Space Probes

Blogs about space probes: launch and operations.

Arsia Mons (Image NASA/JPL/USGS)

An article published in the journal “Earth and Planetary Science Letters” describes a research about Arsia Mons, a volcano on the planet Mars. A team led by Jacob Richardson of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center examined high-resolution images taken by the MRO (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) space probe to determine that Arsia Mons was at its peak of activity about 150 million years ago and that its last activity probably ended about 50 million years ago.

Phases of the collapse at Aswan (Image ESA/Rosetta/NavCam – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0; ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA)

Two articles, one published in the journal “Nature Astronomy” and one published in the journal “Science”, describe two studies about the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The first is about a cliff Aswan in the Seth region of the comet’s nucleus that crumbled. The second article is about the changes that occurred on the comet’s surface detected thanks to ESA’s Rosetta space probe between the summer of 2014 and September 2016.

Enceladus with some tiger stripes in blue (Image NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute)

An article published in the journal “Nature Astronomy” describes the discovery that the south pole of Enceladus, one of the planet Saturn’s moons, is warmer than expected under the icy surface. A team of researchers led by Alice Le Gall of LATMOS and UVSQ studied detections carried out by the Cassini space probe during a flyby in 2011 concluding that the underground ocean on Enceladus is closer to the surface than previously thought.

The great bright spot at the center of Occator crater (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/PSI/LPI)

An article published in the journal “Astronomical Journal” describes a study that provides a dating to the large bright spot in Occator crater on the dwarf planet Ceres. A team of researchers led by Andreas Nathues of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Göttingen, Germany, used data collected by NASA’s Dawn space probe to analyze the interior of Occator concluding that the bright spot is 4 million years old, 30 million less of the crater.

Kasei Valles (Photo ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

ESA has published new photos of the Kasei Valles channel system on Mars captured by the Mars Express space probe’s High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) instrument. The collected data indicate that Kasei Valles were generated by a series of mega-floods and not by a continuous water flow on the surface. Today this system of channels is one of the largest on Mars and extends for 3,000 kilometers (almost 1,900 miles) from Echus Chasma, near Valles Marineris, up to Chryse Planitia.