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Draggendrop

NASA's Van Allen probes catch rare glimpse of supercharged radiation belt

 

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Our planet is nestled in the center of two immense, concentric doughnuts of powerful radiation: the Van Allen radiation belts, which harbor swarms of charged particles that are trapped by Earth's magnetic field. On March 17, 2015, an interplanetary shock - a shockwave created by the driving force of a coronal mass ejection, or CME, from the sun - struck Earth's magnetic field, called the magnetosphere, triggering the greatest geomagnetic storm of the preceding decade. And NASA's Van Allen Probes were there to watch the effects on the radiation belts.

 

One of the most common forms of space weather, a geomagnetic storm describes any event in which the magnetosphere is suddenly, temporarily disturbed. Such an event can also lead to change in the radiation belts surrounding Earth, but researchers have seldom been able to observe what happens. But on the day of the March 2015 geomagnetic storm, one of the Van Allen Probes was orbiting right through the belts, providing unprecedentedly high-resolution data from a rarely witnessed phenomenon. A paper on these observations was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research on Aug. 15, 2016.

 

 

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The recent research describes what happened: The March 2015 storm was initiated by an interplanetary shock hurtling toward Earth - a giant shockwave in space set off by a CME, much like a tsunami is triggered by an earthquake.

 

Swelling and shrinking in response to such events and solar radiation, the Van Allen belts are highly dynamic structures within our planet's magnetosphere. Sometimes, changing conditions in near-Earth space can energize electrons in these ever-changing regions. Scientists don't yet know whether energization events driven by interplanetary shocks are common. Regardless, the effects of interplanetary shocks are highly localized events - meaning if a spacecraft is not precisely in the right place when a shock hits, it won't register the event at all. In this case, only one of the Van Allen Probes was in the proper position, deep within the magnetosphere - but it was able to send back key information.

 

The spacecraft measured a sudden pulse of electrons energized to extreme speeds - nearly as fast as the speed of light - as the shock slammed the outer radiation belt. This population of electrons was short-lived, and their energy dissipated within minutes. But five days later, long after other processes from the storm had died down, the Van Allen Probes detected an increased number of even higher energy electrons. Such an increase so much later is a testament to the unique energization processes following the storm.

 

"The shock injected - meaning it pushed - electrons from outer regions of the magnetosphere deep inside the belt, and in that process, the electrons gained energy," said Shri Kanekal, the deputy mission scientist for the Van Allen Probes at Goddard and the leading author of a paper on these results.

 

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This March 2015 geomagnetic storm was one of the strongest yet of the decade, but it pales in comparison to some earlier storms. A storm during March 1991 was so strong that it produced long-lived, energized electrons that remained within the radiation belts for multiple years. With luck, the Van Allen Probes may be in the right position in their orbit to observe the radiation belt response to more geomagnetic storms in the future. As scientists gather data from different events, they can compare and contrast them, ultimately helping to create robust models of the little-understood processes occurring in these giant belts.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-08/nsfc-nva081516.php

 

Van Allen Probes Glimpse of Supercharged Radiation Belt

http://spaceref.com/earth/van-allen-probes-glimpse-of-supercharged-radiation-belt.html

 

NASA's Van Allen Probes Catch Rare Glimpse of Supercharged Radiation Belt

http://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/nasas-van-allen-probes-catch-rare-glimpse-of-supercharged-radiation-belt

 

 

 

121923_web.jpg

This is an artist concept of accelerated electrons circulating in Earth's Van Allen radiation belts.
CREDIT
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center; Tom Bridgman, animator

 

 

121921_web.jpg

This is an artist concept of the Van Allen Probes.
CREDIT
JHUAPL

 

 

Supercharging the Radiation Belts

video is 1:30 min.

 

 

 

:D

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Draggendrop

Huge HiRISE Photo Release Reveals Mars' Beauty

 

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More than 1,000 new Mars images have been released by the High-Resolution imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE). The camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been taking pictures of the Red Planet since 2006, providing an incredible high-definition view of the surface. With the experiment now in its second decade of operations, it has proved to be of huge value for science, since it can monitor locations for extremely long periods at jaw-dropping resolutions, as well as mission planning, since it take detailed pictures of the surface for potential landing sites.

http://www.space.com/33767-huge-hirise-photo-release-reveals-mars-beauty.html

 

 

Here is the image library....stunning images....

HIGH RESOLUTION IMAGING SCIENCE EXPERIMENT

http://www.uahirise.org/katalogos.php

 

Click on an image and get a description and more generalized area with co-ordinates.

 

This is a "treat"

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Draggendrop

China shows first images of Mars rover, aims for 2020 mission

 

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China has showed off its first images of a rover it plans to sent to Mars in mid-2020, which is designed to explore the planet surface for three months, state media said, the latest aim of China's ambitious space program.

 

China in 2003 became the third country to put a man in space with its own rocket after the former Soviet Union and the United States.

 

It has touted its plans for moon exploration and in late 2013 completed the first lunar "soft landing" since 1976 with the Chang'e-3 craft and its Jade Rabbit rover.

 

China's latest manned space mission is due in October and is aiming for a manned moon landing by 2036.

 

State news agency Xinhua, in a report late on Tuesday, said the 200 kg (441 lb) rover would have six wheels and be powered by four solar panels, two more than the rover China shot to the moon and 60 kg (132 lb) heavier.

 

"The challenges we face are unprecedented," Zhang Rongqiao, chief architect of the Mars mission, said, according to Xinhua.

 

The probe would carry 13 payloads including a remote sensing camera and a ground penetrating radar, on what is expected to be a three-month exploration mission blasting off in July or August 2020, the report added.

 

"The lander will separate from the orbiter at the end of a journey of around seven months and touch down in a low latitude area in the northern hemisphere of Mars where the rover will explore the surface," it said.

 

The Beijing News added that the northern hemisphere was not as good a place to utilize solar power as the equator, but that the geographic conditions were better.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-space-mars-idUSKCN10Z07B

 

Image 1

 

Image 2

 

image 3

 

// 2020 will be a busy time at Mars with rovers from China, Nasa and ESA/Russia as well as SpaceX Red Dragon

 

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A Newfound Asteroid Just Buzzed Harmlessly By Earth

 

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An asteroid gave Earth a close shave Sunday (Aug. 28), just a day after astronomers first spotted the object.

 

The newfound asteroid 2016 QA2 zoomed within 50,000 miles (80,000 kilometers) or so of the planet Sunday. For perspective, the moon orbits Earth at an average distance of 239,000 miles (384,600 km).

 

Astronomers think 2016 QA2 is between 80 and 180 feet (25 to 55 meters) wide. That means the space rock is slightly bigger than the object that exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk in February 2013, injuring more than 1,200 people.

 

The Chelyabinsk asteroid was probably 65 feet (20 m) or so in diameter when it hit Earth's atmosphere, scientists have said. (The Chelyabinsk object exploded high above the ground, generating a powerful shock wave that shattered thousands of windows. The injuries — none of which were fatal — were cuts caused by flying glass.)

 

The SONEAR Observatory in Brazil discovered 2016 QA2 on Saturday (Aug. 27). The asteroid has a more elliptical orbit than Earth does, coming as close to the sun as 0.76 astronomical units (AU) and getting as far away as 1.18 AU, according to the Minor Planet Center. (One AU is the average distance form Earth to the sun: about 93 million miles, or 150 million km.)

 

The newfound asteroid completes one lap around the sun every 350 days, researchers said.

 

Asteroids in 2016 QA2's size range could conceivably do serious damage on a local scale if they hit Earth. In 1908, for example, an object thought to be about 130 feet (40 m) wide exploded over Siberia, flattening trees over an 825-square-mile area (2,137 square km). (It may seem like asteroids really have it in for Russia, but the nation's higher incidence of strikes is just a result of its huge size.)

 

But an asteroid has to be really big — probably at least 0.6 miles (1 km) wide — to potentially wipe out human civilization or cause some other global catastrophe, astronomers have said. Scientists think they've spotted about 95 percent of the potentially hazardous, mountain-size space rocks out there, and none of those objects pose a threat for the foreseeable future.

http://www.space.com/33891-newfound-asteroid-buzzes-earth-2016-qa2.html

 

There was no mention in the NEO listings...

http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/ca/

 

I just found this a bit unusual, with all the money tied up in various systems in the world to spot exactly this...

 

j/k    I have this silly mental picture of a quiet, low key astronomer, jumping into his 68 Beetle, driving up a winding uphill path to the observatory. He gets out, puts his sandwich on the table, places his coffee on the side, peers into an archaic eye piece....and looks at this huge rocky fireball heading straight at the observatory...and promptly does this..

 

broadside.png

 

:D

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DocM

2020 should end with 3 Red Dragons on Mars: the Q2 2018 launch and 2 scheduled for 2020's window.

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Draggendrop

Ceres: The tiny world where volcanoes erupt ice

 

123098_web.jpg

Volcanic dome Ahuna Mons rises above a foreground impact crater, as seen by NASA's Dawn spacecraft with no vertical exaggeration. Eruptions of salty, muddy water built the mountain by repeated eruptions, flows, and freezing. Streaks from falls of rocks and debris run down its flanks, while overhead views show fracturing across its summit.
CREDIT
Dawn Science Team and NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC

 

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Ahuna Mons is a volcano that rises 13,000 feet high and spreads 11 miles wide at its base. This would be impressive for a volcano on Earth. But Ahuna Mons stands on Ceres, a dwarf planet less than 600 miles wide that orbits the Sun between Mars and Jupiter. Even stranger, Ahuna Mons isn't built from lava the way terrestrial volcanoes are -- it's built from ice.

 

"Ahuna is the one true 'mountain' on Ceres," said David Williams, associate research professor in Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration. "After studying it closely, we interpret it as a dome raised by cryovolcanism."

 

This is a form of low-temperature volcanic activity, where molten ice -- water, usually mixed with salts or ammonia -- replaces the molten silicate rock erupted by terrestrial volcanoes. Giant mountain Ahuna is a volcanic dome built from repeated eruptions of freezing salty water.

 

Williams is part of a team of scientists working with NASA's Dawn mission who have published papers in the journal Science this week. His specialty is volcanism, and that drew him to the puzzle of Ahuna Mons.

 

"Ahuna is truly unique, being the only mountain of its kind on Ceres," he said. "It shows nothing to indicate a tectonic formation, so that led us to consider cryovolcanism as a method for its origin."

 

Dawn scientist Ottaviano Ruesch, of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, is the lead author on the Science paper about Ceres volcanism. He says, "This is the only known example of a cryovolcano that potentially formed from a salty mud mix, and which formed in the geologically recent past."

 

Williams explained that "Ahuna has only a few craters on its surface, which points to an age of just couple hundred million years at most."

 

According to the Dawn team, the implications of Ahuna Mons being volcanic in origin are enormous. It confirms that although Ceres' surface temperature averages almost -40° (Celsius or Fahrenheit; the scales converge at this temperature), its interior has kept warm enough for liquid water or brines to exist for a relatively long period. And this has allowed volcanic activity at the surface in recent geological time.

 

Ahuna Mons is not the only place where icy volcanism happens on Ceres. Dawn's instruments have spotted features that point to cryovolcanic activity that resurfaces areas rather than building tall structures. Numerous craters, for example, show floors that appear flatter than impacts by meteorites would leave them, so perhaps they have been flooded from below. In addition, such flat-floored craters often show cracks suggesting that icy "magma" has pushed them upward, then subsided.

 

A few places on Ceres exhibit a geo-museum of features. "Occator Crater has several bright spots on its floor," said Williams. "The central spot contains what looks like a cryovolcanic dome, rich in sodium carbonates." Other bright spots, he says, occur over fractures that suggest venting of water vapor mixed with bright salts.

 

"As the vapor has boiled away," he explained, "it leaves the bright 1salts and carbonate minerals behind. "

 

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Ceres is the second port of call for the Dawn mission, which was launched in 2007 and visited another asteroid, Vesta, from 2011 to 2012. The spacecraft arrived at Ceres in March 2015. It carries a suite of cameras, spectrometers, and gamma-ray and neutron detectors. These were built to image, map, and measure the shape and surface materials of Ceres, and they collect information to help scientists understand the history of these small worlds and what they can tell us of the solar system's birth.

 

NASA plans for Dawn to continue orbiting Ceres and collecting data for another year or so. The dwarf planet is slowly moving toward its closest approach to the Sun, called perihelion, which will come in April 2018. Scientists expect that the growing solar warmth will produce some detectable changes in Ceres' surface or maybe even trigger volcanic activity.

 

"We hope that by observing Ceres as it approaches perihelion, we might see some active venting. This would be an ideal way to end the mission," said Williams.

more at the link...

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-09/asu-ctt090116.php

 

123099_web.jpg

Dawn's Framing Camera looks down on the fractured summit of Ahuna Mons, tallest mountain on dwarf planet Ceres. The cracks on top suggest Ahuna grew by inflation: icy freezing water pushed up inside the mountain, making a dome. (This image and the following one have the same scale and orientation, and are taken from the Science paper.)
CREDIT
Dawn Science Team and NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC

 

 

123100_web.jpg

Researchers draped a digital terrain model over a shaded image of Ahuna, placing contour lines at 100 meter (330 foot) elevation intervals. Key spot elevations are shown in meters.
CREDIT
Dawn Science Team and NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC

 

:)

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Jim K

New Jupiter images from Juno ...


 

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NASA’s Juno spacecraft has sent back the first-ever images of Jupiter’s north pole, taken during the spacecraft’s first flyby of the planet with its instruments switched on. The images show storm systems and weather activity unlike anything previously seen on any of our solar system’s gas-giant planets.

 

Juno successfully executed the first of 36 orbital flybys on Aug. 27 when the spacecraft came about 2,500 miles (4,200 kilometers) above Jupiter’s swirling clouds. The download of six megabytes of data collected during the six-hour transit, from above Jupiter’s north pole to below its south pole, took one-and-a-half days. While analysis of this first data collection is ongoing, some unique discoveries have already made themselves visible.

 

“First glimpse of Jupiter’s north pole, and it looks like nothing we have seen or imagined before,” said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “It’s bluer in color up there than other parts of the planet, and there are a lot of storms. There is no sign of the latitudinal bands or zone and belts that we are used to -- this image is hardly recognizable as Jupiter. We’re seeing signs that the clouds have shadows, possibly indicating that the clouds are at a higher altitude than other features.”

 

One of the most notable findings of these first-ever pictures of Jupiter’s north and south poles is something that the JunoCam imager did not see.

 

“Saturn has a hexagon at the north pole,” said Bolton. “There is nothing on Jupiter that anywhere near resembles that. The largest planet in our solar system is truly unique. We have 36 more flybys to study just how unique it really is.”

 

Along with JunoCam snapping pictures during the flyby, all eight of Juno’s science instruments were energized and collecting data. The Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM), supplied by the Italian Space Agency, acquired some remarkable images of Jupiter at its north and south polar regions in infrared wavelengths.

 

“JIRAM is getting under Jupiter’s skin, giving us our first infrared close-ups of the planet,” said Alberto Adriani, JIRAM co-investigator from Istituto di Astrofisica e Planetologia Spaziali, Rome. “These first infrared views of Jupiter’s north and south poles are revealing warm and hot spots that have never been seen before. And while we knew that the first-ever infrared views of Jupiter's south pole could reveal the planet's southern aurora, we were amazed to see it for the first time. No other instruments, both from Earth or space, have been able to see the southern aurora. Now, with JIRAM, we see that it appears to be very bright and well-structured. The high level of detail in the images will tell us more about the aurora’s morphology and dynamics.”

 

Among the more unique data sets collected by Juno during its first scientific sweep by Jupiter was that acquired by the mission’s Radio/Plasma Wave Experiment (Waves), which recorded ghostly-sounding transmissions emanating from above the planet. These radio emissions from Jupiter have been known about since the 1950s but had never been analyzed from such a close vantage point.

“Jupiter is talking to us in a way only gas-giant worlds can,” said Bill Kurth, co-investigator for the Waves instrument from the University of Iowa, Iowa City. “Waves detected the signature emissions of the energetic particles that generate the massive auroras which encircle Jupiter’s north pole. These emissions are the strongest in the solar system. Now we are going to try to figure out where the electrons come from that are generating them.”

 

The Juno spacecraft launched on Aug. 5, 2011, from Cape Canaveral, Florida and arrived at Jupiter on July 4, 2016. JPL manages the Juno mission for the principal investigator, Scott Bolton, of Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. Juno is part of NASA's New Frontiers Program, which is managed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft. Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages JPL for NASA.

 

 

pia21030_main_2_north_polar_full-disk_a.

NASA's Juno spacecraft captured this view as it closed in on Jupiter's north pole, about two hours before closest approach on Aug. 27, 2016.

 

pia21031_3_figa_npoleterminatorview2_fig

Juno was about 48,000 miles (78,000 kilometers) above Jupiter's polar cloud tops when it captured this view, showing storms and weather unlike anywhere else in the solar system.

 

pia21033_jiram_aurora_d.png

This infrared image from Juno provides an unprecedented view of Jupiter's southern aurora. Such views are not possible from Earth.

 

Source: NASA

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Jim K

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) caught both Earth and the moon crossing in front of the sun.

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earthmoon1.jpg

You can tell Earth and the moon’s shadows apart by their edges: Earth’s is fuzzy, while the moon’s is sharp and distinct. This is because Earth’s atmosphere absorbs some of the sun’s light, creating an ill-defined edge. On the other hand, the moon has no atmosphere, producing a crisp horizon.

Credits: NASA/SDO

 

Early in the morning of Sept. 1, 2016, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, caught both Earth and the moon crossing in front of the sun. SDO keeps a constant eye on the sun, but during SDO’s semiannual eclipse seasons, Earth briefly blocks SDO’s line of sight each day – a consequence of SDO’s geosynchronous orbit. On Sept. 1, Earth completely eclipsed the sun from SDO’s perspective just as the moon began its journey across the face of the sun. The end of the Earth eclipse happened just in time for SDO to catch the final stages of the lunar transit. 

 

/snip

More at NASA

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Draggendrop

Martian Cliffs

 

1448MR0071730120703066E01_DXXX.jpg

This image was taken by Mars Curiosty Rover's Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1448 (2016-09-01 21:38:05 UTC).  NASA

 

http://spaceref.com/mars/martian-cliffs.html

 

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Fossilized Rivers Suggest Mars Was Once Warm and Wet

 

oomarsriver.jpg

Fossilized River   credit UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON

 

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Extensive systems of fossilised riverbeds have been discovered on an ancient region of the Martian surface, supporting the idea that the now cold and dry Red Planet had a warm and wet climate about 4 billion years ago, according to UCL-led research.

 

The study, published in Geology and funded by the Science & Technology Facilities Council and the UK Space Agency, identified over 17,000 km of former river channels on a northern plain called Arabia Terra, providing further evidence of water once flowing on Mars.

 

"Climate models of early Mars predict rain in Arabia Terra and until now there was little geological evidence on the surface to support this theory. This led some to believe that Mars was never warm and wet but was a largely frozen planet, covered in ice-sheets and glaciers. We've now found evidence of extensive river systems in the area which supports the idea that Mars was warm and wet, providing a more favourable environment for life than a cold, dry planet," explained lead author, Joel Davis (UCL Earth Sciences).

 

Since the 1970s, scientists have identified valleys and channels on Mars which they think were carved out and eroded by rain and surface runoff, just like on Earth. Similar structures had not been seen on Arabia Terra until the team analysed high resolution imagery from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spacecraft.

 

The new study examined images covering an area roughly the size of Brazil at a much higher resolution than was previously possible -- 6 metres per pixel compared to 100 metres per pixel. While a few valleys were identified, the team revealed the existence of many systems of fossilised riverbeds which are visible as inverted channels spread across the Arabia Terra plain.

 

The inverted channels are similar to those found elsewhere on Mars and Earth. They are made of sand and gravel deposited by a river and when the river becomes dry, the channels are left upstanding as the surrounding material erodes. On Earth, inverted channels often occur in dry, desert environments like Oman, Egypt, or Utah, where erosion rates are low -- in most other environments, the channels are worn away before they can become inverted.

"The networks of inverted channels in Arabia Terra are about 30m high and up to 1-2km wide, so we think they are probably the remains of giant rivers that flowed billions of years ago. Arabia Terra was essentially one massive flood plain bordering the highlands and lowlands of Mars. We think the rivers were active 3.9-3.7 billion years ago, but gradually dried up before being rapidly buried and protected for billions of years, potentially preserving any ancient biological material that might have been present," added Joel Davis.

 

"These ancient Martian flood plains would be great places to explore to search for evidence of past life. In fact, one of these inverted channels called Aram Dorsum is a candidate landing site for the European Space Agency's ExoMars Rover mission, which will launch in 2020," said Dr. Matthew Balme, Senior Lecturer at The Open University and co-author of the study.

 

The researchers now plan on studying the inverted channels in greater detail, using higher-resolution data from MRO's HiRISE camera.

http://spaceref.com/mars/fossilized-rivers-suggest-mars-was-once-warm-and-wet.html

 

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Sulfur, Sulfur Dioxide, Graphitized Carbon Observed on Ceres

 

oofp_Ceres-art.jpg

Combined Dawn and HST Image   credit PSI

 

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Hubble Space Telescope observations of the dwarf planet Ceres have discovered the first evidence of sulfur, sulfur dioxide and graphitized carbon found on an asteroid.

 

The sulfur species are likely associated with regions of recent activity, reports Planetary Science Institute Senior Scientist Amanda Hendrix.

 

The discoveries were made by comparing Ceres' ultraviolet-visible spectra to laboratory measurements and are presented in the paper "Ceres: Sulfur Deposits and Graphitized Carbon" that appears in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Planetary Science Institute Senior Scientists Faith Vilas and Jian-Yang Li are co-authors.

 

The new HST observations are complementary to observations being made by instruments on the Dawn spacecraft in orbit at Ceres, covering additional wavelengths.

 

The presence of graphitized carbon is consistent with weathering of carbonaceous material on the asteroid's surface, caused by processes such as charged particle bombardment.

 

"For the first time, a carbon-rich asteroid has been observed in the spectral region where graphitized carbons show unique spectral features," said Hendrix. "Other dark asteroids probably have graphitized carbon on their surfaces as well."

 

"This is a window to evidence of the effects caused by direct exposure to space for a primitive asteroid surface," said Vilas.

 

"Both sulfur and SO2 are volatile species at typical Ceres temperatures - they aren't likely to stick around for long before they sublimate and are lost to space. These species could also migrate to cold regions on Ceres, such as some shadowed craters, where they are stable," said Hendrix. "The presence of these volatile species on the surface suggests that they have recently been emplaced, perhaps by some sort of geothermal activity. Both Dawn observations and Herschel Space Telescope observations have suggested recent activity at Ceres, so it may be that sulfurous materials are involved in the activity."

 

"It is remarkable that Ceres has this graphitized carbon covering much of its surface - which tells us that it's been exposed to weathering processes for eons - and yet Ceres also shows evidence of relatively young, fresh materials as well," said Hendrix.

 

"With two space probes planning to rendezvous with dark, carbon-rich asteroids in the next few years, these Ceres observations are helping us to build a good foundation for our understanding of these type of bodies," Vilas said.

 

Ceres is the largest object in the main asteroid belt, and, along with Pluto, is classified as a dwarf planet.

 

Funding for the research was provided by NASA through a grant from the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc.

http://spaceref.com/ceres/sulfur-sulfur-dioxide-graphitized-carbon-observed-on-ceres.html

 

:D

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Jim K
2 minutes ago, Draggendrop said:

Martian Cliffs

 

1448MR0071730120703066E01_DXXX.jpg

This image was taken by Mars Curiosty Rover's Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1448 (2016-09-01 21:38:05 UTC).  NASA

 

http://spaceref.com/mars/martian-cliffs.html

 

--------

Nice layering.  Need to get some people up there and see if there are any fossils. :) 

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Jim K

Had a hard time deciding where to put this (either here or the miscellaneous launches/payload).  Figured the images of 67P would be good enough for it to be here though. :) 

 

They found Philae!

 

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The images were taken on 2 September by the OSIRIS narrow-angle camera as the orbiter came within 2.7 km of the surface and clearly show the main body of the lander, along with two of its three legs.

 

The images also provide proof of Philae's orientation, making it clear why establishing communications was so difficult following its landing on 12 November 2014.

 

"With only a month left of the Rosetta mission, we are so happy to have finally imaged Philae, and to see it in such amazing detail," says Cecilia Tubiana of the OSIRIS camera team, the first person to see the images when they were downlinked from Rosetta yesterday.

 

"After months of work, with the focus and the evidence pointing more and more to this lander candidate, I'm very excited and thrilled that we finally have this all-important picture of Philae sitting in Abydos," says ESA's Laurence O'Rourke, who has been coordinating the search efforts over the last months at ESA, with the OSIRIS and SONC/CNES teams.

 

/snip

 

ESA_Rosetta_OSIRIS_NAC_20160902T195734_enhanced_625.jpg

 

 

ESA_Rosetta_PhilaeFound_625.jpg

 

ESA_Rosetta_OSIRIS_Philae_zoom_interpolated_625.jpg

 

ESA_Rosetta_OSIRIS_lander_details_625.jpg

 

Rosetta_Philae_instruments_labelled_600.jpg

More at ESA

 

Looks like it is laying down on the job. :( 

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Draggendrop

Looks like it was just plain bad luck to get in a real jam like that. One probably couldn't even plan that if you tried. 

 

Overall, the community still got some great science out of it, as well as experience for the next similar venture.

 

Thanks for posting that.

 

j/k   "Deploy nerf bars" malfunction...:(

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Draggendrop

Cassini Begins Final Year at Saturn

 

ooPIA21046_hires.jpg

Saturn               NASA

 

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After more than 12 years studying Saturn, its rings and moons, NASA's Cassini spacecraft has entered the final year of its epic voyage.

 

The conclusion of the historic scientific odyssey is planned for September 2017, but not before the spacecraft completes a daring two-part endgame.

Beginning on November 30, Cassini's orbit will send the spacecraft just past the outer edge of the main rings. These orbits, a series of 20, are called the F-ring orbits. During these weekly orbits, Cassini will approach to within 4,850 miles (7,800 kilometers) of the center of the narrow F ring, with its peculiar kinked and braided structure.

 

"During the F-ring orbits we expect to see the rings, along with the small moons and other structures embedded in them, as never before," said Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. "The last time we got this close to the rings was during arrival at Saturn in 2004, and we saw only their backlit side. Now we have dozens of opportunities to examine their structure at extremely high resolution on both sides."

 

The Last Act: A Grand Finale

 

Cassini's final phase -- called the Grand Finale -- begins in earnest in April 2017. A close flyby of Saturn's giant moon Titan will reshape the spacecraft's orbit so that it passes through the gap between Saturn and the rings - an unexplored space only about 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometers) wide. The spacecraft is expected to make 22 plunges through this gap, beginning with its first dive on April 27.

 

During the Grand Finale, Cassini will make the closest-ever observations of Saturn, mapping the planet's magnetic and gravity fields with exquisite precision and returning ultra-close views of the atmosphere. Scientists also hope to gain new insights into Saturn's interior structure, the precise length of a Saturn day, and the total mass of the rings -- which may finally help settle the question of their age. The spacecraft will also directly analyze dust-sized particles in the main rings and sample the outer reaches of Saturn's atmosphere -- both first-time measurements for the mission.

"It's like getting a whole new mission," said Spilker. "The scientific value of the F ring and Grand Finale orbits is so compelling that you could imagine a whole mission to Saturn designed around what we're about to do."

 

Getting Into Saturn, Literally

 

Since the beginning of 2016, mission engineers have been tweaking Cassini's orbital path around Saturn to position the spacecraft for the mission's final phase. They have sent the spacecraft on a series of flybys past Titan that are progressively raising the tilt of Cassini's orbit with respect to Saturn's equator and rings. This particular orientation enables the spacecraft to leap over the rings with a single (and final) Titan flyby in April, to begin the Grand Finale.

 

"We've used Titan's gravity throughout the mission to sling Cassini around the Saturn system," said Earl Maize, Cassini project manager at JPL. "Now Titan is coming through for us once again, providing a way for Cassini to get into these completely unexplored regions so close to the planet."

 

The Grand Finale will come to a dramatic end on Sept. 15, 2017, as Cassini dives into Saturn's atmosphere, returning data about the planet's chemical composition until its signal is lost. Friction with the atmosphere will cause the spacecraft to burn up like a meteor soon afterward.

http://spaceref.com/saturn/cassini-begins-final-year-at-saturn.html

 

Those images are going to be awesome.....:D

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Draggendrop

Black Moon 2016: What It Is (and Why You Can't See It)

 

Quote

September 2016 is host to a somewhat unusual lunar event: a second new moon in a single month, an event some people call a "Black Moon." 

 

While a full moon refers to the moment when the moon's Earth-facing side is fully illuminated by sunlight, a new moon refers to the moment when the moon's Earth-facing side is fully in shadow. (Unfortunately, that means the Black Moon will be more or less invisible, even if the moon is high in the sky). 

 

The lunar calendar almost lines up with Earth's calendar year, so there is typically one full moon and one new moon each month. A second full moon in a single calendar month is sometimes called a "Blue Moon." A Black Moon is supposedly the flip side of a Blue Moon: the second new moon in a single calendar month. The next Black Moon takes place on Sept. 30 (in the Western Hemisphere).

 

Quote

A Black Moon (in some parts of the world)

 

From the Western Hemisphere, the new moon occurring on Friday, Sept. 30, is a Black Moon. Officially, it occurs at 8:11 p.m. Eastern Time (5:11 p.m. Pacific Time).  

 

For the Eastern Hemisphere (Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia), this new moon occurs after midnight on the calendar date of Oct. 1. So for this part of the world, this particular new moon is not the second one in the calendar month, but rather, the first! Indeed, for the billions living in the Eastern Hemisphere, the Black Moon will arrive on Oct. 30 or, if you live in eastern Asia, Japan, Australia or New Zealand, not until Oct. 31 (Halloween).

 

The Black Moon is a somewhat unusual celestial event — they occur about once every 32 months. 

 

Quote

Seeing (or not seeing) a Black Moon

 

At its "new moon" phase, the moon is always black. It happens at that time of the month when the moon passes through the same part of the sky as the sun and as such, the moon's dark or unilluminated side faces Earth. So there really is nothing to see.

 

Actually, that's not always true, since there are times when the new moon passes directly between Earth and the sun and Earthlings can then see the moon's black silhouette crossing in front of the sun, causing a solar eclipse. That, in fact, actually happened with this month's first new moon, on Sept. 1, creating an annular eclipse (also known as a "Ring of Fire Eclipse") over parts of Africa.

 

moon-observing-120921a-02.jpg?1348245568

With a pair of binoculars or a small telescope, many spectacular features can be spotted on the moon. 
Credit: Karl Tate, SPACE.com

 

http://www.space.com/34162-black-moon-guide.html

 

------------------------

 

Four NASA Satellites Set Record for Formation Flying in Space

 

Quote

Four individual satellites of NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale mission (MMS) recently set a record for the closest flying formation ever achieved by a multi-craft space mission to date. 

 

On Sept. 15, the satellite quartet flew only 4.5 miles (7.2 kilometers) apart, breaking the previous record of six miles (9.7 km) set by the MMS satellites in October 2015, according to a statement from NASA. You can see how the MMS satellites fly in this NASA video.

 

MMS consists of four satellites, which weigh approximately 3,000 pounds (1,360 kilograms) each. The satellites fly within Earth's protective magnetic field — the magnetosphere — and represent the first instruments to directly travel through areas where a cosmic phenomenon known as magnetic reconnection occurs. [NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission in Pictures]

 

Magnetic reconnection occurs when magnetic field lines break apart and reconnect. This process sends huge bursts of energy and charged particles hurtling toward Earth, and is also responsible for the spectacular auroras — or northern and southern lights — that dance across the sky. 

 

mmstetrahedronshort-promo.gif?1474646071

This animation shows the four Magnetospheric Multiscale satellites orbiting Earth in the tetrahedron formation.
Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Joy Ng, producer

 

Quote

The four satellites orbit Earth in a tetrahedron or pyramid shape with one probe at each corner. Traveling in this choreographed arrangement allows the instruments to capture 3D observations and study magnetic reconnection up close. 

 

"MMS' new, closer formation will allow the spacecraft to measure magnetic reconnection at smaller scales, helping scientists understand this phenomenon on every level," NASA officials said in the statement. 

 

While magnetic fields can be found all over the universe, MMS directly studies magnetic reconnection in the magnetic field around Earth. Here, the sun's magnetic field lines bump up against the magnetosphere causing a few lines to break and reconnect.

 

The MMS satellites launched into space aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on March 12, 2015, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The four probes are part of two-year mission. 

http://www.space.com/34167-nasa-satellites-formation-flying-space-record.html

 

Tetrahedral Formation At 15,000 MPH Performed By NASA Spacecraft Quartet | Video

video is 4:55 min.

 

 

 

magnetospheric-multiscale-observatories.

NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) observatories are shown here in the clean room being processed for a March 12 launch from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
Credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky

 

magnetosphere-earth-illustration.jpg?142

A giant magnetic bubble, called the magnetosphere, surrounds Earth. NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale, or MMS, mission, studies how a phenomenon called magnetic reconnection allows energy and particles from the sun to funnel inside the magnetosphere, into near-Earth space.
Credit: NASA/Goddard/Conceptual Image Lab

 

mms-magnetospheric-multiscale-mission-15

 

 

:D

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Draggendrop

Rosetta Spacecraft ends Milestone Mission with deliberate Crash Landing on Comet 67P

 

Quote

ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft found its final resting place on the surface of Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Friday, capping an eight-billion-Kilometer, twelve-and-a-half-year journey to study the origins of the Solar System and life on Earth.

 

Signals from the comet explorer ceased at 11:19 UTC on Friday when Rosetta automatically deactivated upon coming into contact with the surface of comet 67P following an elaborate multi-hour descent to capture unprecedented data in close proximity to the comet’s surface.

 

The maneuver, while aiming for a gentle touchdown, was always set up as an out-of-this-world suicide jump with no chance of any further communication with the spacecraft.

http://spaceflight101.com/rosetta-spacecraft-ends-milestone-mission/

 

 

Comet_from_16_km-512x512.jpg

OSIRIS Photo from 16 Kilometers – Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

 

 

Comet_from_15.5_km_wide-angle_camera-1-5

Rosetta’s OSIRIS wide-angle imager captured this photo from a distance of 15.5 Kilometers – Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

 

 

Comet_from_1.2_km_narrow-angle_camera-51

Close-up of pit from 1.2km in altitude – Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

 

Comet_from_51_m_wide-angle_camera-1.jpg

Rosetta’s last photo, taken 51 meters above the surface – Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

 

deir_el_medina-768x570.jpg

This view of the Deir el-Medina pit was captured by the OSIRIS camera about 55 minutes before landing. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

 

rosetta-descent-image-comet-67p.jpg?1475

Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera captured this image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko at 0120 GMT from an altitude of about 16 km above the surface during the spacecraft’s final descent on Sept. 30, 2016. The image scale is about 30 cm/pixel and the image measures about 614 meters across.
Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

 

rosetta-descent-comet-67p.jpg?1475251418

Rosetta’s OSIRIS camera captured this image of Comet 67P at 0818 GMT from an altitude of about 5.8 km during the spacecraft’s final descent on Sept. 30, 2016.
The image scale is about 11 cm/pixel and the image measures about 225 meters across.
Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

 

Rosetta Spacecraft ends Milestone Mission with deliberate Crash Landing on Comet 67P

analysis...

http://spaceflight101.com/rosetta-spacecraft-ends-milestone-mission/

 

Parting Shots: The Rosetta Spacecraft's Last Photos of Comet 67P

http://www.space.com/34267-rosetta-comet-mission-final-photos.html

 

 

 

 

 

video series....

 

Film Ambition 2014 ESA Rosetta Mission new

video is 4:48 min.

 

 

 

 

Ambition – Epilogue

video is 2:12 min.

 

 

 

 

Once upon a time... mission complete

video is 1:54 min.

 

 

:)

 

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Jim K

Can't get over looking at that first image (the one where you're almost looking at a "mountain range").  Trying to wrap my head around on how they took it from 16km up(?) I guess

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Draggendrop
10 minutes ago, jjkusaf said:

Can't get over looking at that first image (the one where you're almost looking at a "mountain range").  Trying to wrap my head around on how they took it from 16km up(?) I guess

There is a blowup of the same shot near the end of the post. They used the narrow angle cam. Must have been an opportunity shot with great ambient lighting. All the images have been of great quality....outstanding payload subsystem choices.

 

As a follow-up...

 

After Rosetta: what next for the European Space Agency?

 

3500.jpg?w=1225&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&

For those looking looking for a new space project to follow, ESA’s Exo Mars mission is already underway. Photograph: ESA/PA

 

Quote

“Rosetta is dead, long live Rosetta,” Patrick Martin, Rosetta’s mission manager, declared on receiving today’s confirmation that the $1bn spacecraft had hit the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, bringing its journey to an end.

 

For those who are mourning the end of Rosetta, here are some of the next space voyages that the European Space Agency (ESA) has planned:

 

The Exo Mars mission is already underway, with its Schiaparelli module due to land on the planet on 19 October. The second stage of the mission will kick off in 2020 when the Exo Mars rover is launched.


ESA’s Solar Orbiter (SOLO) is scheduled to launch in October 2018. It will observe the turbulent surface of the sun in unprecedented detail and measure the solar wind.


Planned for launch in 2022 and arrival in 2030, ESA’s deep space JUICE (Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer) probe will spend at least three years observing the giant gaseous planet Jupiter and three of its largest moons, Ganymede, Callisto and Europa.


If approved in December, ESA’s Asteroid Impact mission (AIM) will launch in October 2020, and head for the binary asteroid system, Didymos, and ultimately crash a probe straight into the smaller of the two, known as Didymoon.


Jan Woerner, ESA’s Director General also said this month that a moon village - a permanent, manned outpost - should be a long-term goal in space exploration.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/sep/30/after-rosetta-what-next-for-the-european-space-agency

 

:D

 

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Jim K

NASA's Cassini spacecraft stared at Saturn for nearly 44 hours in April 2016 to obtain this movie showing four Saturn days. 
Cassini will begin a series of dives between the planet and its rings in April 2017, building toward a dramatic end of mission -- a final plunge into the planet, six months later.
For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov and http://www.nasa.gov/cassini.

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Jim K

NASA's Curiosity Rover Begins Next Mars Chapter

 

Quote

After collecting drilled rock powder in arguably the most scenic landscape yet visited by a Mars rover, NASA's Curiosity mobile laboratory is driving toward uphill destinations as part of its two-year mission extension that commenced Oct. 1.  The destinations include a ridge capped with material rich in the iron-oxide mineral hematite, about a mile-and-a-half (two-and-a-half kilometers) ahead, and an exposure of clay-rich bedrock beyond that.

 

These are key exploration sites on lower Mount Sharp, which is a layered, Mount-Rainier-size mound where Curiosity is investigating evidence of ancient, water-rich environments that contrast with the harsh, dry conditions on the surface of Mars today.

 

"We continue to reach higher and younger layers on Mount Sharp," said Curiosity Project Scientist Ashwin Vasavada, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. "Even after four years of exploring near and on the mountain, it still has the potential to completely surprise us."

 

Hundreds of photos Curiosity took in recent weeks amid a cluster of mesas and buttes of diverse shapes are fresh highlights among the more than 180,000 images the rover has taken since landing on Mars in August 2012. Newly available vistas include the rover's latest self-portrait from the color camera at the end of its arm and a scenic panorama from the color camera at the top of the mast.

 

"Bidding good-bye to 'Murray Buttes,' Curiosity's assignment is the ongoing study of ancient habitability and the potential for life," said Curiosity Program Scientist Michael Meyer at NASA Headquarters, Washington. "This mission, as it explores the succession of rock layers, is reading the 'pages' of Martian history -- changing our understanding of Mars and how the planet has evolved. Curiosity has been and will be a cornerstone in our plans for future missions."

 

The component images of the self-portrait were taken near the base of one of the Murray Buttes, at the same site where the rover used its drill on Sept. 18 to acquire a sample of rock powder. An attempt to drill at this site four days earlier had halted prematurely due to a short-circuit issue that Curiosity had experienced previously, but the second attempt successfully reached full depth and collected sample material. After departing the buttes area, Curiosity delivered some of the rock sample to its internal laboratory for analysis.

 

This latest drill site -- the 14th for Curiosity -- is in a geological layer about 600 feet (180 meters) thick, called the Murray formation. Curiosity has climbed nearly half of this formation's thickness so far and found it consists primarily of mudstone, formed from mud that accumulated at the bottom of ancient lakes. The findings indicate that the lake environment was enduring, not fleeting. For roughly the first half of the new two-year mission extension, the rover team anticipates investigating the upper half of the Murray formation.

 

"We will see whether that record of lakes continues further," Vasavada said. "The more vertical thickness we see, the longer the lakes were present, and the longer habitable conditions existed here. Did the ancient environment change over time? Will the type of evidence we've found so far transition to something else?"

 

The "Hematite Unit" and "Clay Unit" above the Murray formation were identified from Mars orbiter observations before Curiosity's landing. Information about their composition, from the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, made them high priorities as destinations for the rover mission. Both hematite and clay typically form in wet environments.

 

Vasavada said, "The Hematite and the Clay units likely indicate different environments from the conditions recorded in older rock beneath them and different from each other. It will be interesting to see whether either or both were habitable environments."

 

NASA approved Curiosity's second extended mission this summer on the basis of plans presented by the rover team. Additional extensions for exploring farther up Mount Sharp may be considered in the future. The Curiosity mission has already achieved its main goal of determining whether the landing region ever offered environmental conditions that would have been favorable for microbial life, if Mars has ever hosted life. The mission found evidence of ancient rivers and lakes, with a chemical energy source and all of the chemical ingredients necessary for life as we know it.

 

pia20846.jpg

This map shows the route driven by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover from the location where it landed in August 2012 to its location in September 2016 at "Murray Buttes," and the path planned for reaching destinations at "Hematite Unit" and "Clay Unit" on lower Mount Sharp.

 

NASA

 

 

360 Degree View

 

 

pia20843.jpg

The top of the butte in this Sept. 1, 2016, scene from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover stands about 16 feet above the rover and about 82 feet east-southeast of the rover. The site is in the "Murray Buttes" area of lower Mount Sharp, and this particular butte is called "M9a."

 

 

pia20845.jpg

This graphic maps locations of the sites where NASA's Curiosity Mars rover collected its first 18 rock or soil samples for laboratory analysis inside the vehicle. It also presents images of the drilled holes where 14 rock-powder samples were acquired, most recently at "Quela," on Sept. 18, 2016.

 

////////

 

I'm curious (pun intended) what this circular feature is.  Anyone have a hook-up with the folks running this mission ... maybe have them do a detour and check it out? :)

 

Capture.JPG

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Unobscured Vision

Sure that's not a bore-hole where Curiosity drilled for a sample? Kinda looks like one. Never mind. It's a large overhead view. Gotta be a full-shadowed crater.

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Draggendrop

@jjkusaf

 

reference...

Quote

I'm curious (pun intended) what this circular feature is.  Anyone have a hook-up with the folks running this mission ... maybe have them do a detour and check it out?

j/k

Last two times that our contacts interfered....this is what happened....

 

 

 

 

and...

 

 

 

Think we'll pass and call it a deep crater.....:woot:

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Draggendrop

Saturn’s moon Dione might harbor an underground ocean

 

100716_CC_saturnmoon_main.jpg

An ocean might lurk under the ice of Saturn’s moon Dione, seen in this 2015 image from the Cassini spacecraft with Saturn and its rings in the background.

 

Quote

A Saturnian satellite joins the club of moons with oceans. A subsurface sea might hide beneath the icy crust of Dione, a moon of Saturn, researchers report online September 28 in Geophysical Research Letters. That puts Dione in good company alongside Enceladus (another moon of Saturn), several moons of Jupiter and possibly even Pluto.

 

Dione’s ocean is about 100 kilometers below the surface and is roughly 65 kilometers deep, Mikael Beuthe, a planetary scientist at the Royal Observatory of Belgium in Brussels, and colleagues report. They inferred the ocean’s presence from measurements of Dione’s gravity made by the Cassini spacecraft, which has been in orbit around Saturn since 2004.

https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/science-ticker/saturn’s-moon-dione-might-harbor-underground-ocean?tgt=nr

 

 

From the Abstract...

 

Enceladus' and Dione's floating ice shells supported by minimum stress isostasy

 

Quote

Enceladus' gravity and shape have been explained in terms of a thick isostatic ice shell floating on a global ocean, in contradiction of the thin shell implied by librations. Here we propose a new isostatic model minimizing crustal deviatoric stress, and demonstrate that gravity and shape data predict a 38 ± 4km-thick ocean beneath a 23 ± 4km-thick shell agreeing with – but independent from – libration data. Isostatic and tidal stresses are comparable in magnitude. South polar crust is only 7 ± 4km thick, facilitating the opening of water conduits and enhancing tidal dissipation through stress concentration. Enceladus' resonant companion, Dione, is in a similar state of minimum stress isostasy. Its gravity and shape can be explained in terms of a 99 ± 23km-thick isostatic shell overlying a 65 ± 30km-thick global ocean, thus providing the first clear evidence for a present-day ocean within Dione.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2016GL070650/abstract

 

https://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/

 

----------------------------

 

Just for giggles...

 

Mars Rover funny clip TV commercial

video is 22 sec.

 

 

 

This one is great...

Mars:2020:Springtime

video is 1:25 min.

 

 

 

:D

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Jim K

100km's below the surface ... hmmm ... I think that is about what Europa's is as well.  Going to be a tall task to explore (or drill into) that ... for reference I believe we've only drilled down to a little over 12km's on Earth.  Enceladus might be a better target for seeing if mico-life is out there in a subsurface ocean...with its active water volcanoes and oceans *only* around 20km deep. :) 

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DocM

The best ice borer for bodies like this seems to be the capsule with an RTG in its nose. The heat melts its way through, also using longitudinal  heat piles to keep the channel open until it passes. Once it hits water an autonomous submarine drone is released The problem s getting data back through the ice. 

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LOC

We could always nuke the ice! I bet Elon Musk has an idea for that... :D

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Draggendrop

Just saw this article...great images...

 

New Gems from the Moon

 

Quote

2016/10/10 21:00 UTC

 

From October 2007 to June 2009, Japan’s SELENE (SELenological and ENgineering Explorer) mission orbited the moon. The mission consisted of three spacecraft. The largest was better known by the nickname the public had chosen for it: Kaguya, honoring a lunar princess of Japanese legend.

 

During its expedition, the SELENE mission returned a wealth of scientific information from its polar orbit, such as the most detailed map of the moon’s gravity field ever obtained up until that time.

 

The Kaguya spacecraft also carried cameras, including one with a pair of 2.2 megapixel HDTV sensors that captured the first high-definition video from the moon. Thanks to this clear-eyed video camera, many of Kaguya’s images—especially the shots showing the Earth rising and setting at the lunar horizon—are moving in both senses of the word.

 

Now the Japanese space agency, JAXA, has publicly released the entire data set from Kaguya’s HDTV cameras. The iconic views are all there...plus some gems that haven’t been widely seen before. One reason they weren’t previously released may be that some of them are “marred” by lens flare and other imperfections, but I think such things lend interesting visual texture and context to the images and videos.

 

Enjoy a few examples below, then visit the Kaguya HDTV Data Publication System website if you want to explore further.

 

More than seven years after Kaguya’s planned impact on the lunar surface, it’s good to have these fresh visions, courtesy of the moon’s brave princess.

http://www.planetary.org/blogs/guest-blogs/bill-dunford/20161010-new-gems-from-the-moon.html

 

Image entry portal, Kaguya HDTV Data Publication System

 

20161008_half_earth_f840.png

Half Earth from Kaguya

There’s a beautiful Earth out tonight: A still shot from Kaguya’s HDTV camera on New Year’s Eve, 2007.  JAXA / NHK

 

 

20161008_crescent_earth_f840.jpg

Crescent Earth from Kaguya

The Kaguya spacecraft acquired this image of a crescent Earth beyond the horizon of our Moon on February 24, 2008. JAXA / NHK

 

 

20161008_kaguya_earthset_f840.jpg

Earthset from Kaguya

In this still shot from the HDTV camera aboard the Kaguya spacecraft, the Earth appears to set below the lunar horizon as the spacecraft moves around the moon in its polar orbit. This view comes from an altitude of about 100 km in January 2008.  JAXA / NHK

 

 

Lunar South Pole Earthset Viewed by Kaguya

video is 0:36 min.

 

 

 

 

Rise of Earth and Venus Viewed by Kaguya

video is 0:30 min.

 

 

 

:)

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