Blog about ESA activities.

The storm at Saturn's north pole (Photo NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

NASA started publishing the first photos taken by the Cassini space probe after its descent into the gap between the planet Saturn and its rings. These are the closest photos taken during a risky maneuver for Cassini, performed only because within a few months it will end its mission so it was decided that it’s worth taking risks to collect close-range data.

The triple crater in the Terra Sirenum region on Mars (Image ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

ESA has published some new pictures taken by its Mars Express space probe that show a curious crater in the Terra Sirenum region on Mars. It’s a crater with an elongated shape having a length of about 45 kilometers (about 28 miles) and a width of approximately 24 kilometers (about 15 miles). It’s probably the result of an asteroid impact that broke up into three parts when it was still above the surface causing the triple impact of fragments that were still very close. The sedimentary deposits on the bottom of the crater suggest that in ancient times water existed in that region of Mars.

Model of the Earth's magnetic field (Image ESA)

ESA has published the most detailed map ever created of the Earth’s magnetic field using data collected over three years of the mission of its three Swarm satellites. For this work, data collected by the German CHAMP (Challenging minisatellite Payload) mission in the last decade were also used together with new modeling techniques. The result was the extraction of the tiny magnetic signals from the Earth’s crust.

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.

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.