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NASA rocket aims to measure Earth’s life-supporting secret

NASA rocket aims to measure Earth’s life-supporting secret

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Why does Earth support life, while Venus and Mars – and for all we know, any other planet in the universe – do not?

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“It’s one of the most fundamental questions in all of science: Why are we here? And it’s what Endurance is after,” says Glyn Collinson, a space scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre

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The Endurance mission will attempt to measure Earth’s global electric potential, or how much Earth’s electric field “tugs” at electrically charged particles in our air.

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This electric potential is expected to be very weak, making it difficult to measure – and one reason Earth can support life.

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Endurance’s launch window from the small town of Ny-Ålesund in Svalbard, Norway, opens today (9 May).

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Earth is a watery planet, one of the key reasons it can support life. Yet billions of years ago, you might have said something similar about Venus.

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