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Collapsing Cliff Reveals Interior of Rosetta’s Comet

ESA March 21, 2017 Rosetta scientists have made the first compelling link between an outburst of dust and gas and the collapse of a prominent cliff, which also exposed the pristine, icy interior of the comet. Sudden and short-lived outbursts were observed frequently during Rosetta’s two-year mission at Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Although their exact trigger has been much debated, the outbursts ... Read More »

Comet Jets Are Coming From Large Sinkholes

ESA July 1, 2015 A number of the dust jets emerging from Rosetta’s comet can be traced back to active pits that were likely formed by a sudden collapse of the surface. These ‘sinkholes’ are providing a glimpse at the chaotic and diverse interior of the comet. Rosetta has been monitoring Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko’s activity for over a year, watching how ... Read More »

Possible Supervolcano Caldera on Mars

ESA May 21, 2015 At first glance, the region covered by this latest Mars Express image release appears to be pockmarked with impact craters. But the largest structure among them may hold a rather explosive secret: it could be remains of an ancient supervolcano. The images presented here were taken by the high-resolution stereo camera on ESA’s Mars Express on ... Read More »

Saturn’s Moon Enceladus Has Seafloor Hydrothermal Activity

ESA March 11, 2015 Tiny grains of rock detected by the international Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn point to hydrothermal activity on the seafloor of its icy moon Enceladus. The finding adds to the tantalising possibility that the moon could contain environments suitable for living organisms. Understanding the interior structure of 500 km-diameter Enceladus has been a top priority of the ... Read More »

What is Causing the Mysterious Martian Plumes?

ESA February 16, 2015 Plumes seen reaching high above the surface of Mars are causing a stir among scientists studying the atmosphere on the Red Planet. On two separate occasions in March and April 2012, amateur astronomers reported definite plume-like features developing on the planet. The plumes were seen rising to altitudes of over 250 km above the same region ... Read More »

Rosetta’s Comet Reveals Its Secrets

ESA January 22, 2015 Rosetta is revealing its host comet as having a remarkable array of surface features and with many processes contributing to its activity, painting a complex picture of its evolution. In a special edition of the journal Science, initial results are presented from seven of Rosetta’s 11 science instruments based on measurements made during the approach to ... Read More »

Philae Lander Shuts Down After Completing Mission

ESA November 15, 2014 Rosetta’s lander has completed its primary science mission after nearly 57 hours on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. After being out of communication visibility with the lander since 09:58 GMT / 10:58 CET on Friday, Rosetta regained contact with Philae at 22:19 GMT /23:19 CET last night. The signal was initially intermittent, but quickly stabilised and remained very good ... Read More »

New Weather Map of Exoplanet is Most Detailed Ever

ESA/Hubble October 9, 2014 A team of scientists using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have made the most detailed map ever of the temperature of an exoplanet’s atmosphere, and traced the amount of water it contains. The planet targeted for both of the investigations was the hot-Jupiter exoplanet WASP-43b. WASP-43b is a planet the size of Jupiter but with double ... Read More »

Toxic Cloud on Titan is Laced With Cyanide

ESA October 1, 2014 The international Cassini mission has revealed that a giant, toxic cloud is hovering over the south pole of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, after the atmosphere has cooled in a dramatic fashion. Scientists analysing data from the mission found that this giant polar vortex contains frozen particles of the toxic compound hydrogen cyanide. “The discovery suggests that ... Read More »

Candidate Landing Sites for Philae Lander Chosen

NASA JPL August 25, 2014 The European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission has chosen five candidate landing sites on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko for its Philae lander. Philae’s descent to the comet’s nucleus, scheduled for this November, will be the first such landing ever attempted. Rosetta is an international mission spearheaded by the European Space Agency with support and instruments provided by NASA. ... Read More »

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