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NASA Research Confirms it’s a Small World, After All

August 16, 2011 Leave a comment

This view of Earth comes from NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer aboard the Terra satellite. Image credit: NASA

A NASA-led research team has confirmed what Walt Disney told us all along: Earth really is a small world, after all.

Since Charles Darwin’s time, scientists have speculated that the solid Earth might be expanding or contracting. That was the prevailing belief, until scientists developed the theory of plate tectonics, which explained the large-scale motions of Earth’s lithosphere, or outermost shell. Even with the acceptance of plate tectonics half a century ago, some Earth and space scientists have continued to speculate on Earth’s possible expansion or contraction on various scientific grounds.

Now a new NASA study, published recently in Geophysical Research Letters, has essentially laid those speculations to rest. Using a cadre of space measurement tools and a new data calculation technique, the team detected no statistically significant expansion of the solid Earth.

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2011-254