Moons

Ganymede (Image NASA)

An article published in the journal “Geophysical Research Letters” describes a new analysis of data collected by NASA’s Galileo space probe during its flybys of Ganymede, one of Jupiter’s great moons. Glyn Collinson of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and some colleagues reused the old flight software to process the data discovering new information on its magnetic field, in particular on its auroras and on the magnetic reconnection phenomena.

Rendering of the Earth after its collision with Theia (Image courtesy SwRI/Marchi)

An article published in the journal “Nature Geoscience” describes a research on the consequences for the Earth of the bombardment that followed the formation of the Moon. According to a team of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) led by Simone Marchi, the collisions that followed the one that led to the birth of the Moon kept on increasing the Earth’s mass for a longer time than previously thought.

Wright Mons on Pluto (Image NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI)

An article published in the journal “Icarus” describes a research that suggests new possibilities for the gravitational effects of trans-Neptunian celestial bodies to generate heat on other celestial bodies close enough such as in the case of Pluto and Charon. A team of researchers examined the influence of that type of heating on bodies that may have very low temperatures but that under certain conditions can host underground oceans whose duration could be lengthened.

Scheme of Enceladus interior (Image Surface: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute; interior: LPG-CNRS/U. Nantes/U. Angers. Graphic composition: ESA)

An article published in the journal “Nature Astronomy” describes a research that presents a possible explanation for the long-term existence of hydrothermal activities and an underground ocean of liquid water on Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moons. A team of researchers led by Gaël Choblet of the University of Nantes in France analyzed data collected by the Cassini space probe concluding that a porous core can be a key factor in generating heat for billions of years supporting an environment potentially favorable to life.

Some details of Saturn rings (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

During the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Science meeting some of the latest discoveries were presented about the planet Saturn and its rings obtained from data collected by the Cassini space probe before disintegrating in the planet’s atmosphere on September 15. Some of the results were published in “The Astrophysical Journal”.