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Nasa’s InSight mission: Mars ‘mole’ put on planet’s surface

Image copyright NASA/JPL-Caltech Image caption On the surface: HP3 is on the left; the domed SEIS is on the right The US space agency’s (Nasa) InSight mission has positioned the second of its surface instruments on Mars. Known as HP3, the heat-flow probe was picked up off the deck of the lander with a robot arm and placed next to the SEIS seismometer package, which was deployed in December. Together with an onboard radio experiment, these sensor systems will be used to investigate the interior of the planet, to understand…

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Nasa’s New Horizons: ‘Space snowman’ appears squashed

Image copyright NASA/JHU-APL/SWRI/NOAO Image caption Images taken of Ultima Thule as New Horizons passed behind the object It seems the “space snowman” is more like a “gingerbread man”. Scientists studying the distant object known as Ultima Thule are revising ideas about its shape after examining the latest images downlinked to Earth. The pictures, taken by the New Horizons probe on 1 January, show the apparently bulbous body to be quite flat. This interpretation is evident from data acquired by the Nasa spacecraft as it looked back at icy Ultima Thule…

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Nasa’s InSight mission: Mars sensor gets its protective ‘hat’

Image copyright NASA/JPL-Caltech Image caption The shield protects the system from the wind and swings in temperature The US space agency’s (Nasa) InSight mission has reached a new milestone in its quest to understand the interior of the Red Planet. The probe has spent the weeks since its landing in November positioning a seismometer instrument on the surface. Happy with the set-up, scientists have now instructed InSight to put a protective cover over the equipment. The dome will shield the instrument from wind disturbance and swings in temperature. It will…

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Nasa’s New Horizons: Best image yet of ‘space snowman’ Ultima Thule

Image copyright NASA/JHU-APL/SWRI The New Horizons probe has sent back its best picture yet of the small, icy object Ultima Thule, which it flew past on New Year’s Day. The image was acquired when the Nasa spacecraft was just 6,700km from its target, which scientists think is two bodies lightly fused together – giving the look of a snowman. Surface details are now much clearer. New Horizons‘ data is coming back very slowly, over the next 20 months. This is partly to do with the great distance involved (the separation…

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Nasa’s New Horizons: ‘Snowman’ shape of distant Ultima Thule revealed

Image copyright NASA Image caption The ‘snowman’ rotates at a rate of about 15 hours The ice world known as Ultima Thule has finally been revealed. A new picture returned from Nasa’s New Horizons spacecraft shows the little world to be two objects joined together – to give a look like a “snowman”. The US probe’s images acquired as it approached Ultima hinted at the possibility of a double body, but the first detailed picture from Tuesday’s close flyby confirms it. New Horizons encountered Ultima 6.5 billion km from Earth.…

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Nasa’s New Horizons: Excitement ahead of Ultima Thule flyby

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionAlan Stern: “It’s pure science and pure exploration” History will be made on Tuesday when Nasa’s New Horizons probe sweeps past the icy world known as Ultima Thule. Occurring some 6.5 billion km (4 billion miles) from Earth, the flyby will set a new record for the most distant ever exploration of a Solar System object by a spacecraft. New Horizons will gather a swathe of images and other data over the course of just a few hours leading up to and…

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Nasa’s InSight deploys ‘Marsquake’ instrument

Image copyright NASA/JPL Image caption The seismometer sensors still need their wind cover The American space agency’s InSight mission to Mars has begun to deploy its instruments. The lander’s robotic arm has just placed the bell-shaped seismometer package on the ground in front of it. This suite of sensors, developed in France and the UK, will listen for “Marsquakes” in an effort to determine the internal structure of the Red Planet. InSight touched down near the world’s equator in November. As well as the seismometer experiment, InSight is equipped with…

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Nasa’s New Horizons probe on course for historic flyby

Image copyright NASA Image caption Artwork: At this stage, scientists can only speculate what Ultima Thule looks like The American space agency’s New Horizons probe remains on course for its daring flyby of Ultima Thule. When the mission sweeps past the 30km wide object on New Year’s Day, it will be making the most distant ever visit to a Solar System body – at some 6.5 billion km from Earth. Mission planners decided at the weekend to forego a possible trajectory change. It means the probe will get to fly…

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Close-up images of Nasa’s Jupiter mission

Nasa’s Juno mission to Jupiter has reached its halfway mark and has revealed new views of cyclones at the gas giant’s poles. As it orbits the planet every 53 days – Juno performs a data-gathering dive, speeding from pole to pole. Its sensors take measurements of the composition of the planet, in an effort to decipher how the largest world in our Solar System formed. Source link

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Nasa’s Jupiter mission Juno reveals giant polar storms

Image copyright NASA / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstädt / Seán Doran Image caption People have downloaded the raw images of Jupiter and processed them, often revealing new details of its surface Nasa’s Juno mission to the gas giant Jupiter has reached its halfway mark and has revealed new views of cyclones at the poles. As it orbits the planet every 53 days – Juno performs a science-gathering dive, speeding from pole to pole. Its sensors take measurements of the composition of the planet, in an effort to decipher…

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