Leggo my Moho

Plans are underway for the 7-person Discovery space shuttle crew to seek refuge on the International Space Station, should something catastrophic happen during their mission.

"I think conditions won’t be good on the station, but they’ll be better than the alternative," said ISS program manager Bill Gerstenmaier.


The origin of Earth's moon is still the subject of scientific debate. The "giant impact" theory isn't universally accepted. One thing scientists can agree on is that the moon's "bombardment history" is a treasure trove of information.

"Ask not what astrobiology can do for the Moon... ask rather what the Moon can do for astrobiology," says Paul Lucey, a professor at the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology at the University of Hawai'i in Honolulu.


But what to do about that pesky moon dust? With jagged edges, small enough to lodge in lung tissue, made of glass shards created in meteorite impacts, dust is everywhere on the moon, and - except for the allergic reaction of one astronaut - its effects on humans aren't really known.

"How much of a problem this is, we don't know," says Russell Kerschmann, life sciences chief at NASA's Ames Research Center. "And that's a problem."


Not that we're done exploring our own planet. We've only scratched the surface - but are working our way to the core.

Scientists said this week they had drilled into the lower section of Earth's crust for the first time and were poised to break through to the mantle in coming years.

The Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) seeks the elusive "Moho," a boundary formally known as the Mohorovicic discontinuity. It marks the division between Earth's brittle outer crust and the hotter, softer mantle.

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