Early December 2015 marks the start of a new project to drill below Earth’s crust into the planet’s mantle – that rocky shell a couple of thousand kilometres thick. Geologists have been trying for almost 60 years to reach this depth, but no one has yet succeeded: the latest mission might just have the technology […]Read more "A mission to drill right through Earth’s mantle began"
While the moon’s surface is battered by millions of craters, it also has over 200 holes – steep-walled pits that in some cases might lead to caves that future astronauts could explore and use for shelter, according to new observations from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft. This video shows images from NASA’s LRO spacecraft […]Read more "Lunar pits could shelter astronauts, reveal details of how ‘man in the moon’ formed"
©ESA/HUBBLE & NASA This spherical container has been engineered to house the most scientifically valuable cargo imaginable: samples brought back from the Red Planet. Still probably many years in the future and most likely international in nature, a Mars sample-return mission is one of the most challenging space ventures possible for robotic exploration. A robust, […]Read more "Mars Sample Return Container"
Within its first three months on Mars, NASA’s Curiosity Rover saw a surprising diversity of soils and sediments along a half-kilometer route that tell a complex story about the gradual desiccation of the Red Planet. Perhaps most notable among findings from the ChemCam team is that all of the dust and fine soil contains small […]Read more "Water for Future Mars Astronauts?"
There is much more to Mars than meets the eye. By using the radar on Mars Express, we can see several kilometers below the surface to see what lies beneath. What lies beneath. The radar creates subsurface images of Mars by beaming low-frequency radio waves towards the planet, which are reflected from any surface they encounter. While […]Read more "Mars Underground"
Dramatic underground explosions, perhaps involving ice, are responsible for the pits inside these two large martian impact craters, imaged by ESA’s Mars Express on 4 January. The ‘twin’ craters are in the Thaumasia Planum region, a large plateau that lies immediately to the south of Valles Marineris, the largest canyon in the Solar System. Arima […]Read more "Explosive crater twins on Mars"
(Image: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington) It might look like poor old Mercury is feeling a bit blue, but fear not – these are false-colour images produced by NASA’s Messenger space probe. To the human eye, the closest planet to the sun is covered in a dull mottling of brown-grey splodges. […]Read more "Mercury may have harbored an ancient magma ocean"