Science Media Centre

Science Media Centre

Expert Reactions

Cassini’s grand Saturn finale – Expert Reaction

Sarah-Jane O'Connor posted in on April 27th, 2017.

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has begun its 142-day death spiral inside Saturn’s rings, passing through them 22 times over the coming months. With propellant running low, NASA scientists are concerned that the probe might accidentally crash into one of Saturn’s nearby moons, which could contaminate it with Earthling bacteria stuck to the spacecraft. Otago Museum’s Dr […]

NASA super balloon lifts off – In the News

Sarah-Jane O'Connor posted in on April 26th, 2017.

NASA’s Super Pressure Balloon has once again taken flight from Wanaka on a mission planned to run for 100 days and take the balloon around the globe. Following on from the 2015 and 2016 missions, the team are hoping the third time’s a charm for hitting the 100 days of flight milestone. Launched yesterday, the […]

Effects of Kaikoura quake evident – In the News

Sarah-Jane O'Connor posted in on December 6th, 2016.

Three weeks after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck the South Island, isolating the coastal town of Kaikoura and shutting buildings in Wellington, the impact of the shake on the South Island’s geology is apparent. GeoNet scientists have been up in the air spotting landslides in the Kaikouras and Southern Alps – they estimate between 80,000 […]

Antarctic glaciers in hot water – Expert Reaction

Sarah-Jane O'Connor posted in on October 26th, 2016.

Hundreds of metres of solid ice were lost from West Antarctica’s glaciers between 2002 and 2009, according to a US-led study published today in Nature Communications. Warm ocean waters beneath ice shelves are linked to melting the ice from below, but the effect is difficult to measure. Using data collected from a NASA airborne study, […]

Juno spacecraft reaches Jupiter – In the news

John Kerr posted in on July 5th, 2016.

After five years travelling across the solar system, the NASA spacecraft Juno has begun its final descent into orbit around Jupiter to collect data. From a unique polar orbit, Juno will repeatedly dive between the planet and its intense belts of charged particle radiation, coming only about 5,000 kilometers from the cloud tops at closest […]

Hottest year on record – Expert reaction

John Kerr posted in on January 21st, 2016.

Earth’s 2015 surface temperatures were the warmest on record, according to independent analyses by NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the UK Met Office. Read more about the announcement, and related news coverage, here. The Science Media Centre contacted New Zealand experts for comment on the announcement. Prof Martin Manning, NZ Climate […]

2015 Hottest year on record – NASA, NOAA

John Kerr posted in on January 21st, 2016.

Earth’s 2015 surface temperatures were the warmest since modern record keeping began in 1880, according to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Globally-averaged temperatures in 2015 shattered the previous mark set in 2014 by 0.13 Celsius. The warming effects of the current El Niño climate pattern contributed to the […]

Evidence of liquid water on Mars – Expert reaction

Laura Goodall posted in on April 15th, 2015.

Scientists have found evidence that liquid water is currently present on Mars – but does this mean that there might be, or have been, life on the Red Planet? Using data collected by the Curiosity rover, the researchers have determined that tiny amounts of water vapour condenses as a liquid in the planet’s soil at […]

2014 hottest year on record – Experts respond

John Kerr posted in on January 20th, 2015.

The year 2014 ranks as Earth’s warmest since 1880, according to two separate analyses by NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists. Since 1880, Earth’s average surface temperature has warmed by about 0.8 degrees Celsius, a trend that is largely driven by the increase in carbon dioxide and other human emissions into the […]

2014: World’s hottest year, NZ near average

John Kerr posted in on January 12th, 2015.

While 2014 was a near average year for New Zealand weather-wise, analysis of worldwide data has highlighted increasing global temperatures. According to the 2014 annual climate summary from NIWA, the nation-wide average temperature for 2014 was 12.8°C (0.2°C above the 1981-2010 annual average), making it the 23rd-warmest year since records began. The summary draws on […]

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