Moons

Close-up of the rust on the surface of Rusty Rock (Photo NASA)

An article published in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” describes a research on the presence of water on the Moon. A team led by the geochemist James M. D. Day of the University of California at San Diego examined amounts and compositions of zinc, chlorine and lead isotopes in a lunar rock concluding that water and other volatile compounds evaporated very early in the Moon’s history. This contradicts a research published only a few weeks ago in which it’s argued that ancient Moon volcanic deposits contain large amounts of water.

Titan and a vinyl cyanide molecule (Image B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF); NASA)

An article published in the journal “Science Advances” describes the detection of vinyl cyanide molecules on Titan, one of the planet Saturn’s moons. Using archive data of observation carried out with the ALMA radio telescope between February and March 2014, a team of researchers found evidence of the presence of those molecules in significant amounts. The importance of the discovery is due to the fact that it’s a substance considered to be among the best candidate for the formation of membranes and vesicles similar to those of Earth organisms’ cells.

Artist's concept of a gas giant planet with a habitable exomoon (Image courtesy Andy McLatchie)

An article sent to arXiv, the famous archive of preprint, describes the discovery of an exomoon candidate. A team of researchers led by David Kipping of Columbia University conducted a search for moons orbiting exoplanets observed by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope finding the candidate called Kepler-1625b I. Generally, research results are published on a scientific journal at the end of the work but rumors spread convincing the researchers to send an article at least to arXiv.

Ancient volcanic deposits on the Moon (Image courtesy Milliken lab / Brown University)

An article published in the journal “Nature Geoscience” describes a research that provides evidence of the existence of large amounts of water in ancient volcanic deposits on the Moon. Ralph E. Milliken and Shuai Li of Brown University used data collected by the Chandrayaan-1 space probe’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper Spectrometer to locate the water, perhaps formed after the collision between a planet and the primordial Earth that led to the Moon’s formation.

Maps of Pluto and Charon (Image NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/LPI)

On the occasion of the second anniversary of the New Horizons space probe’s Pluto flyby, NASA has published a map of the dwarf planet and its largest moon, Charon. The American Space Agency has also created two videos that partially reproduce that flight concentrating one on Pluto and one on Charon. They provide a truly unique perspective, giving the impression of being on board a spaceship flying by those celestial bodies.