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Archive for July 30, 2012

Giant Ice Avalanches On Iapetus Provide Clue To Extreme Slippage Elsewhere In The Solar System


“We see landslides everywhere in the solar system,” says Kelsi Singer, graduate student in earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, “but Saturn’s icy moon Iapetus has more giant landslides than any body other than Mars.”

The reason, says William McKinnon, PhD, professor of earth and planetary sciences, is Iapetus’ spectacular topography. “Not only is the moon out-of-round, but the giant impact basins are very deep, and there’s this great mountain ridge that’s 20 kilometers (12 miles) high, far higher than Mount Everest.

Full Story: https://news.wustl.edu/news/Pages/24035.aspx

NASA Announces Media Activities For Mars Curiosity Mission Landing


News briefings, photo opportunities, and other media events at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., are set for the upcoming landing of NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars.

NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission will deliver the 1-ton, car-size robotic roving laboratory to the surface of Mars at 1:31 a.m. EDT Aug. 6 (10:31 p.m. PDT Aug. 5). Curiosity’s landing will mark the start of a two-year prime mission to investigate whether one of the most intriguing places on Mars ever has offered an environment favorable for microbial life.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2012/jul/HQ_M12-142_MSL_Landing_Coverage.html

SN 1957D in M83: X-Rays Discovered From Young Supernova Remnant


Over fifty years ago, a supernova was discovered in M83, a spiral galaxy about 15 million light years from Earth. Astronomers have used NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory to make the first detection of X-rays emitted by the debris from this explosion.

A relatively short observation — about 14 hours long — from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory in 2000 and 2001 did not detect any X-rays from the remnant of SN 1957D. However, a much longer observation obtained in 2010 and 2011, totaling nearly 8 and 1/2 days of Chandra time, did reveal the presence of X-ray emission. The X-ray brightness in 2000 and 2001 was about the same as or lower than in this deep image.

The new X-ray data from the remnant of SN 1957D provide important information about the nature of this explosion that astronomers think happened when a massive star ran out of fuel and collapsed. The distribution of X-rays with energy suggests that SN 1957D contains a neutron star, a rapidly spinning, dense star formed when the core of pre-supernova star collapsed.

Full Story: http://www.chandra.si.edu/photo/2012/m83sn/

Also: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/chandra/multimedia/sn1957d.html