Cassini’s first dive near Saturn

#Cassini #Saturn #space #spacecraft #dive #exploration

A stream of pictures showing Saturn’s swirling clouds, massive hurricane and odd six-sided vortex weather system were transmitted back to Earth by Cassini, which has been exploring Saturn for 13 years.

The Cassini spacecraft dove in the gap between Saturn and it’s innermost ring, a distance of not more than 2,400 km and littered with ice particles. Cassini, which travels at 124,000 km per hour during these dives, can be destroyed even by the smallest particle striking the spacecraft. Hence, Cassini’s dish-shaped communications antenna is re-positioned temporarily during such dives to act as a shield.

The spacecraft will be diving 21 more times after this, as planned by NASA, and will be crashed into Saturn’s atmosphere, thus seeing Saturn at the closest, on September 15.

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This is amazing, getting to know more about other planets. But it is disappointing that we have to crash Cassini, which cost millions of dollars,  because there is no more fuel left in the spacecraft.

Solar wind turned Mars into what it is today

#Mars #space #MAVEN #exploration #atmosphere #planet

Mars also had a dense atmosphere, similar to Earth’s, about 4 billion years ago. This atmosphere kept the planet warm and wet, but somehow the Mars atmosphere became vulnerable to the solar wind (probably because of the loss of the planet’s magnetic field), which resulted energized particles in the solar wind to strip off Mars’ atmosphere.

The atmosphere in Mars is still believed to be shrinking, considering that it has already lost 66 percent of the Argon in its atmosphere from the amount it had 4 billion years ago. Mar’s atmosphere was and is dominated by carbon dioxide.

The above information was collected by the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft, which is one of the eight satellites/rovers currently operating around/in Mars.

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Juno orbiter races by Jupiter

#NASA #Jupiter #JunoOrbiter #spacecraft #space #exploration #SolarSystem

NASA’s Juno spacecraft sailed over Jupiter’s cloud tops early Monday, the fourth time the solar-powered probe has approached the giant planet and collected science data since its arrival last July 4.

At the present trajectory, the Juno orbiter arcs out to a distance of several million miles from Jupiter and then comes back for a high-speed encounter. This happens once every 53 and a half days. During the flyby, Juno passes about 4,400 kilometers over Jupiter’s cloud tops at a speed of 57.8 kilometers per second.

According to NASA, all of Juno’s science instruments are working fine currently. Although engineers detected problems with check valves inside the propellant pressurization system in October, thus avoiding that particular propulsion system in any future use.

Juno’s primary mission is to study Jupiter’s intense magnetic field and investigate the gas giant’s deep interior structure, revealing insights about its atmosphere and probing for a rocky core. After February 2018, the ground controllers are planning to intentionally crash the spacecraft into Jupiter’s atmosphere, avoiding the possibility of contaminating one of Jupiter’s potentially habitable moons.

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Searching for Planet 9!?

#Planet9 #space #exploration #SolarSystem #ANU #stargazing #Earth

The Australian National University (ANU) has called on to amateur astronomers support to help find a new planet in the Solar System. This project, named Planet 9, is led by ANU astrophysicist Dr. Brad Tucker.

According to the reports, Planet 9 is predicted to be a super Earth, about 10 times the mass and up to four times the size of our planet. It’s going to be cold and far away, and about 800 times the distance between Earth and the sun. It’s pretty mysterious.

The task is not complicated. The main job for the astronomers will be to spot the difference and mark it. Then the ANU team will take care of the rest. People will also be on the lookout of other planets, asteroids and mystery objects while looking through the images, and if anyone is able to find a new planet or object, they will be allowed to give a name to that object. (Oh. I can think a lot of amazing names. 😛)

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UAE to build first city on Mars!

#UAE #2117 #100yearplan #Mars #Exploration #Space #World

Yeah, you heard that right! UAE has planned to build the first city in Mars by 2117. The 100-year plan will involve scientific research to nurture national cadres specialised in space sciences at universties in the UAE. It will also entrench a passion for space in young students.

This announcement was made at the sidelines of the World Government Summit.

The new project will be associated with research themes featuring the exploration of transportation means, energy and food on Mars.

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