Mars keeps on Surprising: It has Glaciers!

As the inevitable launch of humans to Mars slowly approaches over the coming decades, we are using our best technology to study our neighbour in detail.  With multiple orbiting satellites and ground surveyors, we are slowly learning more about the geology, climate, environment, and history of Mars.  It feels as if every new discovery is a surprise, and we never expected Mars to be such a dynamic and complex world.  With science and technology improving every year, humanity is focussing efforts on the red planet.  The latest incredible discovery comes from radar data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The...

Biggest Asteroid Impact Crater Ever Discovered in Australia

We have found evidence of ancient impacts all across the Earth, from the famous Chixulub crater in Mexico to the Sudbury Basin a little bit closer to my home.  From Space the remains look nothing like craters, millions of years of sediment and growth hide the massive regions from obvious detection, but signs remain of these massive events, even after millions of years.  This week, what is possibly the largest impact crater basin ever discovered has been found in central Australia.  And it is thought to originate from the breakup of a massive 400 Km asteroid into two pieces that...

Here’s what the Surface of the (2nd) Largest Asteroid Looks like

Vesta is the 2nd-largest Asteroid in the well known asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.  525 Km in diameter, it is very big for an asteroid.  If it was much bigger we would call it a dwarf planet. The Dawn Spacecraft, launched in 2007, stopped by Vesta in 2011 and stuck with it until 2012 as it orbited the sun.  We are still seeing the results of that rendezvous, and just recently NASA released a complete map of the surface features of Vesta. It’s amazing to see so many interesting surface features on such a small world.  Geologic...

The Rosetta Comet Landing is Right Now!

For the first time in human history we are landing on a Comet! Watch the live feed and you can follow the landing as it’s happening.  It is expected to touch down at about 11:03 EST.  The lander, named Philae, already detached from the Rosetta Spacecraft at about 4am EST, and is slowly moving toward the landing site.  Once it gets close enough it will launch harpoons (yup you read it right) to grab onto the comet and pull itself down to the surface, snapping photos along the way. The Science communication world has been following this story since the Orbiter arrived...

Galaxy’s Ring of Star formation shines face on

I’ve seen a lot of lovely images from  the Spitzer Space Telescope.  It takes infrared images and can see the fine structure of galaxies, where stars are forming and where they are not forming.  The photos paint a picture of the history and evolution of a galaxy.  The latest image released last week shows some amazing features. The Cyan light in the image is a combination of blue and green coloured light representing infrared wavelengths of light at 3.4 and 4.5 microns.  This wavelength shows the stellar population in the galaxy.  The red light is representing dust features that glow...