Planets

A preserved river channel on Mars (Image NASA/JPL/Univ. Arizona/UChicago)

An article published in the journal “Science Advances” reports the results of a research on the ancient rivers that existed on the planet Mars that lead to think that they existed until less than a billion years ago. A team of researchers coordinated by the University of Chicago cataloged over 200 ancient rivers by analyzing model and photos showing the traces of their beds to obtain a conclusion that goes against what the scientists who studied the red planet generally think of, that is, rivers and rainfall disappeared over 3 billion years ago.

Artist's concept of the exoplanet HR 8799 e (Image ESO/L. Calçada)

An article published in the journal “Astronomy and Astrophysics” reports the first direct observation of an exoplanet using the technique of optical interferometry. The GRAVITY collaboration, so called because the researchers who belong to it manage the work of the instrument with the same name installed on ESO’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI), observed the exoplanet HR 8799 e, a super-Jupiter that has a atmosphere containing clouds rich in iron and silicates that swirl around in a storm that crosses the entire planet.

Artist's concept of Jupiter and its trojans (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech)

An article published in the journal “Astronomy & Astrophysics” reports the results of a research on the migration of the solar system’s gas planets and in particular on Jupiter’s movements. A team of researchers led by Simona Pirani, a graduate student in astronomy at the Swedish University of Lund, created a series of computer simulations to try to explain the asymmetry in Jupiter trojans, given that there are about are approximately 50 per cent more Trojans in front of Jupiter than behind it. The result is that such asymmetry may have occurred if Jupiter was formed at a distance from the Sun four times greater than its current one and then approached and attracted the asteroids asymmetrically.

The InSight lander seen by the TGO (Image ESA/Roscosmos/CaSSIS, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

ESA has published a series of photos taken by its TGO space probe’s CaSSIS camera, part of the ExoMars mission run together with the Russian space agency Roscosmos. CaSSIS found NASA’s InSight lander on the surface of Mars along with its heat shield, the back shell that protected it during the descent and its parachute. In the course of its mission, CaSSIS also captured extraordinary images of various areas of the red planet showing the great potential to help researchers in their studies.

Artist's concept of Kepler-62f, an exoplanet orbiting a K-class star (Image NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/Tim Pyle)

An article published in the “Astrophysical Journal Letters” offers considerations on the possible advantages in the search for biosignatures such as the presence of oxygen and methane on exoplanets orbiting a K-class star, a bit smaller than the Sun. Giada Arney of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center tried to find out what those biosignatures and therefore the signs of the presence of life forms on an exoplanet in that kind of system could look like creating a series of computer simulations to understand where to look for traces of oxygen and methane.