Planets

One of the very high resolution pictures of Sputnik Planum on Pluto (Image NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI)

NASA released the first very high resolution photographs showing close-ups of ​​the dwarf planet Pluto’s surface. These are images captured by the New Horizons space probe during its extraordinary July 14, 2015 flyby. In recent months, NASA already received high-resolution photographs but these ones are part of a series of shots that was intended to capture the details of Pluto’s surface, in this case the area called Sputnik Planum.

Scheme of carbon exchange and loss processes on Mars (Image Lance Hayashida/Caltech)

An article published in the journal “Nature Communications” offers an explanation to the loss of carbon in the planet Mars’ atmosphere. A team of scientists from CalTech (California Institute of Technology) and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory studied the available data focusing on the problem of carbon because what remained is less than expected even taking into account the recent results on the red planet’s atmosphere loss.

Aurorae Chaos and Ganges Chasma (Image ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, licence CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

ESA has published images of Valles Marineris on Mars captured by its Mars Express space probe in July 2015. It’s a huge complex of geological fractures much wider and longer than the American Grand Canyon. In particular, scientists focused on the photographs taken by Mars Express’ High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) in an area called Aurorae Chaos, where there are still traces of ancient water flows.

Images of Pluto's surface (Image NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI)

NASA released images of the dwarf planet Pluto and its main moon Charon showing most of their surface. They’re formed by compositions of various photographs taken by two cameras of the New Horizons space probe: the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) and the Ralph/Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera. The photographs were taken between July 7 and 13, during the approach that led to the extraordinary July 14, 2015 flyby.

Garden City seen by the Mars Rover Curiosity (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

At the 47th annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences in National Harbor, Maryland, scientists of NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity mission presented the results of new analyzes of the Martian site called Garden City. It’s an area visited in March 2015 that turned out to be very interesting from the geological point of view because of its chemical diversity and for its mineral veins, which protrude from the rocks they formed on.

The biggest update made so far to the software that runs Curiosity’s Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument considerably enhanceed it. In fact, it allowed an improvement in the interpretation of the collected data making it more sensitive to a wider range of possible compositions of the Martian rocks.