Planets

Blog about planets.

Perseverance Valley (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ.)

NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity is working in an ancient valley on the edge of Endeavour Endeavour’s rim called “Perseverance Valley” examining rocks and driving around the area to carry out a survey of the place. According to plans, once these tasks are completed Opportunity will go down to the lower part of the valley but the maneuver will have to be even more cautious than expected due to a problem encountered in one of the wheels’ steering system.

The Kepler mission's exoplanet candidates (Image NASA/Ames Research Center/Wendy Stenzel)

At a press conference, NASA presented the new catalog of exoplanet candidates produced thanks to the observations of its Kepler space telescope. Exoplanet candidates are a total of 4,034 of which 2,335 have been confirmed as actually existing. There are 219 new candidates, of which 10 might be similar to Earth and at the same time be in ​​their solar system’s habitable zone.

An area at the base of Mount Sharp (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

An article published in the journal “Earth and Planetary Science Letters” describes a study of the first samples taken in the lower layers of Mount Sharp on Mars by NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity. A team of scientists in the ARES Division at NASA’s Johnson Space Center compared the minerals found in the first samples analyzed, which show the different environmental conditions that existed over time.

An area of Margaritifer Terra and Erythraeum Chaos (Image ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

ESA has released new images of a crater with a diameter of about 70 kilometers in the region of the planet Mars called Margaritifer Terra. This is a composite of two images captured by the Mars Express Space space probe’s High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) instrument almost exactly 10 years away in March 2007 and February 2017. The crater and the surrounding area show yet again evidence of the presence of liquid water in Mars’ distant past.

Artist's concept of the star KELT-9 and the planet KELT-9b (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech)

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes the study of the planet KELT-9b. This is an extreme case of hot Jupiter, a gas giant planet like Jupiter so close to its star to be considerably heated up. KELT-9b has an estimated surface temperature in the area exposed to its star that can exceed 4,600 Kelvin, so much that its atmosphere is likely to be dissipating in space and may have a tail similar to that of comets.