The Mopra telescope, with its 22 meters in diameter and the suite of specialized instruments, is the only one able to quickly map large areas of the sky. The name comes from a geological formation in the vicinity, in the area near Coonabarabran, New South Wales, Australia. Its closure was decided after severe budget cuts by the Australian federal government but a fundraiser on Kickstarter could save it.
The latest images of Pluto just published by NASA show new details of this dwarf planet. So far, the photographs were usually taken from the New Horizons space probe’s LORRI camera, instead these ones were taken by MVIC (Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera), one of the components of the Ralph small telescope that’s part of probe’s payload. These pictures show in an extraordinary way mountains, glaciers and the hazy layers of Pluto’s atmosphere.
An article just published in the journal “Icarus” describes a research that used data collected by the Cassini space probe to determine that Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moons, has a global underground ocean. That there was an ocean beneath the icy surface of Enceladus was a well-established fact from previous research but it remained to be seen whether the water was liquid all over beneath the surface or only in some warm enough areas.
Saturday, September 12, China launched a satellite announcing it only later. It’s not the first time that something like that happened because the Chinese provide information on their space missions when their government decides it and typically in limited amount. Officially, the launch involved a test communications satellite called TXJSSY-1 of a new type called Communications Engineering Test Satellite. However, various rumors spread out about the real nature of the launch, partly because of growing tensions in the South China Sea.
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.