ESA has published some images of a crater with more than 30 kilometers (about 20 miles) across north of the large Hellas Planitia basin on the planet Mars obtained thanks to the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) instrument of the Mars Express space probe. The appearance of the crater along with the river valleys to the south indicates that at the time of impact there was groundwater near the surface. This is another indication that there was a lake in that region.
An article published in the journal “The Astrophysical Journal Letters” describes a research on the exoplanet WASP-12b. A team of astronomers from the McGille University, Canada, and the University of Exeter, UK, used the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS), an instrument of the Hubble Space Telescope discovering that the planet reflects only a very little percentage of the light it receives from its star. In a word, this strange planet is darker than fresh asphalt: in technical terms, its albedo is 0.064.
A little while ago the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft ended its CRS-12 (Cargo Resupply Service 12) mission for NASA splashing down smoothly in the Pacific Ocean a little more than 420 kilometers (about 326 miles) off the coast of California. The Dragon left the International Space Station a few hours before.
NASA has confirmed that it has lost contact with the Cassini space probe, which until the last moment was sending information as it descended into the atmosphere of the planet Saturn and went to its destruction. It’s the end of the Cassini-Huygens mission, a collaboration between NASA, ESA and ASI (Italian Space Agency), one of the most extraordinary space missions in history.
A few hours ago the Soyuz MS-06 spacecraft was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and after about six hours reached the International Space Station with the three new crew members on board Mark Vande Hei, Joe Acaba and Alexander Misurkin. The Soyuz used the fast track, now commonly used also for this spacecraft’s new version.