Scientists had their first close-up look at Phoebe when Cassini began exploring the Saturn system in 2004. Using data from multiple spacecraft instruments and a computer model of the moon's chemistry, geophysics and geology, scientists found Phoebe was a so-called planetesimal, or remnant planetary building block.
Continue reading "Saturn's Planet-Like Moon, Phoebe Came from Kuiper Belt" »
The surface of Mars exhibits numerous lava flows and other signs of effusive volcanism. Although models suggest that explosive volcanism should also have produced extensive deposits, direct evidence for large-scale explosive volcanism has been scarce.
A new study by Briony Horgan and James F. Bell III at Arizona State University on the mineralogy of dark regions covering more than ten million square kilometers in the northern hemisphere of Mars has revealed that these regions are dominantly composed of glass.
Continue reading "Dark 'Seas' of Glass Hint at Mars' Subglacial Lakes --Hotspots for Microbial Life" »
The sun-like star, called HD 10180, located approximately 127 light-years away in the constellation Hydrus, is home to a record nine planets, making it the most populated system of extrasolar planets yet found. In a previous study that was published in August 2010, astronomers identified five confirmed alien worlds and two planetary candidates. If confirmed, the planetary system around 'HD 10180' would be the richest-ever discovered.
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Plans for an enormous telescope, equipped with a 3.2 billion-pixel camera, are ready for detailed designs, its creators announced on April 24. When completed, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) will take photos of every inch of visible night sky every week for 10 years in a kind of time-lapse picture that will provide scientists with unparalleled views of the universe. The telescope is projected for ‘first light’ in 2014 atop the Cerro Pachón mountain in Chile's Atacama Desert -the world's Southern Hemisphere space-observatory mecca. Researchers have started work on its 8.4-meter (27.6-foot) mirror and on preparing its construction site.
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Findings from NASA's Dawn spacecraft reveal new details about the giant asteroid Vesta, including its varied surface composition, sharp temperature changes and clues to its internal structure. The Space images, taken 420 miles (680 kilometers) and 130 miles (210 kilometers) above the surface of the asteroid, show a variety of surface mineral and rock patterns. Coded false-color images help scientists better understand Vesta's composition and enable them to identify material that was once molten below the asteroid's surface.
Continue reading "Images from an Alien World --Asteroid Vesta's Landscape" »
"In most places in Antarctica, we can't explain the ice-shelf thinning through melting of snow at the surface," said Hamish Pritchard of the British Antarctic Survey. "So it has to be driven by warm ocean currents melting them from below."
Pritchard's team used the laser altimeter on Nasa's Icesat spacecraft to map the changing thickness in 54 ice shelves around Antarctica, incorporating some 4.5 million data points between 2003 and 2008. Twenty of the shelves were assessed to be being melted from below by warm ocean currents. Most of the 20 are in West Antarctica, and show thinning up to seven meters per year. Some of the greatest melting has been seen where deep troughs cut across the continental shelf, allowing the water easier access to the shelves' undersides.
Continue reading "EcoAlert: Antarctica Ice Melt Caused by Warming Ocean Currents " »
Astronomers from the University of Bonn in Germany have discovered a vast structure of satellite galaxies and clusters of stars surrounding our Galaxy, stretching out across a million light years. The work challenges the existence of dark matter, part of the standard model for the evolution of the universe.
Conventional models for the origin and evolution of the universe (cosmology) are based on the presence of ‘dark matter’, invisible material thought to make up about 23% of the content of the cosmos that has never been detected directly. In this model, the Milky Way is predicted to have far more satellite galaxies than are actually seen.
Continue reading "Vast Structure of Satellite Galaxies & Star Clusters Discovered Surrounding Milky Way --Nixes Existence of Dark Matter in Universe" »
Planetary Resources, the new space venture backed by Google and Microsoft founders that's planning to mine near-Earth asteroids, has begun advertising for 'asteroid miners'. The new company revealed details of its first exploratory missions to mine ice deposits as well as precious metals and minerals. The ice water could support life, or be split into oxygen and liquid hydrogen to make breathable air and rocket propellant, the firm says.
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Japanese astronomers Using a powerful telescope based in Hawaii, said Wednesday they had found a "protocluster of galaxies" 12.72 billion light-years away from Earth, which they claim is the most distant cluster ever discovered. The team peered back through time to a point just one billion years after the Big Bang, the birth of the universe. The discovery was jointly made by researchers from the state-run Graduate University of Advanced Studies and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan using the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii.
Continue reading ""Most Ancient Cluster of Galaxies in Universe Discovered" --Japanese Claim" »