A few hours ago, the Sentinel-2B satellite of the Copernicus / GMES program, blasted off from the Kourou base, French Guiana, on a Vega rocket. Shortly after, the spacecraft regularly separated from the rocket’s last stage and started sending signals. A few hours later it started deploying its solar panels.
ESA has published an image of Mars’ northern polar cap. It’s the composition of 32 images captured by the the Mars Express space probe’s High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) instrument during as many passages above Mars’ north pole between 2004 and 2010. That mosaic shows the polar cap’s spiral-shaped troughs.
ESA has published a new picture of the network of interstellar filaments seen by the Herschel Space Observatory in the space around Polaris, the North Star, which is actually a multiple system. For this reason also known as Polaris Flare, it’s an interstellar cloud in which filaments formed in which there are gas and dust visible especially at infrareds.
ESA has published a photograph of a sort of labyrinth that is part of a region called Adamas Labyrinthus on Mars taken by the Mars Express space probe. This region is in turn part of Utopia Planitia, a huge impact basin with an estimated diameter of about 3,300 kilometers. The fractures in Adamas Labyrinthus create a system of polygonal shapes that might have originated from fine-grained sediments that were once at the bottom of an ocean.
Two articles published in the journal “Science” describe the discovery of dry ice, meaning frozen carbon dioxide, on the surface of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. A team of researchers led by Gianrico Filacchione of the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics and another led by Sonia Fornasier the French LESIA-Observatoire de Paris and Université Paris Diderot used the observations conducted with the VIRTIS spectrometer aboard ESA’s Rosetta space probe to find for the first time dry ice on a comet’s nucleus.