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Jonathan Amos, Science correspondent

Jonathan Amos Science correspondent

Come here for my take on UK and European space as well as the latest on major science stories

Malaysia Airlines MH370: Searching in an ocean of uncertainty

9 April 2014
Ocean floor
The map is about 1,750km across. Ocean Shield's detections have been made at about 20 degrees South

The search for MH370 has illustrated once again just how poor are our maps of the ocean floor.

Scientists aren't joking when they say we know better the shape of Mars than we know the hard surface of the Earth.

The oceans are vast and only a small fraction of the seafloor has so far been described in detail.

Look at the map at the top of this page. It shows the topography of the Indian Ocean bottom, west of Australia.

The star marks the rough location where the search vessel ADV Ocean Shield has been working this week, making encouraging pinger detections that could be the black boxes of MH370.

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Jonathan added analysis to:

Chile leader evacuates as second big quake strikes

3 April 2014

Chile is one of those countries that expects to experience large quakes. It's only four years since the 8.8 event at Maule much further to the south.

The drivers are the same. Chile runs the boundary between the Nazca and South American tectonic plates. These are vast slabs of the Earth's surface that grind past each other at a rate of about 80mm per year. The Nazca plate, which makes up the Pacific Ocean floor in this region, is being pulled down and under the South American coast. It makes the region one of the most seismically active on the globe.

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Chile soldiers hunt escaped inmates in quake-hit Iquique

2 April 2014

Chile is one of those countries that expects to experience large quakes. It's only four years since the 8.8 event at Maule much further to the south.

The drivers are the same. Chile runs the boundary between the Nazca and South American tectonic plates. These are vast slabs of the Earth's surface that grind past each other at a rate of about 80mm per year. The Nazca plate, which makes up the Pacific Ocean floor in this region, is being pulled down and under the South American coast. It makes the region one of the most seismically active on the globe.

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Sentinel satellites promise data explosion

2 April 2014
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentration over Europe on 4 February 2007
Nitrogen dioxide over Europe: Space monitoring follows through on EU air quality directives

The wettest winter on record in the UK saw the British government take the unprecedented step of activating the International Charter [on] Space and Major Disasters three times in little more than two months.

Satellites from many nations were tasked with imaging the magnitude of the flooding in places such as the Somerset Levels.

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Chile lives with quake expectation

2 April 2014
Quake
Locals take refuge on the street after the magnitude 8.2 earthquake and the subsequent aftershocks

Chile is one of those countries that expects to experience large quakes.

Tuesday's magnitude 8.2 tremor struck at 18:46 local time (23:46 GMT), at a depth of about 20km. This put the epicentre offshore.

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Chile declares disaster in quake-hit regions

2 April 2014

Chile is one of those countries that expects to experience large quakes. It's only four years since the 8.8 event at Maule much further to the south.

The drivers are the same. Chile runs the boundary between the Nazca and South American tectonic plates. These are vast slabs of the Earth's surface that grind past each other at a rate of about 80mm per year. The Nazca plate, which makes up the Pacific Ocean floor in this region, is being pulled down and under the South American coast. It makes the region one of the most seismically active on the globe.

Read full article

Europe begins Mars site selection

27 March 2014
Landing sites
The ExoMars "longlist". Two proposals were received for Mawrth, but these were virtually the same

The European Space Agency (Esa) has published the "longlist" of eight sites it is considering as a destination for the ExoMars rover.

The 300kg vehicle will be put on the surface of the Red Planet in January 2019 to search for evidence of past or present life.

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Malaysia missing plane: Automated signals offer more clues

14 March 2014
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER taking off from Narita Airport near Tokyo, Japan, April 2013
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER taking off from Narita Airport near Tokyo, Japan, last year

The story of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is a mystery for sure, but information is now starting to emerge that allows us to join some of the dots.

We know the aeroplane was fitted with a satellite system that enabled it to pass information to the ground during its journey.

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Jonathan added analysis to:

Malaysia plane: Indian Ocean search for missing jet

14 March 2014

This story is a mystery for sure, but information is now starting to emerge that allows us to join some of the dots.

We know the aeroplane was fitted with a satellite system that enabled it to pass information to the ground during flight. It is my understanding that this system, operated by London's big satellite telecommunications company Inmarsat, received an automated signal from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 at least five hours after the plane was reported lost.

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About Jonathan

Jonathan has been a science specialist with the BBC since 1994.

He was part of the team that set up the BBC News website in 1997.

His online science reporting has won major awards in Britain.

Jonathan is perhaps best known for his European space coverage.

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