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"Coastal Flood Advisory" ...Coastal Flood Advisory in effect from 6 am to 10 am EST Monday... The National Weather Service in Upton has issued a coastal Flood Advisory...which is in effect from 6 am to 10 am EST Monday. * Locations...low lying areas along western Long Island Sound. * Tidal departures...2 to 3 ft above astronomical tides in the morning. * Timing...minor coastal flooding around the times of astronomical high tide. * Impacts...minor flooding along portions of the immediate coastline. Precautionary/preparedness actions... A coastal Flood Advisory indicates that onshore winds and tides will combine to generate flooding of low areas along the shore. ...Western l.I. Sound water levels for Monday morning... Coastal............time of......forecast total......flood..... Location...........high Tide.....Water level........category.. ...................................(Mllw/mhhw)................ Kings Point NY.......827 am......9.6-10.0/1.8-2.2....none....... Stamford CT..........749 am......9.4.9.8/1.6-2.0.....Minor...... Bridgeport CT........746 am......8.8-9.2/1.5-1.9.....Minor...... New Haven CT.........745 am......8.2-8.6/1.5-1.9.....None....... Old Field NY.........748 am......8.6-9.0/1.3-1.7.....None....... Glen Cove NY.........822 am......9.2-9.8/1.6-1.9.....None....... , "High Wind Warning" ...High Wind Warning remains in effect from 1 am Monday to 1 am EST Tuesday... * winds...northeast 30 to 40 mph with gusts 60 to 70 mph. * Timing...winds could begin gusting as high as 45 mph just before daybreak Monday. The strongest winds are expected Monday afternoon and evening. * High wind impacts...damaging winds will blow down trees and power lines. Numerous power outages are expected. Travel will be difficult...especially for high profile vehicles and on elevated roadway and bridges. Precautionary/preparedness actions... A High Wind Warning means a hazardous high wind event is expected or occurring. Sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph or gusts of 58 mph or more can lead to property damage. , "Marine Fog Advisory, Storm Warning" ...Dense fog advisory now in effect until 6 PM EST this evening... ...Storm Warning remains in effect from 1 am Monday to 1 am EST Tuesday... * winds and seas...northeast winds 25 to 35 kt with gusts up to 60 kt. Seas 6 to 11 feet. * Visibility...1 nm or less this morning. Precautionary/preparedness actions... A Storm Warning means sustained winds or frequent gusts of 48 to 63 kt are expected or occurring. Recreational boaters should remain in port...or take shelter until winds and waves subside. Commercial vessels should prepare for very strong winds and dangerous sea conditions...and consider remaining in port or taking shelter in port until winds and waves subside. A dense fog advisory means visibilities will frequently be reduced to less than one mile. Inexperienced mariners... especially those operating smaller vessels should avoid navigating in these conditions. -- Sunday Jan.22 17,03:00 PM

NASA Announces Plans to Study Europa for Potential Life and Habitability

It will be years in the making, but NASA wants to land a rover similar to Mars’ Curiosity on the sixth closest satellite to Jupiter.

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NASA announced last week its long term plans to put a lander on Europa, the sixth moon from Jupiter. Curiosity, a rover launched in late 2011, made headlines when it landed on Mars in August 2012 on a mission to investigate Martian geology, climate, history of water, and habitability. There is some hope that Curiosity may find signs of microbial life that could have once existed on the planet, but scientists are also interested in the possibility for such organisms to currently be present on Europa.

“A future Europa lander mission would present great science opportunities for the astrobiological exploration of Europa,” read a report issued by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.  “The prospect of a future soft landing on the surface of Europa is enticing, as it would create science opportunities that could not be achieved through flyby or orbital remote sensing, with direct relevance to Europa's potential habitability.”

Europa has previously been photographed by the Voyager and Galileo spacecrafts in flyby missions which revealed its surface to be primarily composed of ice. The rest of the moon’s surface appears to be composed largely of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen peroxide, and molecular oxygen, and beneath the icy crust lays a potentially vast ocean. A lander’s most important function would be to sample the non-ice material at multiple depths of the moon’s surface to discover the nature of any salts or organic compounds which may be present. In determining whether Europa bears all the materials necessary to birth life as we know it, scientists could better infer the probability of its existence in the satellite’s ocean.

The mission is not planned to take place for roughly a decade, partly because it is yet unknown where best to set a lander down on Europa. NASA’s Juno spacecraft, which was launched in August 2011 to probe Jupiter and its moons, will likely make that decision easier when it begins to study Europa from orbit in 2016.

Study of Jupiter’s sixth moon could prove tremendously beneficial for our understanding of both the solar system and the potential for life off Earth. Simply landing a rover on Europa would be a tremendous accomplishment as it is over ten times further from our planet than Mars, but even if the moon were found to be habitable for biological life landing a manned mission or establishing a colony on it would pose an entirely different set of challenges—Europa’s surface never warms higher than -370 degrees Fahrenheit.

[Source: NASA]