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HiRISE Eyes Fresh Craters on Mars

Fresh impact craters on Mars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

Just to remind you that things are still indeed going “boom” in our Solar System, here is a cluster of fresh craters on Mars created by an impact that occurred sometime between 2008 and 2014.

The craters are a result of a meteorite that broke apart during entry, striking the surface as fragments within a localized area. The largest crater’s ejecta field spans about 100 meters across.

It’s kinda like Mars’ way of saying “how’s that space program coming along?”

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Yes, Obi-Wan, That’s a Moon

Composite image of Mimas made from raw Cassini images acquired on Jan. 30, 2017. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/J. Major)

Composite image of Mimas made from raw Cassini images acquired on Jan. 30, 2017. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/J. Major)

Saturn’s 250-mile-wide icy moon Mimas shines in direct sunlight and reflected light from Saturn in this image, a composite of raw images acquired by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on Jan. 30, 2017 and received on Earth today, Feb. 1. This is a bit of a “Frankenstein” job I made, assembled from five separate narrow-angle camera images taken in various wavelengths so the proportions are slightly off here and there, but the general placement of surface features are about right and the lighting is accurate to the scene. Mimas’ south pole is within the deeply shadowed area at the bottom; north is up.

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Solar Storms Set Off Tiny Explosions In Shadowed Lunar Soil

Powerful solar storms can charge up the soil in frigid, permanently shadowed regions near the lunar poles, and may possibly produce “sparks” that could vaporize and melt the soil—perhaps as much as meteoroid impacts, according to new NASA-funded research.

Read the rest of this article from NASA here: Solar Storms Could Spark Lunar Soil

It’s Been 50 Years Since We First Got Pictures From the Moon

One of the first images from the surface of the Moon returned by Luna 9 on Feb. 4, 1966.

One of the first images from the surface of the Moon returned by Luna 9 on Feb. 4, 1966. Credit: Roscomos

What a difference half a century makes! This week marks 50 years since the Soviet Luna 9 spacecraft made humanity’s first-ever soft landing on the surface of the Moon. Launched from Baikonur on Jan. 31, 1966, the Luna 9 lander touched down within Oceanus Procellarum at 18:44:52 UTC on Feb. 3. Over the following three days Luna 9 sent us our first views of the Moon’s surface from the surface and, perhaps even more importantly, confirmed to scientists that a landing by spacecraft was indeed possible (which, by the way, was achieved on this day in 1971 by Al Shepard and Ed Mitchell with Apollo 14.)

Read the rest of this article here.

Soar Over the Surface of Tethys with Cassini

Animation of Tethys' surface made from raw Cassini images acquired Nov. 11, 2015. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI. Animation by J. Major.)

Animation of Tethys’ surface made from raw Cassini images acquired Nov. 11, 2015. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI. Animation by J. Major.)

On Nov. 11, 2015, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft passed relatively closely by Saturn’s moon Tethys, one of the ringed planet’s larger icy satellites. The animation above was made from 29 raw images acquired with Cassini’s narrow-angle camera as it passed by; you can see part of the incredibly cratered and ancient surface of this 662 mile (1,065 km) wide moon. Talk about flyover country!

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