Massimo Luciani

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Illustration of the method to estimate a comet's size (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech)

An article published in “The Astronomical Journal” describes a research on long-period comets concluding that they’re more common than expected. A team of researchers led by James Bauer of the University of Maryland used data collected by NASA’s WISE Space Telescope to discover that those at least one kilometer (0.6 miles) across are more common than expected and are, on average, twice as large as those of the Jupiter family.

Ancient volcanic deposits on the Moon (Image courtesy Milliken lab / Brown University)

An article published in the journal “Nature Geoscience” describes a research that provides evidence of the existence of large amounts of water in ancient volcanic deposits on the Moon. Ralph E. Milliken and Shuai Li of Brown University used data collected by the Chandrayaan-1 space probe’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper Spectrometer to locate the water, perhaps formed after the collision between a planet and the primordial Earth that led to the Moon’s formation.

Rendering of the Falcon Heavy on Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center (Image SpaceX)

This week, Elon Musk spoke at the International Space Station (ISS) Research & Development Conference held in Washington and provided some updates about the developments in SpaceX programs for the near future. After a number of years of important statements, including the ones about expeditions to Mars, on the contrary this time he had to slow down explaining that there are changes and a number of delays, but suggesting that more news will come in the future.

The possible impact area on Mars (Image MOLA Science Team)

An article published in “Geophysical Research Letters” describes a study that attributes to a gigantic meteoric impact on Mars’ northern hemisphere almost 4.5 billion years ago some of the red planet’s features. According to Stephen Mojzsis of University of Colorado Boulder and Ramon Brasser of Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan that’s the cause of the presence of rare metals, of the differences between the northern and southern hemisphere and perhaps even the existence of its two moons.

The 5 H.E.S.S. telescopes (Photo H.E.S.S., MPIK/Christian Foehr)

An article published in the journal “Physical Review Letters” describes a new interpretation of observations made with NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and the High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.) observatory in Namibia. According to a team of Italian researchers led by Daniele Gaggero of the University of Amsterdam, at the center of the Milky Way there’s a kind of trap that focuses there some of the highest energy cosmic rays, the fastest particle of the galaxy.