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.
NASA has confirmed that the Mars Rover Curiosity has returned to work after the problem due to a transient short circuit that happened in late February that convinced mission control to halt its activity. In particular, the robotic arm that that was blocked was finally able to deposit the sample of pulverized rock within Curiosity to proceed to its analysis.
The Mars Rover Curiosity’s protection system blocked its activity on February 27, or sol – Martian day – 911 of its mission. NASA’s Curiosity team left it stationary to avoid the risk that the problem gets aggravated while it was diagnosed.
NASA confirmed that its space probe Dawn regularly entered the dwarf planet Ceres’ orbit. It was at an altitude of about 61,000 kilometers (about 38,000 miles) when it was captured by the Ceres’ gravity. This happened yesterday but Dawn was on the hidden side of the dwarf planet when it entered its orbit. The consequence is that it took a bit before the probe reached a position where it could transmit data to Earth.