In recent days, the Cassini spacecraft made one of the closesest flybys with Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moons, passing at a distance of about 1,840 kilometers (almost 1,140 miles) from its surface. The first pictures received at the mission control center show that Enceladus north pole has many fractures in the ice crust that covers this moon but there are also thin cracks running through it and many craters around it.
The journal “Science” just published the first article on the findings on the dwarf planet Pluto and its moons made thanks to NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft July 14, 2015 flyby. Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), the principal investigator of the New Horizons mission, is also the first of a long series of authors of this study that first of all stresses the extraordinary geological and morphological variety of Pluto’s system.
The Hubble Space Telescope was used to create new maps of the planet Jupiter. Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 captured a series of images of the planet within the Outer Planet Atmospheres Legacy program. The aim is to produce new maps every year and in the case of Jupiter 10 hours of daily shooting made it possible to discover new phenomena including changes in the Great Red Spot.
The Hubble Space Telescope took a picture of the planetary nebula PK 329-02.2, also known as ESO 178-15 or Hen 2-150 and commonly called Menzel 2 (Mz 2) because it was discovered by the astronomer Donald Menzel in 1922. Distant little more 7,700 light years from Earth, it’s visible in the constellation Norma and is another case in which a planetary nebula offers a breathtaking show, in this case with a blue cloud that aligns with the two stars at its center.
A new study carried out by the team that runs the Mars Rover Curiosity confirmed that between 3.8 and 3.3 billion years ago there were lakes in what is now Gale Crater. At its center today there’s Mount Sharp, which foundations were formed by sediments deposited layer upon layer over a very long period. The results of this study were just published in the journal “Science”.