NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory News and Features 7 Oct 2019, 15:04 UTC If you could travel back in time 3.5 billion years, what would Mars look like? The picture is evolving among scientists working with NASA's Curiosity rover. Imagine ponds dotting the floor of Gale Crater, the 100-mile-wide (150-kilometer-wide) ancient basin that Curiosity is exploring. Streams might have laced the crater's walls, running toward its base. Watch history in fast forward, and you'd see these waterways overflow then dry up, a cycle that probably repeated itself numerous times over millions of years. That is the landscape described by Curiosity scientists in a Nature Geoscience paper published today. The authors interpret rocks enriched in mineral salts discovered by the rover as evidence of shallow briny ponds that went through episodes of overflow and drying. The deposits serve as a watermark created by climate fluctuations as the Martian environment transitioned from a wetter one to the freezing desert it is today.
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics 7 Oct 2019, 15:02 UTC Scientists at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian have announced the discovery that, contrary to previously accepted knowledge, Type Ia supernovae experience light curve decline plateaus, and lengthy ones at that, lasting up to a year.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 4 Oct 2019, 11:38 UTC The galaxy pictured in this Hubble image has an especially evocative name: the Medusa merger.
ESO Top News 4 Oct 2019, 08:00 UTC Astronomers using ALMA have obtained an extremely high-resolution image showing two disks in which young stars are growing, fed by a complex pretzel-shaped network of filaments of gas and dust. Observing this remarkable phenomenon sheds new light on the earliest phases of the lives of stars and helps astronomers determine the conditions in which binary stars are born.
NAOJ Top News 3 Oct 2019, 18:00 UTC An international group of scientists led by the RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research has used observations from the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) at the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile and Suprime-Cam at the Subaru Telescope to make detailed observations of the filaments of gas connecting galaxies in a large proto-cluster in the early Universe. Based on direct observations they found that, in accordance with predictions, the filaments are extensive, extending over more than 3 million light years and are providing the fuel for intense formation of stars and the growth of super massive black holes within the proto-cluster.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory News and Features 3 Oct 2019, 16:06 UTC NASA's InSight lander, which is on a mission to explore the deep interior of Mars, positioned its robotic arm this past weekend to assist the spacecraft's self-hammering heat probe. Known as "the mole," the probe has been unable to dig more than about 14 inches (35 centimeters) since it began burying itself into the ground on Feb. 28, 2019.
MIT 3 Oct 2019, 14:53 UTC Dark matter was likely the starting ingredient for brewing up the very first galaxies in the universe. Shortly after the Big Bang, particles of dark matter would have clumped together in gravitational “halos,” pulling surrounding gas into their cores, which over time cooled and condensed into the first galaxies.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory News and Features 2 Oct 2019, 16:10 UTC New kinds of organic compounds, the ingredients of amino acids, have been detected in the plumes bursting from Saturn's moon Enceladus. The findings are the result of the ongoing deep dive into data from NASA's Cassini mission.
Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy 2 Oct 2019, 11:00 UTC The neutrino event IceCube 170922A, detected at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole, appears to originate from the distant active galaxy TXS 0506+056, at a light travel distance of 3.8 billion light years. TXS 0506+056 is one of many active galaxies and it remained a mystery, why and how only this particular galaxy generated neutrinos so far.