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.

Global Geologic Map of Jupiter Moon Io

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.

Cassini Images Show Saturn Stressing out Enceladus

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.

Cosmic Rays Constantly Pummel Our Moon

According to scientists cosmic rays from beyond our solar system constantly pummel Earth’s moon, fundamentally changing the chemistry and color of the lunar ice and dirt. New measurements of the strength of this space radiation from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter show that these cosmic rays can cause significant chemical alteration on the surface of the moon. The measurements also help scientists test theoretical models of the moon’s radiation environment.

Jupiter’s New Video Reveals Invisible Jet Stream Waves

New video of Jupiter are the first to catch an invisible wave shaking up Jupiter’s jet streams, an interaction that also takes place in Earth’s atmosphere and influences the weather. The video, made from images taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft when it flew by Jupiter in 2000, are part of an in-depth study conducted by a team of scientists and amateur astronomers led by Amy Simon-Miller at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md..

NASA Visualization Explorer New Opportunities for iPad

The NASA Visualization Explorer is now delivering new opportunities to explore NASA’s research of the sun, planetary bodies, Earth and the universe to your iPad. Since July 2011, the Visualization Explorer iPad app, NASA Viz for short, has delivered two stories each week with a strong focus on Earth science. That two story per week schedule will continue, but now with stories that cover the breadth of the agency’s science mission and continue to highlight NASA’s artful data visualization. NASA’s Science Mission Directorate is organized into four disciplines: Heliophysics, Planetary, Astrophysics and Earth science.

Mystery of Saturn’s Two-Faced Moon

Iapetus’ bizarre two-toned appearance, with one dark side and one bright side, has puzzled astronomers since the moon was first discovered by Giovanni Domenico Cassini in 1671. To better understand how this oddball Saturn moon formed and evolved, researchers are now studying the temperature variation across Iapetus’ differing surfaces by measuring the moon’s microwave emissions. Previous studies using data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft suggest that migrating ice makes half of Iapetus reflective and bright, while the other side is cloaked in dust and darkness.

Venus and Jupiter Conjunction in March 2012

Venus and Jupiter have been moving toward one another in the night sky for months now, and star gazers get a special treat this week as they line up for a planetary conjunction. The celestial action peaks Thursday (March 15), when Venus and Jupiter line up in what’s known as a planetary conjunction. Venus-Jupiter conjunctions are fairly special events, occurring roughly every 13 months. And as say experts this one should be the best conjunction for several years to come for viewers in the Northern Hemisphere, because the two planets will be visible for so long in the evening sky.

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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