For the first time, scientists using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have found evidence of volcanic activity reforming the atmosphere on a rocky planet around a distant star. The planet, GJ 1132 b, has a similar density, size, and age to Earth.The planet GJ 1132 b appears to have begun life as a gaseous world with a thick blanket of atmosphere. Starting out at several times the radius of Earth, this ‘sub-Neptune’ quickly lost its primordial hydrogen and helium atmosphere, which was stripped away by the intense radiation from its hot, young star. In a short period of time, it was reduced to a bare core about the size of Earth.
Artist’s impression of the exoplanet GJ 1132 b. Credit: NASA, ESA, and R. Hurt (IPAC/Caltech)
Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), in which the European Southern Observatory (ESO) is a partner, a team of astronomers has directly measured winds in Jupiter's middle atmosphere for the first time. By analyzing the aftermath of a comet collision from the 1990s, the researchers have revealed incredibly powerful winds, with speeds of up to 1450 kilometers an hour, near Jupiter's poles. They could represent what the team have described as a "unique meteorological beast in our solar system."
An artist's impression of winds in Jupiter's stratosphere near the planet's south pol
Billions of years ago, the Red Planet was far bluer; according to evidence still found on the surface, abundant water flowed across Mars and forming pools, lakes, and deep oceans. The question, then, is where did all that water go?The answer: nowhere. According to new research from Caltech and JPL, a significant portion of Mars’s water—between 30 and 99 per cent—is trapped within minerals in the planet’s crust. The research challenges the current theory that the Red Planet’s water escaped into space.
While it was previously suspected that most of Mars’s water was lost to space, a significant portion—between 30 and 90 per cent—has been lost to hydration of the crust, according to a new study. Some water was released from the interior via volcanism, but not enough to replenish the planet’s once significant supply. Evidence for the water’s fate was found in the ratio of deuterium to hydrogen in the planet’s atmosphere and rocks. Image credit: Caltech
This global view of Mars is composed of about 100 Viking Orbiter images. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/USGS
WASHINGTON — A small helicopter that hitched a ride on NASA’s Perseverance rover will attempt its first flight on Mars in early April, demonstrating technology that could be used on future missions.At a March 23 briefing, NASA officials discussed plans to perform the first flights of Ingenuity, a 1.8-kilogram helicopter currently attached to the underside of Perseverance. On March 21, spacecraft controllers started the process of deploying Ingenuity by jettisoning a cover that protected the vehicle during flight.Perseverance is in the process of driving to an “airfield,” a flat area 10 by 10 meters. Over the course of 10 days, the spacecraft will perform a series of deployments to unfold Ingenuity and drop it on the surface. “That’s a very prescribed and meticulous process,” said Farah Alibay, Perseverance integration lead for Ingenuity at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, involving separating a sequence of attachments, all documented using cameras on the rover.
NOITE SOLDADOS DO UNIVERSO – 24 de março
Astronaut playing golf on Mars, computer artwork. This would be similar to the famous golf shot played by Alan Shepard on the Moon on 31 January 1971. Martian gravity is about a third of that on Earth. The Martian atmosphere is mostly carbon dioxide and surface temperatures are well below freezing as Mars is much further from the Sun than the Earth. Martian astronauts will have to breathe their own air supply and wear heated
The Shuttle-C project
The 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster, which took the lives of 7 astronauts, changed NASA’s culture and risk-appetite forever. The organization’s focus shifted towards safer unmanned and more cost-effective operations. NASA was soon investigating various concepts to cannibalize parts of the Space Shuttle for other missions.The Shuttle-C was a project that would use the already existing Space Shuttle launch stack and turn it into an uncrewed cargo-only vehicle. The pitch was promising. Such a project would be able to launch planetary probes to other worlds and deliver large-scale support for lunar exploration, all in a cost-effective manner. It would also reach the ultimate goal of reasserting the United States' supremacy in space exploration. With a new heavy-cargo lifter, NASA could assemble giant interplanetary spaceships in orbit...
WASHINGTON — SpaceX launched its fourth Starship prototype in less than four months March 30, only to have the vehicle apparently crash once again.The Starship SN11 vehicle lifted off at approximately 9 a.m. Eastern from the company’s Boca Chica, Texas, test site, despite heavy fog that made it all but impossible to see the vehicle ascend. The SpaceX webcast of the flight relied on video from onboard cameras.
The last view from onboard cameras on SpaceX's Starship SN11 vehicle showed its Raptor engines reigniting for a landing burn. The vehicle crashed moments later. Credit: SpaceX webcast
Uranus and Neptune both have a completely skewed magnetic field, perhaps due to the planets’ special inner structures. But new experiments by ETH Zurich researchers now show that the mystery remains unsolved.The two large gas planets Uranus and Neptune have strange magnetic fields. These are each strongly tilted relative to the planet’s rotation axes and are significantly offset from the physical centre of the planet. The reason for this has been a longstanding mystery in planetary sciences. Various theories assume that a unique inner structure of these planets could be responsible for this bizarre phenomenon.According to these theories, the skewed magnetic field is caused by circulations in a convective layer, which consists of electrically conductive fluid. This convective layer in turn surrounds a stably layered, non-convective layer in which there is no circulation of the material due to its high viscosity and thus no contribution to the magnetic field.
Neptune and Uranus are the outermost two planets of our solar system and two gas giants. Image credit: NASA