NASA’s Cassini spacecraft spots new images of Saturn’s moons Enceladus, Janus and Dione on March 27 and 28, 2012. The new photos reveal the plume of water ice and vapor that springs from the south pole of Enceladus, which is Saturn’s sixth largest moon,as well as the pockmarked surface of Dione and the tiny oblong shape of Janus. Cassini made a close flyby of Enceladus on March 27, swooping within about 46 miles (74 kilometers) of the moon’s surface.
Two small asteroids zipped close by Earth on March 26 2012, passing between our planet and the orbit of the moon. As said Nasa scientists this two asteroids not pose any threat of impacting our world. The two space rocks flew by Earth in rapid fire. According to astronomers with NASA’s Asteroid Watch program, one asteroid zoomed by early in the day while the second buzzed the planet at 1:09 p.m. EDT (1709 GMT).
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).
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.
Venus and Jupiter have spent the last several weeks first approaching each other, then passing each other on March 13.Venus and Jupiter still adorn our evening sky at dusk, but they’re now going their own separate ways after their spectacular mid-March tryst. But one last event is still to occur and will be spread across two nights, o March 25 and on March 26. The moon is only about 248,000 miles (400,000 km) from our earthly vantage point, and appears to move much more rapidly against the starry backdrop night to night, as opposed to the more distant dynamic duo of Venus (67 million miles, or 108 million km) and Jupiter (535 million miles, or 861 million km).
One of NASA’s twin GRAIL (short for Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory) probes sent photos of the far side of the moon, as were selected by 4th grade students from the Emily Dickinson Elementary School in Bozeman, Mont.. The students at Emily Dickinson Elementary School were the first to request images of the moon as a reward for winning a nationwide competition to rename the two Grail spacecraft, NASA officials said in an announcement on March 22.
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.
Scientists have created a global geologic map of Jupiter’s moon Io, the most volcanically active object in the solar system.The map, which was published this week by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), shines a light on Io, the fourth-largest satellite in the solar system. Scientists hope the new tool will help them better understand the exotic moon. According to David Crown, of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Ariz.
For the first time, images from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft have enabled scientists to correlate the spraying of jets of water vapor from fissures on Saturn’s moon Enceladus with the way Saturn’s gravity stretches and stresses the fissures. As said Terry Hurford, a Cassini associate based at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. this new work gives scientists insight into the mechanics of these picturesque jets at Enceladus and shows that Saturn really stresses Enceladus.