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Gizmorama - January 18, 2017

Good Morning,

How would you like to be the person who has to change the batteries on the International Space Station? You would have to spacewalk? It could take six hours? Any takers?

Learn about this and more interesting stories from the scientific community in today's issue.

Until Next Time,

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* NASA, ESA astronauts install new lithium ion batteries on ISS *

WASHINGTON - Astronauts from NASA and the European Space Agency conducted a spacewalk to install new lithium ion batteries aboard the International Space Station.

The spacewalk was conducted by NASA's Shane Kimbrough and ESA's Thomas Pesquet. The event marked the fourth spacewalk for Kimbrough, and the first for Pesquet. The operation began at approximately 7:00 a.m. EST.

In addition to installing new batteries, the astronauts also stowed old nickel-hydrogen batteries for disposal.

Kimbrough and Pesquet installed a total of six new batteries during the spacewalk. The operation was initially expected to last six hours.

A spacewalk refers to any event when an astronaut exists a vehicle while in space, first performed by a Soviet cosmonaut in 1965. Spacewalks can be conducted for many reasons, including maintenance work, equipment testing or experiments.

*-- New magma modeling aids search for copper --*

GENEVA, Switzerland - Scientists have developed a new model of magma behavior. Researchers expect the simulations to aid the search for copper deposits.

Copper is one of the most technologically useful ores found in the ground, but scientists have struggled to find a way to locate the largest deposits. Copper ore deposits vary dramatically in size, despite a uniform ore formation process.

Copper is deposited during the magma degassing process. As magma makes its way into the crust and begins the cooling and solidification process, water escapes, rising and carrying dissolved copper with it. Copper is deposited from the cooling magmatic fluids as they rise and make their way through and into rock fractures.

Researchers used their improved understanding of ore deposition to design a model simulating the degassing process.

"Comparing the model results with available data from known copper deposits, we could link the timescales of magma emplacement and degassing in the crust, the volume of magma, and the size of the deposit," Luca Caricchi, a researcher at the University of Geneva, said in a news release.

Researchers believe the algorithms used to build the degassing model -- detailed in the journal Scientific Reports -- will help improve the ability of high-precision geochronology systems to predict the size of ore deposits. The research may also improve insights into the relationship between degassing and volcanic eruptions.


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