NASA has announced the creation of the NExSS (Nexus for Exoplanet System Science), coalition, an initiative dedicated to the search for life on planets outside the solar system. It puts together different disciplines because this research goes beyond just astronomy: for example, it’s of interest to planetary and climate science researchers.
In late 2010, NASA’s space probe Cassini started observing a huge storm on Saturn lasting for several months. In recent days, an article was published on the journal “Nature Geoscience” that provides an explanation for this phenomenon that had been observed a number of times in the last 140 years but had remained mysterious. According to a team led by Cheng Li of CalTech, Pasadena, the presence of water is the key to its origin.
Research on the origin of the Moon agree more and more on the giant impact hypothesis. According to this theory, about 150 million years after the birth of the solar system, the early Earth was hit by a planet the size of Mars. This caused the expulsion of a huge amount of debris that formed the Moon. Doubts still exist concerning the composition of the Earth and the Moon but two research just published in the journal “Nature” add new information about the giant impact hypothesis.
NASA has confirmed that the Mars Rover Opportunity’s flash memory has been successfully reformatted so that it doesn’t use a corrupted memory bank. The agency also announced that yesterday Opportunity completed the marathon traveling for 42.195 kilometers (26.219 miles) on Mars. Sure, it took a bit since about two months it celebrated 11 Earth’s years on the red planet but it’s another record for this extraordinary rover.
At the 46th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference being held in The Woodlands, Texas, some surprising discoveries made on Mars thanks to NASA’s space probe MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) were presented. They’re a cloud of dust at high altitudes and an aurora that goes deep into the Martian atmosphere.