Origin of strange ravines in dunes on Mars

Red Planet Volcanic Glass May Be Hotspot for Life

The newly discovered glass dune fields, spread across almost a third of the planet Mars, likely formed from interactions between magma and ice, or water, interactions that could create the perfect environments for microbial life. The northern lowlands spread across millions of square miles in the Red Planet’s northern hemisphere. But dark sediments in the region have puzzled planetary scientists. Briony Horgan and James Bell, both of Arizona State University, used the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter to re-examine light radiated from the Martian plains.

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Volcanic Secrets of Red Planet

As said researchers Giant coils of lava on Mars suggest a mysterious network of valleys on the planet was born from volcanoes. The origin of the Athabasca Valles region near the equator of Mars has been debated for more than a decade. Some researchers have proposed that lava once shaped the valleys, while others have thought ice was responsible. The way the ground there is patterned with multisided polygons suggests that either fire or ice could be the culprit, such patterns of cracks might have formed due to seasonal fluctuations in temperature if the surface there was rich in ice, but also might have arose as lava cooled and fractured.

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Huge Martian Dust Devils

A gigantic dust devil races across the surface of Mars. NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) captured the 12 mile-high (20 kilometer) twister as it whirled its way through the Amazonis Planitia region of northern Mars on March 14. According to researchers despite its towering height, the dust devil is just 210 feet (64 meters) wide. The plume’s shadow is also clearly visible in the new image, as are some topographic features on the Red Planet’s complex surface.

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Tiny Planet Mercury May Be Hiding Water Ice

New evidence from the first probe to orbit Mercury is building support for the idea that the tiny planet may be harboring water ice in some of its most extreme terrain. Certain areas of Mercury’s poles were previously found to be bright in radio waves detected by radar measurements from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Now, the Messenger spacecraft has found that those same bright radar spots appear to be in permanent shadow, according to camera views from the probe’s Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS).

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New Study May Contradict Reigning Moon Formation Theory

According to a new study that may contradict the reigning moon-formation theory far more of the moon may be made of material from Earth than previously thought. Scientists have suggested that the moon was created when a Mars-size object named Theia collided with Earth 4.5 billion years ago, with more than 40 percent of the moon made up of debris from this impacting body. However, researchers had expected this alien world to be chemically different from Earth, and past studies have revealed that the moon and Earth appear quite similar when it comes to versions of elements called isotopes, more so than might be suggested by the current Theia model.

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Mystery of Strange Cloud Formations on Mars

An amateur astronomer Wayne Jaeschke has managed to capture recent images of Mars which appear to show cloud like formations on Mars. The image was taken on March 22, 2012. Wayne Jaeschke, from West Chester, Pennsylvania, first noticed the formations which can be seen rising up from the edge of the Martian disk after he took the pictures on March 20. Some observers have suggested the so-called clouds are at least 150 miles away from the surface while others have suggested it could be debris which was disturbed after the Red Planet was hit by a meteor.

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Mercury’s Strange Innards

According to new studies the small, sun-scorched planet Mercury has an interior unlike that of any other rocky planet in our solar system and a surprisingly dynamic history. Using observations from NASA’s Messenger spacecraft in orbit around Mercury, researchers have found that the planet’s huge iron core is even larger than they had thought, and it’s likely overlain with a solid shell of iron and sulfur, a layered structure not known to exist on Earth, Venus or Mars.

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Asteroid Vesta

Dawn Sees Bright Spots on Giant Asteroid Vesta

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has revealed unexpected details on the surface of the giant asteroid Vesta. The new photos of Vesta from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft highlight odd, shiny spots that are nearly twice as bright as other parts of the asteroid, suggesting it is original material left over from the space rock’s birth 4 billion years ago, NASA officials said on March 21. With a width of about 330 miles (530 km), asteroid Vesta is one of the largest and brightest objects in the main asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

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Norwegian Family Found Rare Meteorite

A family Thomassens in Oslo got a surprise when they visited their allotment garden cabin for the first time this season and found that a 585-gram (20 oz.) meteorite had ripped a hole through the roof. The space rock was discovered lying five or six metres away. Astrophysicist Knut Jorgen Roed Odegaard from the University of Oslo investigated the report and found it to be genuine meteorite. He told that we can tell immediately that it’s genuine from the burned crust, and we can also recognize it from how rough and unusual it is.

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