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.
You might think that, in the rings of Saturn, more opaque areas contain a greater concentration of material than places where the rings seem more transparent. But this intuition does not always apply, according to a recent study of the rings using data from NASA’s Cassini mission. The research also suggests that the planet’s brightest B ring could be a few hundred million years old instead of a few billion.
While Mars doesn’t have much in the way of Earth-like weather, it does evidently share one kind of weird meteorology: acid fog. Planetary scientist Shoshanna Cole has pieced together a compelling story about how acidic vapours may have eaten at the rocks in Gusev Crater on Mars using a variety of data gathered by instruments on the 2003 Mars Exploration Rover Spirit.
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has begun returning its best-ever views of the northern extremes of Saturn’s icy, ocean-bearing moon Enceladus. Scientists expected the north polar region of Enceladus to be heavily cratered, based on low-resolution images from the Voyager mission, but the new high-resolution Cassini images show a landscape of stark contrasts.
A global ocean lies beneath the icy crust of Saturn’s geologically active moon Enceladus, according to new research using data from NASA’s Cassini mission. Researchers found the magnitude of the moon’s very slight wobble, as it orbits Saturn, can only be accounted for if its outer ice shell is not frozen solid to its interior, meaning a global ocean must be present.
Like graffiti sprayed by an unknown artist, unexplained narrow, arc-shaped, reddish streaks are visible on the surface of Saturn’s icy moon Tethys in new, enhanced-colour images from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. The red arcs are among the most unusual colour features on Saturn’s moons to be revealed by Cassini’s cameras.
An international scientific team using NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) has discovered a cloud produced by a supernova explosion 10,000 years ago that contains enough dust to make 7,000 Earths, showing that supernovae are capable of producing a substantial amount of the material from which planets can form.