Planets

Blog about planets.

Arsia Mons (Image NASA/JPL/USGS)

An article published in the journal “Earth and Planetary Science Letters” describes a research about Arsia Mons, a volcano on the planet Mars. A team led by Jacob Richardson of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center examined high-resolution images taken by the MRO (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) space probe to determine that Arsia Mons was at its peak of activity about 150 million years ago and that its last activity probably ended about 50 million years ago.

The great bright spot at the center of Occator crater (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/PSI/LPI)

An article published in the journal “Astronomical Journal” describes a study that provides a dating to the large bright spot in Occator crater on the dwarf planet Ceres. A team of researchers led by Andreas Nathues of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Göttingen, Germany, used data collected by NASA’s Dawn space probe to analyze the interior of Occator concluding that the bright spot is 4 million years old, 30 million less of the crater.

Kasei Valles (Photo ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

ESA has published new photos of the Kasei Valles channel system on Mars captured by the Mars Express space probe’s High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) instrument. The collected data indicate that Kasei Valles were generated by a series of mega-floods and not by a continuous water flow on the surface. Today this system of channels is one of the largest on Mars and extends for 3,000 kilometers (almost 1,900 miles) from Echus Chasma, near Valles Marineris, up to Chryse Planitia.

Protoplanetary disk with a dust trap seen as a bright ring (Image courtesy Jean-Francois Gonzalez)

An article published in the journal “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society” describes a research that provides an explanation for one of the last remaining mysteries about planet formation. An international team of researchers conducted a series of simulations that show that in the protoplanetary disk around a young star dust traps form that accelerate the aggregation of pebble-sized fragments from which planets are born.

A solidified lava flow over the side of a crater rim of Elysium (Photo NASA HiRISE image, David Susko, LSU)

An article published in the journal “Scientific Reports” describes a research on Elysium Planitia, a volcanic region near Mars’ equator. A team of researchers from Louisiana State University led by David Susko used data collected by the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS), Mars Odyssey Orbiter and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter space probes to study the Martian mantle finding some similarities with the Earth’s one and traces of recent volcanic activity.