Deep in the outer solar system, billions of miles from Earth, lurks a realm of small, icy worlds called dwarf planets. Astronomers know relatively little about these dim and distant objects, but in recent years, new evidence has revealed that the tiny planets can hold a surprising range of features, from oceans and mountains to canyons, dunes and volcanoes
The dwarf planet Pluto, imaged by NASA's New Horizons mission.NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute
"The findings, published today in Nature, confirm the existence of “superionic ice,” a new phase of water with bizarre properties. Unlike the familiar ice found in your freezer or at the north pole, superionic ice is black and hot. A cube of it would weigh four times as much as a normal one. It was first theoretically predicted more than 30 years ago, and although it has never been seen until now, scientists think it might be among the most abundant forms of water in the universe.Across the solar system, at least, more water probably exists as superionic ice — filling the interiors of Uranus and Neptune — than in any other phase, including the liquid form sloshing in oceans on Earth, Europa and Enceladus. The discovery of superionic ice potentially solves decades-old puzzles about the composition of these “ice giant” worlds."
An Ariane 5 launch vehicle (Ariane Flight VA256) will launch the James Webb Space Telescope from Ariane Launch Complex No. 3 (ELA 3) at Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana, on 25 December 2021, at 12:20 UTC (09:20 local time, 07:20 EST, 13:20 CET).
JWST completed its first midcourse correction burn. The little kink is visible at 00:50 when the burn started. According to NASA the burn took 65 min. The spacecraft is now setting here and local interference is increasing. Thanks to NASAWebb for the fun!