ESA

Mars basin that could host a lake (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

An article published in the “Journal of Geophysical Research – Planets” report geological evidence that on planet Mars in ancient times there was a system of interconnected underground lakes and five of them could contain minerals essential for life. A team of researchers used data collected by ESA’s Mars Express space probe to investigate what are now basins, deep craters in the red planet’s northern hemisphere, finding evidence that they once housed lakes.

Traces of an ancient river system on Mars

ESA has published some images of an ancient system of trenches and river valleys near a large crater with a diameter of over 450 kilometers north of the great Hellas Planitia basin on the planet Mars obtained thanks to the Mars Express space probe’s High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC). The signs of water flow are mixed with the craters caused by impacts occurred between 3.5 and 4 billion years ago in that area of ​​the Martian southern hemisphere showing the different processes that were taking place when the red planet was young and much more similar to the Earth.

GomX-4B (Image ESA–G. Porter, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

ESA has announced the success of the mission of its GomX-4B nanosatellite in testing new miniaturized technologies that allow really tiny satellites to navigate in space thanks to tiny liquid butane propellers and the positioning system called star tracker to use instruments such as HyperScout, a hyperspectral camera. So far, CubeSat nanosatellites were normally devoid of propulsion systems so this one opens a new era by proving that there are cases in which a shoebox-sized satellite can do the job that until now was the prerogative of satellites hundreds of times more massive with enormously lower costs.

Korolev crater (Image ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

ESA has published new images of Korolev crater on Mars obtained thanks to of its Mars Express space probe’s High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) instrument. Its peculiarity is that it’s filled with water ice and despite the presence of dust its color is white, which is a strong contrast with that of the surrounding land. Normally water can’t remain solid at the very low pressure generated by the Martian atmosphere but near the north pole Korolev crater acts like a cold trap.