Astro Watch 20 Feb 2018, 21:15 UTC The planet Mars has fascinated scientists for over a century. Today, it is a frigid desert world with a carbon dioxide atmosphere 100 times thinner than Earth’s. But evidence suggests that in the early history of our solar system, Mars had an ocean’s worth of water. NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will study Mars to learn more about the planet’s transition from wet to dry, and what that means about its past and present habitability.
Cosmic Diary 20 Feb 2018, 17:36 UTC Many dunes on Mars are actively migrating, like these dunes (view is 0.4×0.5 km, 0.25×0.31 mi). These are found deep in Ius Chasma, one of the Valles Marineris. These dunes slowly migrate toward the right, pushed by winds blowing from the lower and upper left.
Centauri Dreams 20 Feb 2018, 15:46 UTC A Hubble project called Outer Planet Atmospheres Legacy (OPAL) has been producing long-term information about the four outer planets at ultraviolet wavelengths, a unique capability that has paid off in deepening our knowledge of Neptune. If you kept pace with Voyager 2 at Neptune, you’ll recall that the spacecraft found huge dark storms in the planet’s atmosphere. Neptune proved to be more atmospherically active than its distance from the Sun would have suggested, and Hubble found another two storms in the mid-1990’s that later vanished.
The Daily Galaxy
Today's Top Space Headline: Black Holes At the Very Edge of Time --"So Huge, They are a Mini, Galaxy-Sized Big Bang"20 Feb 2018, 15:36 UTC "We do know that black holes are extraordinary phenomena," says Hlavacek-Larrondo, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Observational Astrophysics of Black Holes. "So it's no surprise that the most extreme specimens defy the rules that we have established up until now."
SPACE.com 20 Feb 2018, 12:04 UTC Last summer, scientists announced that they had found what could be the first moon to be spotted outside of the solar system. But new research on the supposed moon's evolution calls its existence into question.
Parabolic Arc 20 Feb 2018, 09:19 UTC Textured rows on the ground in this portion of “Perseverance Valley” are under investigation by NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, which used its Navigation Camera to take the component images of this downhill-looking scene. The rover reaches its 5,000th Martian day, or sol, on Feb. 16, 2018. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity keeps providing surprises about the Red Planet, most recently with observations of possible “rock stripes.” The ground texture seen in recent images from the rover resembles a smudged version of very distinctive stone stripes on some mountain slopes on Earth that result from repeated cycles of freezing and thawing of wet soil. But it might also be due to wind, downhill transport, other processes or a combination.Opportunity landed on Mars in January 2004. As it reaches the 5,000th Martian day, or sol, of what was planned as a 90-sol mission (see related story), it is investigating a channel called “Perseverance Valley,” which descends the inboard slope of the western rim of Endeavour Crater.“Perseverance Valley is a special place, like having a new mission again after all these years,” said Opportunity Deputy Principal Investigator Ray Arvidson of Washington University in St. Louis. “We ...
AmericaSpace 20 Feb 2018, 00:59 UTC NASA’s Opportunity rover has just crossed another amazing threshold – passing the 5,000-sol mark on Mars. That is a phenomenal achievement, considering that the plucky little machine was designed for a hopeful lifetime of at least 90 sols (a sol is a Martian day, just slightly longer than an Earth day). To put it another way, Opportunity landed way back in January 2004, and the mission would be considered a great success if it lasted for several months in the harsh Martian climate. But now here it is 2018, and it is still going!
Lights in the Dark 19 Feb 2018, 21:16 UTC That’s here; that’s home; that’s us—the two bright objects in this picture are Earth and the Moon, imaged by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft on January 17, 2018 from a distance of 39.5 million miles (63.5 million km).
SpaceFlight Insider 19 Feb 2018, 18:13 UTC The X3, a new ion thruster that could one day propel humans beyond Earth, was successfully tested a few months ago and is one design that could be selected by NASA as a component of propulsion system for future Mars missions.