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October 22
1898 - Birth of Mary S. Ruiz, eldest child of Enrique & Rosaria Ruiz of San Francisquito Canyon; all died in 1928 dam disaster [cemetery census]


[UCLA] – Planetary scientists have identified water ice and unusually dark deposits within permanently shadowed areas at Mercury’s north pole.

Using data collected by NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft, a team from UCLA crafted the first accurate thermal model of the solar system’s innermost planet, successfully pinpointing the extremely cold regions where ice has been found on or below the surface.

The researchers say the newly discovered black deposits are a thin crust of residual organic material brought to the planet over the past several million years through impacts by water-rich asteroids and comets.

Understanding how water ice has been preserved on Mercury and where it came from may help scientists determine the conditions necessary for sustaining life on other planets.

This research, one of three MESSENGER papers published online today in the journal Science (and scheduled for upcoming print publication), sheds light on the long-standing issue of ice on Mercury. Several independent lines of evidence now reveal that the sun-scorched planet has extensive water ice deposits at its poles.

In the early 1990s, scientists were surprised to find that areas near Mercury’s poles were unusually bright when observed with radar from Earth, a potential indication that ice might be present.

Temperature map of Mercury’s north polar region based on data collected by NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft | Image: NASA/UCLA/JHUAPL/Carnegie Institution of Washington

UCLA’s David Paige, the lead author of one of the new Science papers and a self-described “professional ice finder,” has studied the poles of planetary bodies in the solar system, from Mercury to Pluto.

“Mercury is the innermost planet in the solar system, and, arguably, it’s among the least explored,” said Paige, a professor of Earth and space sciences. “The surface of Mercury exhibits the most extreme range of temperatures of any body we know of in the solar system.”

Within a single polar crater on Mercury, there are spots that reach the oven-like temperature of 500 degrees Fahrenheit within sight of areas cold enough to freeze and preserve water ice for billions of years. These “natural freezers” exist within the shadowed areas of polar-crater rims, which never experience direct sunlight due to the low angle of the sun at such high latitudes, Paige said.

Paige’s team was able to use the first detailed topographic map of Mercury’s north polar region produced by MESSENGER to generate an accurate thermal model of the pole. Their calculations of the planet’s sub-surface temperatures are a near-perfect match to Earth-based radar observations and surface-brightness measurements made by the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) instrument onboard the orbiting spacecraft.

Where their temperature model predicts water ice should be stable on the surface, the MLA nearly always measures unusually bright patches, indicative of surface ice deposits. In places where it is too warm for surface ice but cold enough for ice to exist beneath the surface, the MLA sees unusually dark material.

“This stuff we find covering the ice is darker than the rest of Mercury, which is already a really dark planet. That’s amazing,” Paige said. “At the very least, it means there is something out of the ordinary going on inside these permanently shadowed areas where the ice has accumulated.”

The mysterious dark substance likely arrived on Mercury as part of the comets and asteroids that periodically crash into the planet, bringing water ice and a diverse cocktail of organic material, Paige said. In the searing daytime heat of Mercury, the only place water and organics can survive is within permanently shadowed craters.

UCLA’s David Paige | Photo by Kim DeRose

But only in the very coldest areas of the permanently shadowed regions can water ice exist on the surface. In the warmer shadowed areas, the top layers of ice begin to evaporate away into space, leaving behind a layer of hardy organic molecules that are stable at higher temperatures and which turn black over time when exposed at the surface. Once the dark layer is thick enough, it protects the ice underneath, allowing a sub-surface ice deposit to survive.

“There are areas on the surface where it is too hot for ice to exist, but radar data from Earth show something bright reflecting from these areas, so we’re pretty sure that there’s water ice buried underneath,” said co-author Matthew Siegler, a researcher at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a UCLA alumnus. “You need some kind of insulating layer to keep that heat from getting down to the ice.”

The presence of bright ice and dark organics on Mercury’s surface presents a mystery for MESSENGER researchers. Large comets and asteroids periodically impact Mercury, covering a huge swath of the planet in a layer of dirt and dust and adding further craters to the airless planet’s already scarred landscape. For the water ice and black organic layers to remain exposed on Mercury’s ancient surface, the deposits must have formed recently in the planet’s geological history, or they must be maintained by new water brought to Mercury by smaller, more frequent impacts.

“Billions of years ago, the Earth acquired a layer of water and other volatile material that formed atmospheres, oceans and even the first organic molecules that started life,” Paige said. “Understanding the origin of that material is a very important problem and is essential to finding out about the potential habitability of planetary systems around other stars.”

Ellen Harju, a graduate student in the UCLA Department of Earth and Space Sciences, is a co-author of the paper.

Paige’s study was published alongside two other MESSENGER papers, with colleagues David Lawrence and Greg Neumann as the lead authors. All three research discoveries were showcased today in a press conference on NASA TV.

Launched in 2004, MESSENGER became the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury in March of 2011. Previously, the closest glimpse of the planet was provided by three fly-bys by the Mariner 10 spacecraft in 1974–75. The name MESSENGER, short for MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging, was chosen to evoke the Greco-Roman messenger deity Mercury, a god of trade, merchants and travel.

To learn more about this discovery, visit the website of the UCLA Institute for Planets and Exoplanets.

UCLA is California’s largest university, with an enrollment of more than 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university’s 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer 337 degree programs and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Six alumni and six faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize.

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HIGHER EDUCATION LINKS
LOCAL COLLEGE HEADLINES
Thursday, Oct 19, 2017
Northridge, CA – CSUN Athletics officially opened its new satellite athletic training facility on Thursday at an event featuring Athletic Director Dr. Brandon Martin, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer Steven Grech, student-athletes, coaches, staff and campus partners.
Thursday, Oct 19, 2017
California State University, Northridge is partnering with the California State University Entertainment Alliance to host a morning of workshops designed to offer students and members of the public advice on building successful careers in the entertainment industry.
Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017
The fall 2017 Star Party at College of the Canyons' Canyon Country campus on Friday, Oct. 27 will focus on the pathways to space exploration that exist for star-gazers who are captivated by the many mysteries of the universe.
Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017
The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, in response to President Trump’s recent decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, has declared Oct. 16-20 "DACA Advocacy Week."
Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017
COC and the Hart District will host the 2017 College & Career Fair in the college’s Honor Grove on Saturday, Oct. 21 from 9 a.m. to noon.
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Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Bobbi Jean and her husband Jim Bell, whose OutWest clothing store and popular TV concert series celebrated all things Western and equestrian and helped revitalize Old Town Newhall over the past decade, will soon ride east into the sunrise: They’re moving to New Mexico.
OutWest Owners Jim and Bobbi Jean Bell Ride East Into the Sunrise
1898 - Birth of Mary S. Ruiz, eldest child of Enrique & Rosaria Ruiz of San Francisquito Canyon; all died in 1928 dam disaster [cemetery census]
2007 - Buckweed fire chars 38,000 acres, destroys 21 homes in Canyon Country and Agua Dulce [story]
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, a sexual assault suspect was arrested Thursday night. Plus, some great weekend events. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Friday, October 20, 2017
Forever Fit SCV, a Santa Clarita sports and personal fitness training company, will host a "Pumpkin Workout" at its Centre Pointe location on Saturday, October 28, starting at 9 a.m.
Oct. 25: Pumpkin Workout Benefits American Cancer Society
The next regular meeting of the Governing Board of the William S. Hart Union High School District is set for Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m.
Oct. 25: Hart School District Governing Board Meeting
The LA County Public Defender has won the Silver Eagle Award for its Public Defender Jail Liaison Program during the 31st Annual Productivity and Quality Awards Ceremony on Oct. 18 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
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The Los Angeles County Health Officer has issued a heat alert as high temperatures have been forecast for the Los Angeles Basin on Monday, October 23 through Tuesday, October 24.
Heat Alert for SCV, L.A. County on Monday, Tuesday
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has received three major gifts toward the creation of the museum in Los Angeles, bringing fundraising to more than $300M, nearly 80 percent of its $388M campaign goal.
Motion Picture Museum Nears $388M Campaign Goal
Caltrans added nearly 1,200 lane miles of pavement repair and 66 bridges to its growing list of projects to be delivered sooner than planned, thanks to the imminent influx of revenue from the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (SB 1), the transportation funding and reform package passed in April.
Nearly $3.4 Billion in Transportation Projects to Be Accelerated
The city of Santa Clarita and SCV Veterans Memorial, Inc. invite the public to attend a special ceremony unveiling the new Fallen Warriors Monument at Veterans Historical Plaza in Newhall on Wednesday, November 8 starting at 10 a.m.
Nov. 8: City Unveils Fallen Warriors Monument in Newhall
Crime Prevention deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station along with Los Angeles County Probation Department officers conducted probation compliance searches Friday throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.
SCV Deputies Check Probationers, Aid in Domestic Violence Call
Here is the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff Station's public safety report for Canyon Country (West), aka Zone 7, for October 2 through October 8, 2017
Crime Blotter: Robbery, Grand Theft in Canyon Country West
A suspect has been arrested in the investigation of an alleged sexual assault, according to Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station officials.
Suspect Arrested in Alleged Sexual Assault
Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States and a concern the California Highway Patrol addresses with its "Start Smart" program.
CHP Helps New Drivers with ‘Start Smart’ Classes
The California High-Speed Rail Authority punted one of the most important decisions during its monthly meeting Thursday, stoking concerns the entity is not moving quickly enough on the $64 billion project.
California’s Bullet Train Board Delays Award of Key Contract
An extensive investigation by the county of Los Angeles Department of Consumer and Business Affairs in conjunction with the office of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has resulted in a lawsuit announced today by the Attorney General against retailer Curacao.
AG Sues Retailer Curacao for Allegedly Preying on Consumers
1873 - Santa Barbara lawyers Charles Fernald and J.T. Richards purchase Rancho San Francisco for $33,000 (75 cents an acre) in a sheriff's sale [story]
CHESTERFIELD, MO — NewGround, a St. Louis-based experiential design-build firm, recently teamed up with Logix Federal Credit Union to work on a large scale facility project, a new corporate headquarters building for the full-service credit union in the Burbank, California area.
Valencia Will Soon be Home to Logix Federal Credit Union Headquarters
The CSUN women's volleyball team (10-9, 4-3 Big West) opens the second half of the Big West season this week as the Matadors head up the coast this week for road tests at No. 23 Cal Poly (17-2, 7-0 Big West) and UC Santa Barbara (4-15, 3-4 Big West). CSUN, coming off a tough five-set loss to Hawai'i at home, is 3-4 in seven road matches this season but has won two of three Big West road contests.
Matadors Volleyball Testing Their Skills on the Road
No. 5 College of the Canyons defeated L.A. Mission College 3-0 on Wednesday to earn its eighth consecutive match and fifth straight sweep. Set scores were 25-15, 25-11, and 25-20.
Cougars Volleyball Earns Fifth Straight Sweep
CSUN Women's Soccer (7-4-5, 3-1-1 BWC) looks to move up in the Big West standings this week as it hosts UC Irvine on Thursday at 7:00 p.m.
Matadors Get Ready for Big West Matchups
Behind Julio Rubio's goal in the 11th minute CSUN defeated UC Riverside 1-0 in Big West Conference men's soccer action Wednesday night.
Matadors Lone Goal Enough to Hold Off UC Riverside
Northridge, CA – CSUN Athletics officially opened its new satellite athletic training facility on Thursday at an event featuring Athletic Director Dr. Brandon Martin, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer Steven Grech, student-athletes, coaches, staff and campus partners.
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Nov. 18-19: City’s Annual Two-Day Fine Craft Show
City officials gathered Wednesday for the Grand Opening of "Three Oaks," the first 100 percent affordable family development in Santa Clarita.
Affordable Housing Comes to Santa Clarita
The Gibbon Conservation Center will celebrate Halloween for the first time on Saturday, Oct. 28 from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 28: Gibbon Conservation Center Celebrates First Halloween
California State University, Northridge is partnering with the California State University Entertainment Alliance to host a morning of workshops designed to offer students and members of the public advice on building successful careers in the entertainment industry.
Oct. 23: CSUN Workshop; Succeeding in Entertainment Industry
Spotlight Arts Center, a local non-profit that provides free performing and visual arts classes to children in the Santa Clarita Valley, will hold its Fall Festival, Sunday, Oct. 22 from 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Oct. 22: Fall Festival Spotlight Arts Center
The College of the Canyons Athletics department is inviting all players, coaches and cheerleaders associated with a Santa Clarita Valley youth sports league or cheer organization to attend Saturday's Cougar football game free of charge.
Oct. 21: SCV Youth Teams Invited to Free COC Football Game
College of the Canyons freshmen Joanna Roecker and Cassandra Lee both turned in scores of 79 to lead the Cougars to a second place team finish at the Western State Conference (WSC) event hosted by Glendale College at Brookside Golf Course on Monday.
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Beginning Monday, October 23, 2017, the city of Santa Clarita will increase the frequency of street sweeping throughout all areas of the City.
Oct. 23: City Begins Increased Street Sweeping Frequency
In a battle for Western State Conference, East Division supremacy, it was College of the Canyons that came out on top Tuesday night, as the Cougars scored two second half goals to secure a 2-0 win against visiting Antelope Valley College. Justine Hoeft and Jennifer Roney collected goals for the Cougars (11-2, 2-0).
COC Secures Win Against AVC With Two Second-Half Goals
The upcoming 10-year anniversary of the Buckweed Fires offers Santa Clarita residents a reminder of the ever-present fire danger in Los Angeles County, as blazes ravage the northern half of the state, as well.
Officials Reflect on 10-Year Anniversary of Buckweed Fires
Deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station, with help from a Smartphone GPS system, were able to locate a lost hiker Wednesday night at Towsley Canyon.
Smartphone GPS Locates Lost Towsley Canyon Hiker