The Moon’s surface is being “gardened” — churned by small impacts — more than 100 times faster than scientists previously thought. This means that lunar surface features believed to be young are perhaps even younger than assumed. It also means that any structures placed on the Moon as part of human expeditions will need better protection.
The National Science Foundation has approved funding to expand the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionisation Array (HERA) in South Africa. Upgrading the number of antennas from 19 to 240 by the year 2018 will enable HERA to study more clearly the impact of cosmic dawn, the moment a few hundred million years after the Big Bang when the first stars and galaxies blazed awake.
NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) recently captured a unique view of Earth centred just off the coast of Liberia from the spacecraft’s vantage point in orbit around the Moon, about 83 miles above the crater Compton, which is located just beyond the eastern limb of the Moon, on the lunar farside.
A planet discovered last year sitting at an unusually large distance from its star — 16 times farther than Pluto is from the Sun — may have been kicked out of its birthplace close to the star in a process similar to what may have happened early in our own solar system’s history. The planet’s 13-million-year-old parent star is known as HD 106906 and lies 300 light-years away.
Orbiting a mere 3,700 miles above the surface of Mars, Phobos is closer to its planet than any other moon in the solar system. Mars’ gravity is drawing in the 17 × 14 × 11 mile body by about 6.6 feet (2 metres) every hundred years. The long, shallow grooves lining the surface of Phobos are likely early signs of its structural failure as scientists expect it to be pulled apart.