Exploration of the solar system made great strides with the arrival of the BepiColombo spacecraft on Mercury and the confirmation of the existence of water vapor in Europe, the icy moon of Jupiter. Not only that, but the best photos of a group of 42 large asteroids in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter were recorded.
On the other hand, some mysteries remain, such as the origin of a high-energy neutrino detected in 2019, which did not come from where scientists thought. Check out these and other stories in this week’s hottest space news summary.
You are seeing the Mars Noachis Terra region, where the exposed minerals were recently photographed by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) HiRISE camera. This exposure is due to the ravines formed by erosion next to a huge crater, called Kaiser.
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This erosion occurs in the steepest parts of the box dunes each year, when the sun’s rays evaporate the carbon dioxide ice. Seasonal changes in the Noachis region have always been transforming the landscape and providing incredible images since the arrival of the MRO in the orbit of Mars.
This is the largest collection of sharp images of asteroid belt objects, taken with ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). There are 42 images of the largest bodies in the region, which lie between Jupiter and Mars, with the presence of some “celebrities” of the solar system, such as Ceres, Vesta and Psyche.
What most caught the attention of researchers in these images is the variety of asteroids, which are divided into two groups: spherical and elongated. Finding this variety in the same region is unusual, so astronomers suspect that the less dense ones formed in the outermost orbits of the solar system and then migrated closer to the Sun.
The BepiColombo spacecraft reached Mercury and has already recorded some important regions of the planet, including much of the southern hemisphere, while the Sun was rising in the Astrolabe Rupes region. This structure is 250 km long and indicates where the contractions caused by the cooling of Mercury took place.
Haydn crater, measuring 251 km in diameter, was also photographed, where the lava has probably already been flooded. Another recorded region was the Pampu Facula, formed by volcanic eruptions, which give clues that the planet already had a fairly intense volcanic activity for more than 3 billion years.
The planet WASP-76b gained some fame when it was discovered in 2016 because it is so hot that it rains iron at night. Now, a new study shows it’s even “hotter” than imagined.
This was discovered when scientists detected ionized calcium in its atmosphere, suggesting a daytime temperature above 2,246 ° C. Another possibility is that very strong winds occur in the upper atmosphere of this exoplanet.
William Shatner, the eternal Captain Kirk, of the classic series of Star Trek, was boldly where no other man his age has ever been. True, at age 90, he became the oldest person to go into space. The flight took place on Wednesday (13), on the Blue Origin NS-18 mission, which also took three other passengers.
The vehicle reached suborbital space at 106 km altitude and provided the unique experience of having fun with microgravity while observing planet Earth from afar. It all lasted about 11 minutes and at the end of the adventure, New Shepard landed on the surface with the help of parachutes. The crew left the capsule and were greeted by friends and family, as well as by Blue Origin team and founder Jeff Bezos.
The high-energy neutrino detected in 2019 did not come from the black hole that researchers had pointed out as the origin of the “ghost particle.” The IceCube neutrino detector team had determined it was created when a black hole in spaghetti devoured and devoured a star in a distant galaxy, but a new study has shown that it is not.
According to the authors of the research, the star spaghetti event in the galaxy 2MASX J20570298 + 1412165 did not produce enough energy to release this neutrino. This brings the IceCube team to the starting point, in search of the origin of this mysterious particle. Neutrinos can be produced by the Sun and even in the Earth’s core, but high-energy ones, known as cosmic neutrinos, are still a mystery to science.
Six galaxies detected by a team of scientists through gravitational lenses (a phenomenon predicted by Einstein’s General Relativity that creates a magnifying glass through the gravity of a nearby galaxy that distorts the light of the distant galaxy) can no longer produce stars. Astronomers now wonder why.
These galaxies are very old and “faint”, meaning they have little brightness because their stars are old and there is no new star formation. The problem, in fact, is that cold gas, the raw material for the “manufacture” of stars, disappeared from these galaxies and it remains to be seen how. Unraveling this mystery will help astronomers understand the evolution and “death” processes of galaxies in the universe.
The New Horizons spacecraft, the same one that visited and recorded images of Pluto in 2015, has now discovered that two asteroids that astronomers already knew are actually binary systems. This means that each of them is a system in which two asteroids orbit each other. They are in the Kuiper belt, after the orbit of Pluto.
Binary systems like these can explain how strange asteroids like Arrokoth take the form of a “snowman”. Because when two bodies orbit each other at a critical distance, the destiny is that both are in a collision that results in a fusion, creating a new object. The probe will further investigate the Kuiper belt, including objects that have changed little or not throughout the history of the solar system.
Persistent water vapor was detected in the atmosphere of Europe, one of Jupiter’s moons. Previously, the data suggested these vapors, but scientists only found ice eruptions. Now, for the first time, a strangely irregular distribution of steam in this icy world is confirmed.
The prolonged presence of water vapor seems to occur only in the later hemisphere of Europe and there is no explanation for this. In any case, the discovery will be useful for missions that will explore Jupiter’s lunar system, such as NASA’s Europa Clipper.
Boeing’s Starliner capsule is not yet ready to fly due to valve problems in the ship’s propulsion system. The next test, which should show that the vehicle is capable of docking with the ISS, should only be done in 2022. NASA representatives had already mentioned that this could happen and now it has been done. official postponement.
This capsule, along with SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, was designed for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which partnered with agencies to have the U.S. resend its astronauts in their own vehicles. After the disappearance of space shuttles, NASA had to pay Russia for the seats of Soyuz vehicles. Crew Dragon sent the first NASA crew to the ISS in 2020.
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