September 2022

A topographic map of Ultimi Scopuli's area on Mars

An article published in the journal “Nature Communications” offers new confirmation of the presence of very salty liquid water on Mars underground. A team of researchers led by Roberto Orosei of the Italian National Institute of Astrophysics and Elena Pettinelli of the Italian Roma Tre University examined detections conducted with ESA’s Mars Express space probe’s MARSIS instrument together with laboratory experiments and simulations to rule out that the data collected were generated by materials other than salty liquid water.

The Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft departing the International Space Station (Image NASA TV)

A little while ago, cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev, and Sergey Korsakov returned to Earth on the Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft, which landed in Kazakhstan. They spent just over 6 months on the International Space Station, where they arrived on March 18, 2022, as part of Expedition 66.

On Wednesday, September 28, Oleg Artemyev officially handed over the command of the International Space Station to Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, marking the start of Expedition 68.

The asteroid Dimorphos a few seconds before the impact (Image NASA TV)

Yesterday, NASA’s DART spacecraft crashed into Dimorphos, a small asteroid satellite of Didymos, a larger asteroid. These two asteroids are visible from Earth using instruments powerful enough, which will be used to monitor Dimorphos’ orbit and how much it was modified by the impact. Nearby is LICIACube, a CubeSat-class mini-probe equipped with two cameras that will provide much better observations than any telescope on Earth.

Neptune, its rings and some of its moons as seen by the James Webb Space Telescope (Image NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI. Image processing: Joseph DePasquale (STScI))

Images of Neptune captured by the James Webb Space Telescope show details of the planet and its rings with a clarity comparable only to those taken in 1989 by NASA’s Voyager 2 space probe during a planet flyby. The observations made it possible to capture details of many storms existing in Neptune’s atmosphere, including the Great Dark Spot. Webb also photographed Triton and six of the smaller moons.

The Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft approaching the International Space Station (Image NASA TV)

A few hours ago, the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and after a little more than three hours reached the International Space Station with three new crew members on board. It docked with the Station’s Rassvet module. As is becoming increasingly common for crewed trips as well, the ultra-fast track was used which halves the journey duration.