

Going to the moon again is causing far more controversy today than it could have back in the sixties. Some Americans doubt we can afford it and others are not sure they have seen the "giant leap for mankind" that the first moon shot promised. It depends on who you ask but don't dare ask me. I didn't think the first moon landing had much significance for reasons that few people share with me.

Ganymede is the largest moon in our Solar System. Indeed, its impressive diameter of nearly 3,280 miles makes it almost as big as Mars! Astronomers have known since the 1990s that this frigidly cold moon, that circles around the gas-giant planet Jupiter, contains a hidden salty subsurface ocean of liquid water, sloshing around deep beneath its secretive shell of ice. However, in May 2014, planetary scientists announced that the situation may be somewhat more complicated--Ganymede's ocean might be organized like a multi-tiered sandwich, with ice and oceans stacked up in several layers, according to new NASA-funded research that models this enormous moon's composition.

In September 2015, a team of astronomers released their study showing that they have detected regions on the far side of the Moon--called the lunar highlands--that may bear the scars of this ancient heavy bombardment. This vicious attack, conducted primarily by an invading army of small asteroids, smashed and shattered the lunar upper crust, leaving behind scarred regions that were as porous and fractured as they could be. The astronomers found that later impacts, crashing down onto the already heavily battered regions caused by earlier bombarding asteroids, had an opposite effect on these porous regions. Indeed, the later impacts actually sealed up the cracks and decreased porosity.

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