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MRO Reveals New Dark Markings on Mars – Possibly Water

NASA December 10, 2013 NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has revealed to scientists slender dark markings — possibly due to salty water – that advance seasonally down slopes surprisingly close to the Martian equator. “The equatorial surface region of Mars has been regarded as dry, free of liquid or frozen water, but we may need to rethink that,” said Alfred McEwen ... Read More »

Juno Spacecraft Makes First Earth-Moon Flyby Video

NASA JPL December 10, 2013 When NASA’s Juno spacecraft flew past Earth on Oct. 9, 2013, it received a boost in speed of more than 8,800 mph (about 7.3 kilometer per second), which set it on course for a July 4, 2016, rendezvous with Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system. One of Juno’s sensors, a special kind of ... Read More »

Curiosity Determines the Age of a Martian Rock

NASA December 09, 2013 NASA’s Curiosity rover is providing vital insight about Mars’ past and current environments that will aid plans for future robotic and human missions. In a little more than a year on the Red Planet, the mobile Mars Science Laboratory has determined the age of a Martian rock, found evidence the planet could have sustained microbial life, ... Read More »

Landsat 8 Satellite Discovers Coldest Spot on Earth

NASA December 09, 2013 What is the coldest place on Earth? It is a high ridge in Antarctica on the East Antarctic Plateau where temperatures in several hollows can dip below minus 133.6 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 92 degrees Celsius) on a clear winter night. Scientists made the discovery while analyzing the most detailed global surface temperature maps to date, developed ... Read More »

New Images of Dwarf Planet’s Eris and Sedna

In celebration of the 10th year anniversary of the discovery of dwarf planet Sedna, astronomer Gianluca Masi at the Virtual Telescope Project has released a new image of Sedna (image below), as well as a new image of dwarf planet Eris (image above). Sedna was discovered on November 14, 2003. Eris is currently the largest dwarf planet known and is ... Read More »

Curiosity Rover Fires Over 100,000 Laser Blasts

NASA JPL December 5, 2013 NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has passed the milestone of 100,000 shots fired by its laser. It uses the laser as one way to check which chemical elements are in rocks and soils. The 100,000th shot was one of a series of 300 to investigate 10 locations on a rock called “Ithaca” in late October, at ... Read More »

New View of Saturn’s Hexagon-Shaped Pole

NASA JPL Cassini December 4, 2013 NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has obtained the highest-resolution movie yet of a unique six-sided jet stream, known as the hexagon, around Saturn’s north pole. This is the first hexagon movie of its kind, using color filters, and the first to show a complete view of the top of Saturn down to about 70 degrees latitude. ... Read More »

Possible Supermassive Black Hole Pair Discovered – May Merge

NASA JPL December 03, 2013 Astronomers have spotted what appear to be two supermassive black holes at the heart of a remote galaxy, circling each other like dance partners. The incredibly rare sighting was made with the help of NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. Follow-up observations with the Australian Telescope Compact Array near Narrabri, Australia, and the Gemini ... Read More »

Big Japanese Earthquake Left Visible “Gravity Scar”

ESA December 03, 2013 ESA’s GOCE satellite has revealed that the devastating Japanese earthquake of 2011 left its mark in Earth’s gravity – yet another example of this extraordinary mission surpassing its original scope. GOCE mapped Earth’s gravity with unrivalled precision for over four years, but nobody really expected the data to show changes over time. Now, careful analysis shows ... Read More »

Hubble Telescope Finds Signals for Water on Alien Planets

NASA December 03, 2013 Using the powerful­ eye of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, two teams of scientists have found faint signatures of water in the atmospheres of five distant planets. The presence of atmospheric water was reported previously on a few exoplanets orbiting stars beyond our solar system, but this is the first study to conclusively measure and compare the ... Read More »

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