Artist's impression of 2004 EW95 (Image ESO/M. Kornmesser)

An article published in the journal “The Astrophysical Journal Letters” describes the study of an asteroid cataloged as 2004 EW95 which confirmed it has anomalous characteristics, being the first in the Kuiper belt to show a considerable carbon content. A team of astronomers used ESO’s VLT to study an asteroid that probably formed in the belt between Jupiter and Mars before being pushed to the outer solar system.

Diagram of solar Rossby waves (Image courtesy MPS/NASA/HormesDesign)

An article published in the journal “Nature Astronomy” describes the evidence of the presence of gigantic waves called Rossby waves on the Sun’s surface. A team of scientists led by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) and the University of Göttingen discovered these vortices that have sizes comparable to those of the Sun itself, confirming a hypothesis that was proposed decades ago because they exist naturally in rotating fluids.

Artist's representation of WASP-96b (Image courtesy Engine House. All rights reserved)

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes a research on the exoplanet WASP-96b. It’s a hot Saturn, meaning a gas giant with a Saturn-like mass and an orbit close to its star which has as a consequece a high temperature on its surface. A team of researchers led by Nikolay Nikolov of the British University of Exeter used the FORS2 spectrograph mounted on ESO’s VLT to study WASP-96b discovering strong traces of sodium, an observation possible only in the absence of clouds in its atmosphere.

The Dragon cargo spacecraft departing the International Space Station (Photo courtesy Oleg Artemyev)

A few hours ago the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft ended its CRS-14 (Cargo Resupply Service 14) mission for NASA splashing down smoothly in the Pacific Ocean a little more than 420 kilometers (about 326 miles) off the coast of California. The Dragon left the International Space Station a few hours before.

Shortly after landing, SpaceX boats went to retrieve the Dragon to transport it to the coast. The cargo brought back to Earth will be delivered to NASA soon, probably tomorrow. The Dragon spacecraft reached the International Space Station on april 4, 2018.

The InSight lander and the MarCO nanosatellites blasting off atop an Atlas V 401 rocket (Image NASA TV)

A few hours ago NASA’s InSight lander was launched together with the two Mars Cube One nanosatellites from the Vandenberg base on an Atlas V 401 rocket. After about 1.5 hours they separated from the rocket’s last stage, called Centaur, and went en route to Mars.

The InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) mission aims to investigate the geology of the planet Mars. A lander equipped with a seismometer, a thermal sensor and other instruments that will analyze the red planet’s internal structure. This will allow to obtain new data on its formation, also contributing to the existing models on the formation of rocky planets such as the Earth.