Moons

Blogs about any natural satellite.

Saturn and Titan with the haze in the moon's atmosphere in the inset (Image NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Space Science Institute, Caltech)

An article published in the journal “Nature Astronomy” describes a possible way for the molecules known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to form at the very low temperatures existing on Titan, Saturn’s big moon. A team of researchers carried out experiments and simulations to understand how certain complex molecules could form in the haze layers in Titan’s atmosphere when in theory they required much higher temperatures. The result is the discovery that the presence of two gases can produce that type of molecules even at very low temperatures.

Artist's concept of the planet Kepler-1625b with its moon and its star in the background (Image NASA, ESA, and L. Hustak (STScI))

An article published in the journal “Science Advances” presents the evidence of the existence of a exomoon, a moon orbiting a planet of another solar system, named Kepler-1625b-I. David Kipping and Alex Teachey of Columbia University used observations of the Kepler and Hubble space telescopes to examine the traces left by the exoplanet Kepler-1625b in front of its star, similar to the Sun. The first indications of the discovery of the exomoon candidate were revealed in July 2017, follow-up observations carried out with the Hubble Space Telescope provided new confirmations.

Titan seen by Cassini (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/University Paris Diderot/IPGP)

An article published in the journal “Nature Geoscience” reports the evidence of the presence of dust storms in the equatorial regions of Titan, the largest of Saturn’s moons. A team of researchers analyzed data collected by the Cassini space probe to find those evidence that make Titan the third object in the solar system where dust storms were discovered after the Earth and Mars. This is a further similarity between Titan and the Earth.

Yusaku Maezawa on Elon Musk's shoulders (Image courtesy Elon Musk. All rights reserved)

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has revealed that the Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa will be the first passenger of the spaceship that’s planned to make a trip around the Moon. This is an extension of the project announced last year given that, according to the new information, 6-8 people will participate but it’s scheduled to take place only in 2023. Another participant could be Elon Musk himself.

Distribution of water ice on the Moon's polar areas

An article published in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” describes three specific traces of the presence of water ice on the surface of the Moon. A team led by Shuai Li of the University of Hawaii and Brown University used data collected by the Chandrayaan-1 space probe’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper spectrometer to find traces of that ice concentrated in lunar craters at the south pole and spread in an wider area at the north pole.