On June 30, just in time for the global celebration known as Asteroid Day, NASA's Dawn spacecraft completed its primary mission. The mission exceeded all expectations originally set for its exploration of protoplanet Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres. The historic mission is the first to orbit two extraterrestrial solar system targets, and the first to orbit any object in the main asteroid belt, between Mars and Jupiter. On March 6, 2015, Dawn also became the first spacecraft to enter orbit around a dwarf planet.
Friday, July 1, 2016
NASA researchers have found that several volcanic deposits on Mercury's surface require mantle melting to have started close to the planet's core-mantle boundary, which lies only 400 km below the planets surface and making it unique in the solar system. This is reported at the Goldschmidt conference in Yokohama, Japan.
The Universe is becoming gradually cleaner as more and more cosmic dust is being mopped up by the formation of stars within galaxies, an international team of astronomers has revealed. Peering back 12 billion years using the Herschel space telescope to produce far-infrared images of the sky, the team led by researchers at Cardiff University has been able to observe the very early formation of galaxies and compare them to galaxies that have formed much more recently.
Thursday, June 30, 2016
Without any prior notice, China carried out on Wednesday, June 29, a secretive lift off of its Long March 4B booster carrying the Shijian-16 No.2 satellite. The rocket blasted off at exactly 11:21 a.m. local time (3:21 GMT), from the Launch Site 43 at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, located in China’s northwest Gansu Province.
Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) professors have developed a faster, more accurate way to assess gravitational wave signals and infer the astronomical sources that made them. Their method directly compares data from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) to cutting-edge numerical simulations of binary black holes, including simulations performed at RIT.
The brightest area on Ceres, located in the mysterious Occator Crater, has the highest concentration of carbonate minerals ever seen outside Earth, according to a new study from scientists on NASA's Dawn mission. The study, published online in the journal Nature, is one of two new papers about the makeup of Ceres.
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
NASA’s Juno spacecraft is just a few days shy of its arrival at the solar system’s biggest planet. The highly-anticipated mission, is about to take a peek into the real nature of Jupiter, hopefully providing new insights about the structure of this gaseous giant. Juno could be on the verge of redefining our current knowledge about what lies deep beneath Jupiter’s thick and violent atmosphere.