Saturn’s Auroral Ovals

Mar 30, 2012 Astrophysicists are beginning to acknowledge the role that electricity plays in space. The Cassini-Huygens mission (now called Cassini-Equinox) was launched from Cape Canaveral on October 15, 1997. Its primary mission is the exploration of the Saturnian system, including Saturn’s atmosphere, its rings, its magnetosphere and a number …

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Star-Forming Nebulae

Mar 29, 2012 What drives star formation in various nebulae? Australian astronomer Colin Stanley Gum compiled an extensive catalog of nebulae before his death in 1960. A Study of Diffuse Southern H-alpha Nebulae comprises 85 images that reveal intense activity within a variety of objects and structures embedded in them: extreme ultraviolet and X-ray …

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Bright Spots on Vesta

March 28, 2012 Are the bright crater rims and striations on Vesta the mark of discharge “vents”? Are asteroids and comets close cousins in the Solar System’s family? Comets are usually called “dirty snowballs” in the scientific press, although missions like Giotto and Deep Impact observed them to be blackened, …

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Sub-Europa

Mar 27, 2012 Could an ocean of liquid water exist on Europa? According to a recent press release, “Sending a submarine to the bottom of the ocean on Jupiter’s icy moon Europa is the most exciting potential mission in planetary science…” Is it a forlorn hope? Europa is the fourth …

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Lunar Grail

Mar 26, 2012 A new mission to map the gravity field of the Moon. On September 10, 2011 NASA launched the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) satellites on a mission to the Moon. GRAIL-A and GRAIL-B are nearly identical spacecraft, except that B is designed to follow A around …

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Back from the Grave

 Mar 22, 2012 The telescope that was once thought to be canceled has escaped mothballs and is on track for launch. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), formerly The Next Generation Telescope, is scheduled to be launched sometime in 2018. According to a report in Aviation Week & Space Technology, …

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