Astronomers see mystery explosion 200 million light-years away

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF EARTHSKY NEWS)

 

Astronomers see mystery explosion 200 million light-years away

Supernovae, or exploding stars, are relatively common. But now astronomers have observed a baffling new type of cosmic explosion, believed to be some 10 to 100 times brighter than an ordinary supernova.

Discovery image of AT2018cow – nicknamed The Cow by astronomers – acquired by the ATLAS telescopes. Image via Stephen Smartt/ATLAS.

Space might seem unchanging as you stand on Earth looking up at the inky blackness, but it isn’t, always. Indeed, the stillness can be punctuated at times by immense explosions, such as when stars go supernova in brilliant bursts of light. Supernovae are common, relatively speaking. But now scientists have observed a new type of explosion in space, and so far they don’t have an explanation for it. A science team reported the explosion on June 17, 2018, in The Astronomer’s Telegram, which is an internet-based publication service for disseminating new astronomical information quickly. The discovery team then discussed the explosion in a June 22 article in the popular weekly science magazine New Scientist. They said they saw the immense flash coming to us from another galaxy, 200 million light-years away. And, they said, this flash must have been 10 to 100 times brighter than a typical supernova.

The mysterious flash has been nicknamed The Cow by astronomers since it was listed as AT2018cow in a database, thanks to the randomized three-letter naming system.

The asteroid-tracking ATLAS telescopes at Keck Observatory in Hawaii were the first to see the mystery explosion. At first, astronomers thought it originated in our own galaxy. They thought it might be what’s called a cataclysmic variable star, typically two stars orbiting one another and interacting in a way that increases the whole system’s brightness irregularly. But subsequent spectroscopic observations showed the explosion came from another galaxy – labeled CGCG 137-068 – located some 200 million light-years away in the direction of the constellation Hercules.

As astronomer Kate Maguire of Queen’s University Belfast noted simply to New Scientist:

It really just appeared out of nowhere.

The ATLAS telescopes acquired these images of AT2018cow, before the explosion (middle) and after it (left) in the galaxy CGCG 137-068. The far-right image shows the difference between the two and reveals the sudden brightening. Image via Stephen Smartt/ATLAS.

Indeed, and it certainly took astronomers by surprise. But apart from the brightness, the most unusual aspect of the explosion was its speed, reaching peak brightness in just two days; most supernovae take weeks to do that. As Maguire also noted:

There are other objects that have been discovered that are as fast, but the fastness and the brightness, that’s quite unusual. There hasn’t really been another object like this.

Stephen Smartt, an astrophysicist at Queen’s University Belfast and a lead scientist for the ATLAS survey, commentedto the Washington Post on June 25 that:

I’ve never seen anything like this before in the local universe.

As to what caused this intense blast, scientists don’t know yet, but they say that it is composed of a 16,000 degree Fahrenheit (9,000 degree Celsius) cloud of high-energy particles, expanding outward at 12,000 miles (20,000 kilometers) per second. It is also very bright in all parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, and its spectrum is also “surprisingly smooth,” unlike most supernovae which have distinct absorption lines. According to Smartt:

No one has successfully matched them yet to the known features we normally see in supernova.

Artist’s concept shows dust forming in an environment around a supernova explosion. Could The Cow be an object like this? If so, why is it so much brighter than an ordinary supernova? Image via ESO/M. Kornmesser.

After the flash was reported to The Astronomer’s Telegram, astronomy teams used at least 18 telescopes from around the world to study the occurrence. According to Robert Rutledge, editor-in-chief of The Astronomer’s Telegram and an astrophysicist at McGill University in Canada:

I think it’s the most notices for any individual object in such a short period of time. It has produced a lot of interest.

But if the flash isn’t a typical supernova, then what is it? As Maguire noted:

We’re not sure yet what it is, but the normal powering mechanism for a supernova is radioactive decay of nickel, and this event is too bright and too fast for that.

It could be a type 1c supernova, where the core has collapsed in a massive star that has already lost its outer veil of hydrogen and helium, but only further observations will help to determine that, or rule it out as an explanation. Astronomers will continue to study this fascinating mystery, even though the blast has already started to fade now.

Location of AT2018cow in the distant galaxy CGCG 137-068, located in our sky in the direction of the constellation Hercules. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Bottom line: Astronomers have another fascinating mystery on their hands, as they try to figure out the nature of a huge, unusual explosion – labeled AT2018cow, nicknamed The Cow by astronomers – in a distant galaxy. Is it a type of supernova, or something more exotic?

Via The Astronomer’s TelegramNew Scientist and the Washington Post.

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Mysterious ‘Oumuamua’ space object has finally been identified

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS AND ‘MARCH’)

 

Mysterious ‘Oumuamua’ space object has finally been identified

Astronomers say the cigar-shaped interstellar visitor isn’t an asteroid, but a comet.
by David Freeman / 
Image: Oumuamua

Observations show that the interstellar visitor “Oumuamua” was traveling through space for millions of years before its chance encounter with our star system.M. Kornmesser/European Southern Observatory / NASA

When astronomers first spied a weird cigar-shaped object speeding past the sun last October, they could tell from its path that it had come from another star system — but they didn’t know exactly what it was.

Now they know. A study published Wednesday in the journal Nature indicates that the interstellar visitor, dubbed Oumuamua, is neither an asteroid nor an alien spacecraft (as some wags had suggested) but a small interstellar comet.

“It’s the only such object discovered so far,” Marco Micheli, an astronomer with the European Space Agency and the lead author of the new study, told NBC News MACH in an email.

Image: Oumuamua
This artist’s illustration shows ‘Oumuamua racing toward the outskirts of our solar system, and is annotated with the locations of the planetary orbits. As the complex rotation of the object makes it difficult to determine the exact shape, there are many models of what it could look like.JPL / NASA

Comets — icy, dusty objects that have been likened to “dirty snowballs” — typically form long tails when they come close to the sun. No such tail was visible in earlier observations of Oumuamua (which means “scout” in Hawaiian), a fact that helped lead other astronomers to conclude that it was an asteroid.

But an analysis of new observations made by ground-based telescopes and the Hubble Space Telescope yielded a surprise: Oumuamua’s trajectory couldn’t be explained solely by the gravitational forces exerted on it by the sun and the planets — as would be the case if it were an asteroid, or space rock.

“Unexpectedly, we found that Oumuamua was not slowing down as fast as it should have under gravitational forces alone,” Micheli said in a statement.

His team concluded that the unexpected motion of Oumuamua had to be caused by the spewing out of small quantities of gaseous materials from its surface. This “outgassing” — commonly seen in comets — was too small to be visible but significant enough to affect Oumuamua’s trajectory.

But not everyone is buying that explanation — at least not completely.

Alan Jackson, an astronomer at the University of Toronto Scarborough, told MACH in an email that if Oumuamua is a comet, it must be one that lost much of its ice before leaving its home star system.

“A comet that has lost enough of its ice is essentially the same as an asteroid,” he said. “Oumuamua thus seems to be in that ambiguous region between the two.”

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Jackson conducted previous research on Oumuamua but was not involved in the new study.

Whatever its precise identity, Oumuamua might be just the first of many such interstellar visitors we’ll encounter. Jackson said new telescopes should help astronomers find “a lot more objects like Oumuamua and we will then be able to put together a more complete picture of what the building blocks of planets look like in other planetary systems, which will also help us to understand how planets form.”

Oumaumau is now headed to the outer solar system at a speed of about 70,000 miles per hour. Astronomers expect it to pass Neptune’s orbit in four years.

“The object is now too faint to observe, so no new data will be acquired,” Micheli said in the email. “But I expect scientists will keep working on their data for quite some time.”

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Asteroid on Course to Earth Was Spotted Just Hours Before It Hit The Atmosphere

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

Asteroid on Course to Earth Was Spotted Just Hours Before It Hit The Atmosphere

Surprise!

ALEX HORTON, THE WASHINGTON POST
5 JUN 2018

Witnesses reported a fireball streaking across the sky above Botswana on Saturday night.

The asteroid hurtling toward Earth at 10 miles (16 km) a second looked like it could be the harbinger of catastrophe. A webcam in a rural area west of Johannesburg captured it, showing a luminous orb igniting the sky in a bright flash.

NASA had only discovered the asteroid on Saturday and determined it was on a collision course for the planet, charted for entry in a vast expanse from Southern Africa and across the Indian Ocean to New Guinea and given the name 2018 LA.

The reality of the asteroid’s fiery end was less dramatic than the video shows. The asteroid was estimated at just six feet (1.8 metres) across, otherwise known as boulder-sized, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement.

It burned up “several miles” above the Earth’s surface.

NASA and space enthusiasts do not get many opportunities like this. Asteroid 2018 LA was only the third asteroid discovered on an impact trajectory, the agency said, and just the second time a high probability of impact was determined ahead of time.

The last predicted impact was asteroid 2014 AA, and it too was discovered only hours before it entered the atmosphere over the Atlantic Ocean on New Year’s Day in 2014, NASA said.

“[T]his real-world event allows us to exercise our capabilities and gives some confidence our impact prediction models are adequate to respond to the potential impact of a larger object,” said Lindley Johnson, an official at NASA’s Planetary Defense team, which tracks and warns of asteroids that may pose a threat to the planet.

KFDLE7J3A4ZMJHHOSXVO67EJUAThe discovery observations of Asteroid 2018 LA. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/CSS-Univ. of Arizona)

Asteroids are small remnants of violent collisions in the solar system’s history and formed around 4.5 billion years ago.

They are typically composed of rock-forming minerals like olivine and pyroxene but often contain iron and nickel, NASA said.

The Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter contains hundreds of thousands of asteroids more than half a mile in size or more, with millions of smaller objects tumbling in space.

Asteroid 2018 LA was first discovered by the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey operated by the University of Arizona, the agency said. NASA linked to the video in its statement, and the publisher said on YouTube the video is from his father’s South African farm.

NASA relies on a patchwork of observers to track what it calls near-Earth asteroids, the agency explained in a video.

Constantly scanning telescopes capture images of the sky and movement through photos over time triggers a comparison of known objects in a database.

If the object is unknown, the agency will review the object and expedite the analysis if experts determine it will streak close to the Earth. Astronomers from NASA, other space agencies and even amateur enthusiasts then join in to refine the trajectory.

2018 © The Washington Post

This article was originally published by The Washington Post.

Popular Science’s Planet #9

 

The elusive Planet Nine might be responsible for this asteroid’s bizarre orbit

Something’s got the Kuiper belt’s rocks off, and there’s a scramble to find it.

Planet Nine

An artist’s interpretation of Planet Nine.

Kevin Gill via Flickr

For a few years now, the astronomy world has been hard at work searching for a ninth planet of the solar system (no, not Pluto, it’s time to move on). There’s evidence of something massive hanging around in the outer reaches of the solar system—10 times more massive than Earth, big enough to gravitationally warp the orbits of smaller objects in its vicinity, 10 to 20 times farther away than Pluto. And yet it apparently continues to hide in plain sight, eluding our best efforts to observe it directly. If a planet orbits the sun and nobody’s there to see it, is it even real?

The latest tantalizing bit of evidence to back up Planet Nine’s existence is an asteroid called 2015 BP519, first discovered three years ago in the vast reaches of the Kuiper belt (the region of the solar system beyond Neptune). We now know the asteroid possesses a bizarre elliptical orbit that suggests something gigantic is pulling at the little bugger as it tries to make its journey around the sun.

“I’m pretty excited about the new object,” says Caltech astronomer Mike Brown, one of the first people to characterize Planet Nine, who was not involved with the study. “It is the predicted link between the very distant elongated orbits that we’ve known about and the much closer tilted orbits that we’ve seen.”

In a new paper led by Juliette Becker, a graduate student at the University of Michigan, a group of researchers outline the discovery of BP519 through the Dark Energy Survey, an international collaboration that uses visible and near-infrared observations to study the expansion of the universe. It’s not exactly a typical object-hunting tool, but the DES is optimized for observing objects above the planet of the solar system—objects like BP519, which has an orbit tilted 54 degrees with respect to the solar system’s plane.

“The moment we saw its fitted orbit, we knew it was a remarkable object,” says Becker. “If the solar system is thought of as concentric rings sitting flat on a table, BP519’s orbit is another, larger oval tilted more than halfway up toward the ceiling.”

That’s where the influence of Planet Nine comes in. “Planet Nine, if it exists, could take objects that start out closer to the table and cause their orbits to change with time to eventually look like BP519’s orbit,” says Becker.

Besides its unique orbital inclination, we also know the object is perhaps the size of a dwarf planet, and its distance from the sun is about 450 times farther than Earth’s.

While other explanations could explain the asteroid’s strange orbit, such as a rogue star flying by the neighborhood, or a scattering effect created by a giant planet migration, none of those theories seem to fit the bill as well as Planet Nine. “At the moment, Planet Nine seems like the most likely culprit to me,” says Becker.

In addition, “this is the first discovery of a Kuiper belt object drawn from a population that was not already mapped out before our formulation of the Planet Nine hypothesis,” says Konstantin Batygin, a planetary scientist at Caltech who has led the investigation of Planet Nine in partnership with Brown. “Our theoretical models predict the existence of exactly this type of inclined orbit in the distant Kuiper belt, and seeing this prediction materialize into observational reality is extremely satisfying.”

Nevertheless, both Brown and Batygin emphasize the new discovery doesn’t do much in helping astronomers actually find Planet Nine. “We now know of so many objects influenced by Planet Nine, that adding a single extra one doesn’t significantly change our view,” says Brown. “Finding a few dozen more would be very helpful though!”

Nor is it certain BP519 even has anything to do with a new planet. “The only totally convincing evidence,” says Becker, “will be a direct detection of Planet Nine.” Something’s got the Kuiper belt’s rocks off, and there’s a scramble to find it.

New Earth Found?

New Earth Found?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SPACE.COM)

Habitable planet found outside solar system

SCIENTISTS on Wednesday announced the discovery of an Earth-sized planet orbiting the star nearest our Sun, opening up the glittering prospect of a habitable world that may one day be explored by robots.

Named Proxima b, the planet is in a “temperate” zone compatible with the presence of liquid water — a key ingredient for life.

The findings, based on data collected over 16 years, were reported in the peer-reviewed journal Nature.

“We have finally succeeded in showing that a small-mass planet, most likely rocky, is orbiting the star closest to our solar system,” said co-author Julien Morin, an astrophysicist at the University of Montpellier in southern France.

“Proxima b would probably be the first exoplanet visited by a probe made by humans,” he said.

An exoplanet is any planet outside our Solar System.

Lead author Guillem Anglada-Escude, an astronomer at Queen Mary University London, described the find as the “experience of a lifetime.”

Working with European Southern Observatory telescopes in the north Chilean desert, his team used the so-called Doppler method to detect Proxima b and describe its properties.

The professional star-gazers spent 60 consecutive days earlier this year looking for signs of gravitational pull on its host star, Proxima Centauri.

Regular shifts in the star’s light spectrum — repeating every 11.2 days — gave a tantalising clue.

They revealed that the star alternately moved towards and away from our Solar System at the pace of a leisurely stroll, about five kilometers per hour.

Goldilocks zone

After cross-checking an inconclusive 2000-2014 dataset and eliminating other possible causes, the researchers determined that the tug of an orbiting planet was responsible for this tiny to-and-fro.

“Statistically, there is no doubt,” Anglada-Escude told journalists in a briefing.

“We have found a planet around Proxima Centauri.”

Proxima b is a mere four light years from the Solar System, meaning that it is essentially in our back yard on the scale of our galaxy, the Milky Way.

It has a mass around 1.3 times that of Earth, and orbits about seven million kilometers from its star.

A planet so near to our Sun — 21 times closer than Earth — would be an unlivable white-hot ball of fire.

But Proxima Centauri is a so-called red dwarf, meaning a star that burns at a lower temperature.

As a result, the newly discovered planet is in a “Goldilocks” sweet spot: neither so hot that water evaporates, nor so cold that it freezes solid.

But liquid water is not the only essential ingredient for the emergence of life.

An atmosphere is also required, and on that score the researchers are still in the dark. It all depends, they say, on how Proxima b evolved as a planet.

“You can come up with formation scenarios that end up with and Earth-like atmosphere, a Venus-like atmosphere” — 96 percent carbon dioxide — “or no atmosphere at all,” said co-author Ansgar Reiners, an expert on “cold” stars at the University of Goettingen’s Institute of Astrophysics in Germany.

Computer models suggest the planet’s temperature, with an atmosphere, could be “in the range of minus 30 Celsius on the dark side, and 30C on the light side,” Reiners said.

Like the Moon in relation to Earth, Proxima b is “tidally locked,” with one face always exposed to its star and the other perpetually in shadow.

Emerging life forms would also have to cope with ultraviolet and X-rays bombarding Proxima b 100 times more intensely than on Earth.

Search for life

An atmosphere would help deflect these rays, as would a strong magnetic field.

But even high doses of radiation do not preclude life, especially if we think outside the box, scientists say.

“We have to be very open-minded as to what we call ‘life’,” Jean Schneider, an expert on exoplanets at the Observatoire de Paris, said.

Last year, NASA unveiled Kepler 452b, a planet about 60 percent larger than Earth that could have active volcanoes, oceans, sunshine like ours, and a year lasting 385 days.

But at a distance of 1,400 light-years, humankind would have little hope of reaching this Earth-twin any time soon.

By comparison, Proxima b is a stone’s throw away, though still too far away for humans to visit with present-generation chemical rockets.

“This is a dream for astronomers if we think about follow up observations,” said Reiners.

Uranus: Smells Like Rotten Eggs And Has Temperature Of Negative 328F

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SPACE.COM)

 

 SPACE

If the Rotten Egg Smell Doesn’t Kill You, the Negative 200°C Temperature of Uranus Will

New research suggests the atmosphere of Uranus is largely comprised of hydrogen sulfide, which gives rotten eggs their repulsive smell.

 

PUBLISHED ON 04/25/2018
7:04 AM EDT

Uranus: Smells Like Rotten Eggs And Has Temperature Of Negative 328F

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SPACE.COM)

 

 SPACE

If the Rotten Egg Smell Doesn’t Kill You, the Negative 200°C Temperature of Uranus Will

New research suggests the atmosphere of Uranus is largely comprised of hydrogen sulfide, which gives rotten eggs their repulsive smell.

 

PUBLISHED ON 04/25/2018
7:04 AM EDT

Something shocking just happened deep in space

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ‘MORNING TICKER’)

 

Something shocking just happened deep in space

Something shocking just happened deep in space

Astronomers have detected what they are calling the strong burst of radio waves observed in space since all the way back in 2007.

An incredible strong fast radio burst from deep in outer space, the strongest recorded since 2007, has stunned scientists who are trying to figure out the cause. FRBs refer to radio waves that flash from some distsnace point in space for just a few milliseconds, and they can contain as much energy as 500 million suns.

They are so mysterious because they are impossible to predict, or trace to an individual source. They happen without warning and last for just a few milliseconds. These lastest bursts were detected by the Parkes radio telescope in Australia, once on March 1, again on March 9, and a third time on March 11.

The strongest was the one on March 9, which hit 411 on the signal to noise ratio. As comparison, the previous ratio record was 90, and many FRBs are less than 20. Scientists don’t know much about FRBs or what causes them, although they speculate incredibly powerful events like the collision of black holes or neutron stars might cause them.

The following is an excerpt from Wikipedia on FRBs.

In radio astronomy, a fast radio burst (FRB) is a high-energy astrophysical phenomenon of unknown origin manifested as a transient radio pulse lasting only a few milliseconds. The first FRB was discovered by Duncan Lorimer and his student David Narkevic in 2007 when they were looking through archival pulsar survey data, and it is therefore commonly referred to as Lorimer Burst. Many FRBs have since been found, including a repeating FRB.

When the FRBs are polarized, it indicates that they are emitted from a source contained within an extremely powerful magnetic field.[5] The origin of the FRBs has yet to be determined; proposals for its origin range from a rapidly rotating neutron star and a black hole to extraterrestrial intelligence.

The first FRB, the Lorimer Burst FRB 010724, was discovered in 2007 when Duncan Lorimer assigned his student David Narkevic to look through archival data taken in 2001 by the Parkes radio dish in Australia.[13] Analysis of the survey data found a 30-jansky dispersed burst which occurred on 24 July 2001,[11] less than 5 milliseconds in duration, located 3° from the Small Magellanic Cloud. The reported burst properties argue against a physical association with the Milky Way galaxy or the Small Magellanic Cloud. The burst became known as the Lorimer Burst.[14] The discoverers argue that current models for the free electron content in the universe imply that the burst is less than 1 gigaparsec distant. The fact that no further bursts were seen in 90 hours of additional observations implies that it was a singular event such as a supernova or merger of relativistic objects.[11] It is suggested that hundreds of similar events could occur every day and, if detected, could serve as cosmological probes.

Because of the isolated nature of the observed phenomenon, the nature of the source remains speculative. As of 2016, there is no generally accepted explanation. The emission region is estimated to be no larger than a few hundred kilometers (because of causality). If the bursts come from cosmological distances, their sources must be very bright.

One possible explanation would be a collision between very dense objects like merging black holes or neutron stars. It has been suggested that there is a connection to gamma-ray bursts. Some have speculated that these signals might be artificial in origin, that they may be signs of extraterrestrial intelligence.

In 2007, just after the publication of the e-print with the first discovery, it was proposed that fast radio bursts could be related to hyperflares of magnetars. In 2015 three studies supported the magnetar hypothesis.

Blitzars were proposed in 2013 as an explanation.[51] In 2014 it was suggested that following dark matter-induced collapse of pulsars,[62] the resulting expulsion of the pulsar magnetospheres could be the source of fast radio bursts.[63] In 2016 the collapse of the magnetospheres of Kerr-Newman black holes are proposed to explain the origin of the FRBs’ “afterglow” and the weak gamma-ray transient 0.4 s after GW 150914. It has also been proposed that if fast radio bursts originate in black hole explosions, FRBs would be the first detection of quantum gravity effects.

Repeated bursts of FRB 121102 have initiated multiple origin hypotheses.[67] A coherent emission phenomenon known as superradiance, which involves large-scale entangled quantum mechanical states possibly arising in environments such as active galactic nuclei, has been proposed to explain these and other associated observations with FRBs (e.g. high event rate, variable intensity profiles).

Thick Layers Of Ice Water Discovered Below Surface Of Mars

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TECH TIMES)

 

Thick Layers Of Ice Water Discovered Below Surface Of Mars

 By Maui Hermitanio Tech Times
Nasa building new rover for Mars 2020 mission
Underground ice found beneath Mars’ surface extending to its middle latitude. This discovery is a game changer in mankind’s exploration of the read planet.   ( Aynur Zakirov | Pixabay )

Geological features comprising 300 feet of thick ice was exposed in the surface of Mars.

Eroded slopes of pure water ice called scarps were scanned by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. At least eight scarps were found in both northern and southern hemisphere of Mars’ middle latitudes.

Pure Water Ice Discovered From Mars’ Surface

The pictures sent back to Earth by MRO showed a more detailed cross-section view of thick ice sheets below a layer of ice-cemented rock and dust on Mars’ surface. The 3D images were studied by scientists using the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera.

In 2001, the Mars Odyssey spacecraft discovered that a third of Mars’ surface is covered in shallow ice. Also, its poles are full of ice deposits through the detection of hydrogen using gamma rays.

In 2008, the Phoenix lander analyzed and confirmed the Odyssey findings as it discovered buried water ice at 68 degrees north latitude or about one-third into the planet’s pole. However, previous scans using the MRO’s Shallow Radar instrument were not enough to determine the extent and makeup of ice on the Red Planet.

Scientists were astonished to discover that Mars’ mid-latitudes contained pure water ice.

“It was surprising to find ice exposed at the surface at these places. In the mid-latitudes, it’s normally covered by a blanket of dust or regolith,” loose bits of rock atop a layer of bedrock, said Colin Dundas, research geologist of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona.

The ice sheets appear bluish in the high-resolution images and look like steep cliffs of glaciers, up to 100 meters tall. The discovery points to a vast area of underground ice buried only a meter or two below Martian ground surface. The location of the scarps was at 55 to 58 middle latitudes or the equivalent of Scotland or the tip of South America on Earth.

Shayne Byrne of the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in Tucson said the discovery was like looking at an ant farm from a glass on the side and seeing what’s hidden beneath the ground.

How Scarps Were Formed

No definitive information was provided on how the scarps were formed. Scientists said once the buried ice is exposed to Mars’ atmosphere, a scarp likely grows wider and taller as it retreats. It is also possible that layers of snow were compressed every climate cycle, resulting in the building deposits of ice over time.

The varying shades of light to a dark blue color of ice as shown on the images suggest that the thick slabs of ice are stacked. The ice could also be remnants of glaciers that existed millions of years ago.

Unlimited Source Of Water And Possible Life On Mars

The discovery is considered a game changer in mankind’s exploration of Mars. Scientists have raised the possibility that the thick ice sheets could become a potential accessible source of water for future scientific exploration and visit to Mars. Byrne suggested that would-be visitors to Mars can just use a bucket and shovel and collect water from the sources.

The latest research gave scientists a glimpse of Mars’ climate history and would be the basis for further study of its water sources. It will also help NASA and other agencies plan upcoming rover and human missions to Mars.

The study was published in the journal Science.

 TAG

Jupiter Looks Beautiful In These New NASA Photos

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

 

NASA has shared brand new photos of Jupiter taken by the Juno spacecraft, showing the gas giant’s blue-tinged skies.

The Juno spacecraft takes batches of photos about every 53 days as it orbits Jupiter. NASA researchers uploaded the raw images online last month, prompting several people to process the photos into colorful views of Jupiter, including self-described citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran.

Eichstädt and Doran’s enhanced images from Juno’s JunoCam show a beautiful planet of luminous colors, ranging from deep blues and purples to browns and reds — though people should not be fooled by how inviting the planet seems.

“As pretty as a planet can get, but get too close and Jupiter will END YOU,” Doran tweeted.

See the stunning images of Jupiter below.

NASA / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstädt / Seán Doran
NASA / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstädt / Seán Doran
NASA / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstädt / Seán Doran
NASA / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstädt / Seán Doran

 

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