apr 072012
Russia’s moon re-conquest plan revealed

Russian scientists want to send two lunar rovers and several landing stations after 2020 as part of the country’s return to the moon. The planned study of polar regions is aimed at eventually creating a permanent manned base there. AFP Photo / NASA / Lauren Harnett / Handout ­The attention was drawn to the moon’s [continue reading]

apr 062012
The pit-chains of Mars – a possible place for life?

The latest images released from ESA’s Mars Express reveal a series of ‘pit-chains’ on the flanks of one of the largest volcanoes in the Solar System. Depending on their origin, they might be tempting targets in the search for microbial life on the Red Planet.  Pit-chains in Tharsis Tractus Catena is shown here in a [continue reading]

apr 062012
A magnetic surprise for Venus Express

Venus is a rarity among planets – a world that does not internally generate a magnetic field. Despite the absence of a large protective magnetosphere, the near-Venus environment does exhibit a number of similarities with planets such as Earth. The latest, surprising, example is the evidence for magnetic reconnection in Venus’ induced magnetotail. Solar wind [continue reading]

apr 052012
12-Mile-High Martian Dust Devil Caught In Act

A Martian dust devil roughly 12 miles high (20 kilometers) was captured whirling its way along the Amazonis Planitia region of Northern Mars on March 14. It was imaged by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Despite its height, the plume is little more than three-quarters of a [continue reading]

apr 012012
Organics Probably Formed Easily in Early Solar System

Complex organic compounds, including many important to life on Earth, were readily produced under conditions that likely prevailed in the primordial solar system. Scientists at the University of Chicago and NASA Ames Research Center came to this conclusion after linking computer simulations to laboratory experiments. NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope observed a fledgling solar system like [continue reading]

apr 012012
Dusty, Acidic Glaciers Could Explain Layered Deposits on Mars

Researchers from the Planetary Science Institute (PSI) and NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) have proposed a new hypothesis to explain a class of enigmatic geologic features on Mars that have puzzled scientists for decades. The new results, published recently in the journal Geology, suggest that large sedimentary deposits in the Valles Marineris termed Interior Layered [continue reading]