Formation of Bulge on Far Side of Moon Explained

Who knew the moon looked like a whole bunch of melted skittles rolled into one!

A bulge of elevated topography on the far side of the moon — known as the lunar far side highlands — has defied explanation for decades. But a new study led by researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, shows that the highlands may be the result of tidal forces acting early in the moon’s history when its solid outer crust floated on an ocean of liquid rock.

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Saturn Rings Oscillate Like Mini Milky Way

Perhaps it is the wrong “Milky Way”… but hey, I was hungry

Scientists believe they finally understand why one of the most dynamic regions in Saturn’s rings has such an irregular and varying shape, thanks to images captured by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. And the answer, published online in The Astronomical Journal, is this: The rings are behaving like a miniature version of our own Milky Way galaxy.

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Mimicking the Moon’s Surface in the Basement

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Ion Beam Materials Lab.

A team of scientists used an ion beam in a basement room at Los Alamos National Laboratory to simulate solar winds on the surface of the Moon. The table-top simulation helped confirm that the Moon is inherently dry.

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Rocks on Mars May Provide Link to Evidence of Living Organisms Roughly 4 Billion Years Ago

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This image of the Centauri-Hellas Montes region was taken by the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars

A new article in press of the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters unveils groundbreaking research on the hydrothermal formation of Clay-Carbonate rocks in the Nili Fossae region of Mars. The findings may provide a link to evidence of living organisms on Mars, roughly 4 billion years ago in the Noachian period.

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WISE Captures a Cosmic Rosebud Blossoming With New Stars

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A new infrared image from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, shows a cosmic rosebud blossoming with new stars.

A new infrared image from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, shows a cosmic rosebud blossoming with new stars. The stars, called the Berkeley 59 cluster, are the blue dots to the right of the image center. They are ripening out of the dust cloud from which they formed, and at just a few million years old, are young on stellar time scales.

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ESA Spacecraft May Help Unravel Cosmic Mystery

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Cassini-Huygens swings by Earth and accelerates towards Saturn.

When Europe’s comet chaser Rosetta swings by Earth on Nov. 13 for a critical gravity assist, tracking data will be collected to precisely measure the satellite’s change in orbital energy. The results could help unravel a cosmic mystery that has stumped scientists for two decades.

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MESSENGER Spacecraft Reveals More Hidden Territory On Mercury

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the Mercury Surface

A NASA spacecraft gliding over the battered surface of Mercury for the second time this year has revealed more previously unseen real estate on the innermost planet. The probe also has produced several science firsts and is returning hundreds of new photos and measurements of the planet’s surface, atmosphere and magnetic field.

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Cassini Reveals New Ring Quirks, Shadows During Saturn Equinox

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Of the countless equinoxes Saturn has seen since the birth of the solar system, this one, captured here in a mosaic of light and dark, is the first witnessed up close by an emissary from Earth … none other than our faithful robotic explorer, Cassini.

NASA scientists are marveling over the extent of ruffles and dust clouds revealed in the rings of Saturn during the planet’s equinox last month. Scientists once thought the rings were almost completely flat, but new images reveal the heights of some newly discovered bumps in the rings are as high as the Rocky Mountains.

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Venus Express Adds Evidence For Atmospheric Water Loss On Earth’s Twin

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Global view of Venus in a combination of ultraviolet VMC and infrared VIRTIS images.

Observations by the European Space Agency’s Venus Express mission have provided strong new evidence that the solar wind has stripped away significant quantities of water from Earth’s twin planet. The data also shed new light on the transfer of trace gases in the Venusian atmosphere and wind patterns. Continue reading… “Venus Express Adds Evidence For Atmospheric Water Loss On Earth’s Twin”

Patterns In Mars Crater Floors Give Picture Of Drying Lakes

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Detailed image of large-scale crater floor polygons, caused by desiccation process, with smaller polygons caused by thermal contraction inside.

Networks of giant polygonal troughs etched across crater basins on Mars have been identified as desiccation cracks caused by evaporating lakes, providing further evidence of a warmer, wetter martian past. Continue reading… “Patterns In Mars Crater Floors Give Picture Of Drying Lakes”