Moons

Saturn rings sculpted by nearby moons

An article published in the journal “Science” reports new details on Saturn rings and the moons that orbit embedded in them, in particular Daphnis, in the space inside the Ring A called Keeler Division. A team of researchers used data collected by the Cassini space probe during the last months of its mission to better understand their composition and how the nearby moons sculpt them generating a greater complexity than expected. A second article written by Shigeru Ida comments on this new study.

The differences between the two faces of the Moon could be due to the impact of a dwarf planet

An article published in the “Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets” reports the results of computer simulations generated to explain the asymmetry of the two faces of the Moon. A team of researchers used data from NASA’s GRAIL mission as a reference to try to reproduce the Moon’s situation, concluding that the best explanation comes from the simulation of the impact of a dwarf planet with a diameter of about 780 kilometers on the current Earth-facing Moon’s side at about 22,500 km/h.

There may still be tectonic activity on the Moon

An article published in the journal “Nature Geoscience” offers clues to the fact that the Moon may still be tectonically active. A team of researchers analyzed images captured by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) space probe in 2010 discovering thousands of tectonic faults generated by the Moon’s progressive shrinking as it cooled down. Some researchers have been working on these geological analyzes since those photos were taken but initially they brought clues about a recent activity while the new clues indicate that an activity still exists.

A plan by NASA to bring astronauts back to the Moon in 2028 and to Mars in the following decade

At a press conference, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine announced the new version of the agency’s plans to bring astronauts back to the Moon and build the Lunar Gateway over the next decade as steps to bring astronauts to Mars during the 2030s. Jim Bridenstine referred to the NASA budget for 2020, which at $21 billion sees an increase granted also to push ahead with these new plans.

Evidence of methane rains on Saturn's great moon Titan's north pole

An article published in the journal “Geophysical Research Letters” reports evidence of rainfall on Titan, the largest of Saturn’s moons. A team of researchers led by Rajani Dhingra, a doctoral student in physics at the University of Idaho, examined images captured by the Cassini space probe, finding an anomaly at the north pole of Titan interpreted as a methane rain. This is an indication of the beginning of summer in this moon’s northern hemisphere.