Space Probes

Artistic concept of NASA's GRAIL space probes during their mission in Moon's orbit (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech)

An article published in the journal “Geophysical Research Letters” describes a research on the implications of multiple asteroid impacts on the Moon some four billion years ago. Using data collected by NASA’s GRAIL (Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory) twin space probes, a team of scientists led by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) discovered a significant porosity in the lunar surface and a network of large seams below it.

Occator crater and the white spots on the dwarf planet Ceres (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS)

NASA has released a new image of the now famous white spots of Ceres, one of the most mysterious geological features found on this dwarf planet. The Dawn space probe is currently mapping its surface from an altitude of 1,470 km (915 miles) and that allowed to take pictures much more detailed than the ones previously available. These new images have a resolution of 140 meters (450 feet) per pixel and are providing new information about the white spots waiting for in-depth analyzes.

On the left a picture of the Sun taken by the SDO space probe, at the center a close-up of a prominence and on the right a picture of the Earth in the same scale (Image NASA/JAXA/NAOJ)

Two articles published in “The Astrophysical Journal” describe a study of what is known as the coronal heating problem. For decades, scientists have been trying to understand why the temperature on the surface of the Sun is about 6,000 Kelvin while the corona, the region between the surface and the area of ​​the outer atmosphere, can reach temperatures of several million degrees. Now a team of researchers led by Takenori Okamoto of the Solar-Terrestrial Environment Laboratory at Nagoya University and ISAS/JAXA and Patrick Antolin of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Tokyo, offers an explanation, tied to resonant absorption.

Picture of the lonly mountain on Ceres taken by the Dawn space probe (Photo NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft is carrying out a mapping of the dwarf planet Ceres and with its camera is capturing extraordinary images better than those available so far, with a resolution of 140 meters (450 feet) per pixel. Among the geological features photographed there’s a mountain about 6 kilometers (4 miles) high that had already intrigued scientists and public because it looks like a pyramid and its sides are covered with brilliant material.