Highlights from the 2015 Geneva Motor Show

Solar System

Artist's impression of Chiron (Image: ESO)

A team of astronomers from MIT have detected signs of a possible ring system around the minor planet Chiron. First discovered in 1977, Chiron belongs to a class of minor planets known as centaurs. These bodies share some of the characteristics exhibited by both comets and asteroids, hence their classification as Centaurs, which in ancient mythology denoted a creature with the traits of both man and horse.  Read More

Artist's view of the interior of Enceladus (Image: NASA/JPL)

In science, it's often the case that solving one mystery just raises more questions. Take Saturn's moon Enceladus. For almost a decade, scientists have been puzzled by the gossamer plumes that waft up from its surface. Data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft now indicates that these may might be due to present-day hydrothermal activity in the vast ocean beneath the crust of the frozen moon, raising the possibility that Enceladus may harbor life.  Read More

Ceres from 25,000 mi (40,000 km) away (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)

As NASA’s Dawn spacecraft makes its final approach to Ceres, the ion-propelled spacecraft is sending the best images yet with more details about the surface of the dwarf planet. The images from Dawn have shown the presence of numerous craters and unusual bright spots that scientist hope will provide clues as to not only how Ceres formed and if it is still active, but the early history of the Solar System as well.  Read More

Research carried out by New York University points towards dark matter as a driving force ...

A new study carried out by Professor Michael Rampino of New York University suggests that dark matter may have had a part to play in the periodic mass extinction events that are known to have taken place throughout Earth's history. It takes our planet roughly 250 million years to circle the Milky Way, and around every 30 million years the Sun's orbit takes us through what is known as the galactic disk. The galactic disk is where the majority of the mass in our galaxy resides, and alongside it a thin disk of dark matter.  Read More

Ceres as shot from NASA's Dawn spacecraft (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has captured the sharpest image yet of the dwarf planet Ceres. The picture was snapped at a distance of 52,000 miles (83,000 km), as the probe readies itself for orbital insertion slated for March 6.  Read More

Voyager 1's iconic pale blue dot, with Earth featured as a tiny spec to the right of the i...

25 years ago Voyager 1 turned back towards our planet, and captured one of the most profound images ever taken – the pale blue dot. On the face of it, the little blue dot to screen-right appears insignificant. Yet, in its scope, it captured every human being that has ever lived and ever died, every wonder and every labor that mankind had then achieved in the relatively short history of our race.  Read More

The Titan submarine would use a large dorsal fin as an antenna (Image: NASA)

Now that NASA has got the hang of planetary rovers, the space agency is looking at sending submarines into space around the year 2040. At the recent 2015 NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Symposium in Cocoa Beach, Florida, NASA scientists and engineers presented a study of the Titan Submarine Phase I Conceptual Design, which outlines a possible mission to Saturn's largest moon, Titan, where the unmanned submersible would explore the seas of liquid hydrocarbons at the Titanian poles.  Read More

Artist's concept of the Europa Clipper (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Another celestial body has been added to NASA's bucket list as the space agency officially asks the US Congress for US$30 million for the first mission aimed at exploring Jupiter’s moon Europa. Part of the FY 2015 NASA Planetary Science budget, it would fund further development of an unmanned probe to study place in the Solar System outside of Earth where life may exist.  Read More

Artist's impression of the ancient solar system (Image: Tiago Campante/Peter Devine)

A team led by scientists from the University of Birmingham, UK, have discovered an ancient solar system dating back to the dawn of the Milky Way. What makes the system truly fascinating is the confirmed existence of five Earth-sized planets, which may have profound implications for the presence of ancient life existing from an early point in our galaxy's 13.8 billion year history.  Read More

Roscosmos has released a series of videos that replace our Moon and Sun with well known pl...

At some point in their lives, who hasn't looked up at the sky and gazed in wonder at Earth's closest companion? Hanging a dizzying 384,400 km (238, 606 miles) above us, the Moon has stood like a silent sentinel throughout our species' short existence. It has enticed some to visit and inspired others to look to the universe beyond. The Russian space agency Roscosmos recently released series of videos shot from the perspective of Earth, showing us what it would look like if other planets and stars took the place of our Moon and Sun.  Read More

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