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    • By European Space Agency
      Video: 00:03:29 Mars’s surface is covered in all manner of scratches and scars. Its many marks include the fingernail scratches of Tantalus Fossae, the colossal canyon system of Valles Marineris, the oddly orderly ridges of Angustus Labyrinthus, and the fascinating features captured in today’s video release from Mars Express: the cat scratches of Nili Fossae.
      Nili Fossae comprises parallel trenches hundreds of metres deep and several hundred kilometres long, stretching out along the eastern edge of a massive impact crater named Isidis Planitia.
      This new video features observations from Mars Express's High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC). It first flies northwards towards and around these large trenches, showing their fractured, uneven appearance, before turning back to head southwards. It ends by zooming out to a ‘bird’s eye’ view, with the landing site of NASA’s Perseverance rover, Jezero Crater, visible in the lower-middle part of the final scene. (You can explore this crater further via ESA’s interactive map.)
      The trenches of Nili Fossae are actually features known as ‘graben’, which form when the ground sitting between two parallel faults fractures and falls away. As the graben seem to curve around Isidis Planitia, it’s likely that they formed as Mars’s crust settled following the formation of the crater by an incoming space rock hitting the surface. Similar ruptures – the counterpart to Nili Fossae – are found on the other side of the crater, and named Amenthes Fossae.
      Scientists have focused on Nili Fossae in recent years due to the impressive amount and diversity of minerals found in this area, including silicates, carbonates, and clays (many of which were discovered by Mars Express’s OMEGA instrument). These minerals form in the presence of water, indicating that this region was very wet in ancient martian history. Much of the ground here formed over 3.5 billion years ago, when surface water was abundant across Mars. Scientists believe that water flowed not only across the surface here but also beneath it, forming underground hydrothermal flows that were heated by ancient volcanoes.
      Because of what it could tell us about Mars’s ancient and water-rich past, Nili Fossae was considered as a possible landing site for NASA’s Curiosity rover, before the rover was ultimately sent to Gale Crater in 2012. Another mission, NASA’s Perseverance rover, was later sent to land in the nearby Jezero Crater, visible at the end of this video.
      Mars Express has visited Nili Fossae before, imaging the region’s graben system back in 2014. The mission has orbited the Red Planet since 2003, imaging Mars’s surface, mapping its minerals, studying its tenuous atmosphere, probing beneath its crust, and exploring how various phenomena interact in the martian environment. For more from the orbiter and its HRSC, see ESA's Mars Express releases.
      Disclaimer: This video is not representative of how Mars Express flies over the surface of Mars. See processing notes below.
      Processing notes: The video is centred at 23°N, 78°E. It was created using Mars Chart (HMC30) data, an image mosaic made from single-orbit observations from Mars Express’s HRSC. This mosaic was combined with topography derived from a digital terrain model of Mars to generate a three-dimensional landscape. For every second of the movie, 62.5 separate frames are rendered following a pre-defined camera path. The vertical exaggeration is three-fold. Atmospheric effects – clouds and haze – have been added, and start building up at a distance of 50 km.
      Click here for the original video created by Freie Universität Berlin, who use Mars Express data to prepare spectacular views of the martian surface. The original version has no voiceover, captions or ESA logo.
      View the full article
    • By NASA
      These images represent a sample of galaxy clusters that are part of the largest and most complete study to learn what triggers stars to form in the universe’s biggest galaxies. Clusters of galaxies are the largest objects in the universe held together by gravity and contain huge amounts of hot gas seen in X-rays. This research, made using Chandra and other telescopes, showed that the conditions for stellar conception in these exceptionally massive galaxies have not changed over the last ten billion years. In these images, X-rays from Chandra are shown along with optical data from Hubble.X-ray: NASA/CXC/MIT/M. Calzadilla el al.; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI; Image Processing: NASA/CXC/SAO/N. Wolk & J. Major These four images represent a sample of galaxy clusters that are part of the largest and most complete study to learn what triggers stars to form in the universe’s biggest galaxies, as described in our latest press release. This research, made using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes, showed that the conditions for stellar conception in these exceptionally massive galaxies have not changed over the last ten billion years.
      Galaxy clusters are the largest objects in the universe held together by gravity and contain huge amounts of hot gas seen in X-rays. This hot gas weighs several times the total mass of all the stars in all the hundreds of galaxies typically found in galaxy clusters. In the four galaxy cluster images in this graphic, X-rays from hot gas detected by Chandra are in purple and optical data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, mostly showing galaxies in the clusters, are yellow and cyan.
      In this study, researchers looked at the brightest and most massive class of galaxies in the universe, called brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs), in the centers of 95 clusters of galaxies. The galaxy clusters chosen are themselves an extreme sample — the most massive clusters in a large survey using the South Pole Telescope (SPT), with funding support from the National Science Foundation and Department of Energy — and are located between 3.4 and 9.9 billion light-years from Earth.
      The four galaxy clusters shown here at located at distances of 3.9 billion (SPT-CLJ0106-5943), 5.6 billion (SPT-CLJ0307-6225), 6.4 billion (SPT-CLJ0310-4647) and 7.7 billion (SPT-CLJ0615-5746) light-years from Earth, and the images are 1.7 million, 2 million, 2.4 million and 2.2 million light-years across, respectively. By comparison our galaxy is only about 100,000 light-years across.
      In SPT-CLJ0307-6225 the BCG is near the bottom right of the image and in the other images they are near the centers. Some of the long, narrow features are caused by gravitational lensing, where mass in the clusters is warping the light from galaxies behind the clusters. The images have been rotated from standard astronomer’s configuration of North up by 20 degrees clockwise (SPT-CLJ0106-5943), 6.2 degrees counterclockwise (SPT-CLJ0307-6225), 29,2 degrees counterclockwise (SPT-CLJ0310-4647) and 24.2 degrees clockwise (SPT-CLJ0615-5746).
      The team found that the precise trigger for stars to form in the galaxies that they studied is when the amount of disordered motion in the hot gas — a physical concept called “entropy” — falls below a critical threshold. Below this threshold, the hot gas inevitably cools to form new stars.
      In addition to the X-ray data from Chandra X-ray Observatory and radio data from the SPT already mentioned, this result also used radio data from the Australia Telescope Compact Array, and the Australian SKA Pathfinder Telescope, infrared data from NASA’s WISE satellite, and several optical telescopes. The optical telescopes used in this study were the Magellan 6.5-m Telescopes, the Gemini South Telescope, the Blanco 4-m Telescope (DECam, MOSAIC-II) and the Swope 1m Telescope. A total of almost 50 days of Chandra observing time was used for this result.
      Michael Caldazilla of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) presented these results at the 243rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society in New Orleans, LA. In addition, there is a paper submitted to The Astrophysical Journal led by Caldazilla on this result (preprint here). The other authors on the paper are Michael McDonald (MIT), Bradford Benson (University of Chicago), Lindsay Bleem (Argonne National Laboratory), Judith Croston (The Open University, UK), Megan Donahue (Michigan State University), Alastair Edge (University of Durham, UK), Gordon Garmire (Penn State University), Julie Hvalacek-Larrondo (University of Colorado), Minh Huynh (CSIRO, Australia), Gourav Khullar (University of Pittsburgh), Ralph Kraft (Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian), Brian McNamara (University of Waterloo, Canada), Allison Noble (Arizona State University), Charles Romero (CfA), Florian Ruppin (University of Lyon, France), Taweewat Somboonpanyakul (Stanford University), and Mark Voit (Michigan State).
      NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center manages the Chandra program. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory’s Chandra X-ray Center controls science operations from Cambridge, Massachusetts, and flight operations from Burlington, Massachusetts.
      Read more from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.
      For more Chandra images, multimedia and related materials, visit:
      https://www.nasa.gov/mission/chandra-x-ray-observatory/
      Visual Description
      This release includes composite images of four galaxy clusters, presented in a two-by-two grid. Each image features a hazy, purple cloud representing X-rays from hot gas observed by Chandra. The distant galaxies in and around the clouds of hot gas have been captured in optical data, and are shown in golden yellows with hints of vibrant cyan blue.
      The galaxy cluster at our upper left is labeled SPT-CLJ0310-4647. Here, the blackness of space is packed with gleaming specks of white, golden yellow, and bright blue light. These are individual galaxies. Some of the galaxies resemble blurred, glowing dots. In other galaxies, the curving arms of a spiral formation are discernible. At the center of the image, a faint purple cloud surrounds several of the cluster’s brightest galaxies.
      At our upper right is an image of SPT-CLJ0615-5746. This is the most distant cluster of the four so the galaxies it contains appear relatively small. These galaxies are mostly located near the center of the image. The purple cloud of hot gas is roughly spherical, and has a light purple spot at its core.
      At our lower right is SPT-CLJ0307-6225. Here, X-rays from hot gas are represented by a large, misty, purple cloud that covers much of the image. The brightest spot in the cloud is a light purple dot near our lower right. The most notable galaxy in this image is a pixilated spiral galaxy above and to our left of center.
      The galaxy cluster at our lower left is labeled SPT-CLJ0106-5943. This cluster features a scattering of cyan blue galaxies, several of which appear stretched or elongated due to gravitational lensing. At the center of the image is a purple gas cloud with a bright white speck at its core.
      News Media Contact
      Megan Watzke
      Chandra X-ray Center
      Cambridge, Mass.
      617-496-7998
      Jonathan Deal
      Marshall Space Flight Center
      Huntsville, Ala.
      256-544-0034
      View the full article
    • By NASA
      NASA Administrator Bill Nelson gives remarks after Indian Ambassador to the United States Taranjit Sandhu signed the Artemis Accords, Wednesday, June 21, 2023, at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington.NASA/Bill Ingalls NASA Administrator Bill Nelson will travel to India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for a series of meetings beginning Monday, Nov. 27, with key government officials.
      Nelson also will meet with space officials in both countries to deepen bilateral cooperation across a broad range of innovation and research-related areas, especially in human exploration and Earth science.
      The visit to India fulfills a commitment through the United States and India initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology spearheaded by President Joe Biden. Nelson will visit several locations in India, including the Bengaluru-based facilities where the NISAR spacecraft, a joint Earth-observing mission between NASA and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), is undergoing testing and integration for launch in 2024. NISAR is short for NASA ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar.
      As the first satellite mission between NASA and ISRO, NISAR is a revolutionary Earth-observing instrument, the first in the Earth System Observatory, that will measure Earth’s changing ecosystems, dynamic surfaces, and ice masses providing information about biomass, natural hazards, sea level rise, and groundwater, key information to guide efforts related to climate change, hazard mitigation, agriculture, and more.
      While in the UAE, Nelson will participate in the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference, highlighting NASA’s role as a global leader in providing decisionmakers with critical Earth-science data. It will be the first time a NASA administrator will have attended the conference.
      Students in each country also will have the opportunity to meet with Nelson to discuss science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and their roles as members of the Artemis Generation.
      For more information about NASA’s international partnerships, visit:
      https://www.nasa.gov/oiir
      -end-
      Jackie McGuinness
      Headquarters, Washington
      202-358-1600
      jackie.mcguinness@nasa.gov
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      Last Updated Nov 24, 2023 Location NASA Headquarters Related Terms
      Missions NISAR (NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar) View the full article
    • By USH
      A spherical, white unidentified flying object (UFO) recently led to the temporary shutdown of an airport in Manipur, India. According to reliable sources, the UFO was first spotted by the pilot of an Indigo flight scheduled for departure at approximately 2:20 pm. In response to this sighting, all flight operations were promptly suspended, and normal activities only resumed around 6 pm. The mysterious UFO remained visible until approximately 4 pm. 

      Bhaskar Salam, a passenger on the affected flight, recounted the confusion and uncertainty surrounding the situation. He expressed that he was unaware of the circumstances and was informed that the flight couldn't take off due to an unidentified object hovering in the sky. Flight operator officials, however, remained uncertain about the nature of the object. 
      Imphal West Superintendent of Police, Ksh Shivakanta Singh, shed light on the perplexing incident, stating that the object lingered in the sky for several hours, before disappearing without a trace. The mysterious nature of the UFO has left both authorities and witnesses puzzled, with no conclusive explanation for its presence or sudden disappearance.
        View the full article
    • By NASA
      9 Min Read Temperatures Across Our Solar System
      An illustration of our solar system. Planets and other objects are not to scale. Credits:
      NASA What’s the weather like out there? We mean waaaay out there in our solar system – where the forecast might not be quite what you think. 
      Let’s look at the mean temperature of the Sun, and the planets in our solar system. The mean temperature is the average temperature over the surface of the rocky planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. Dwarf planet Pluto also has a solid surface. But since the gas giants don’t have a surface, the mean is the average temperature at what would be equivalent at sea level on Earth. 
      An illustration of planets in our solar system showing their mean temperatures. Planets and dwarf planet Pluto are not to scale.  NASA Let’s start with our Sun. You already know the Sun is hot. OK, it’s extremely hot! But temperatures on the Sun also are a bit puzzling. 
      An image of the Sun taken Oct. 30, 2023, by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. NASA/SDO The hottest part of the Sun is its core, where temperatures top 27 million°F (15 million°C). The part of the Sun we call its surface – the photosphere – is a relatively cool 10,000° F (5,500°C). In one of the Sun’s biggest mysteries, the Sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona, gets hotter the farther it stretches from the surface. The corona reaches up to 3.5 million°F (2 million°C) – much, much hotter than the photosphere.
      So some temperatures on the Sun are a bit upside down. How about the planets? Surely things are cooler on the planets that are farther from the Sun. 
      Well, mostly. But then there’s Venus. 
      As it sped away from Venus, NASA’s Mariner 10 spacecraft captured this seemingly peaceful view of a planet the size of Earth, wrapped in a dense, global cloud layer. But, contrary to its serene appearance, the clouded globe of Venus is a world of intense heat, crushing atmospheric pressure and clouds of corrosive acid. NASA/JPL-Caltech Venus is the second closest planet to the Sun after Mercury, with an average distance from the Sun of about 67 million miles (108 million kilometers). It takes sunlight about six minutes to travel to Venus. 
      Venus also is Earth’s closest neighbor and is similar in size. It has even been called Earth’s twin. But Venus is shrouded in clouds and has a dense atmosphere that acts as a greenhouse and heats the surface to above the melting point of lead. It has a mean surface temperature of 867°F (464°C). 
      So Venus – not Mercury – is the hottest planet in our solar system. Save that bit of info for any future trivia contests.
      Maybe Venus is hotter, but Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun. Surely it gets hot, too? 
      Mercury as seen from NASA’s MESSENGER, the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury. NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington Mercury is about 36 million miles (57 million kilometers) from the Sun. From this distance, it takes sunlight about three minutes to travel to Mercury. Even though it’s sitting right next to the Sun – relatively speaking – Mercury gets extremely cold at night. It has a mean surface temperature of 333°F (167°C). Daytime temperatures get much hotter than the mean, and can reach highs of 800°F (430°C). But without an atmosphere thick enough to hold in the heat at night, temperatures can dip as low as -290°F (-180°C). 
      Ahhh, Earth. We know about the weather here, right? Even Earth has some temperatures you may not have heard about.
      An image of Earth from the Deep Space Climate Observatory, or DSCOVR. NASA Earth is an average of 93 million miles (150 million kilometers) from the Sun. It takes about eight minutes for light from the Sun to reach our planet.
      Our homeworld is a dynamic and stormy planet with everything from clear, sunny days, to brief rain showers, to tornados, to raging hurricanes, to blizzards, and dust storms. But in spite of its wide variety of storms – Earth generally has very hospitable temperatures compared to the other planets. The mean surface temperature on Earth is 59°F (15°C). But Earth days have some extreme temperatures. According to NOAA, Death Valley holds the record for the world’s highest surface air temperature ever recorded on Earth: 134°F (56.7°C) observed at Furnace Creek (Greenland Ranch), California, on July 10, 1913. Earth’s lowest recorded temperature was -128.6°F (89.2°C) at Vostok Station, Antarctica, on July 21, 1983, according to the World Meteorological Organization. 
      NASA missions have found lots of evidence that Mars was much wetter and warmer, with a thicker atmosphere, billions of years ago. How about now? 
      Side-by-side animated images show how a 2018 global dust storm enveloped the Red Planet. The images were taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS Mars is an average distance of 142 million miles (228 million kilometers) from the Sun. From this distance, it takes about 13 minutes for light to travel from the Sun to Mars.
      The median surface temperature on Mars is -85°F (-65°C). Because the atmosphere is so thin, heat from the Sun easily escapes Mars. Temperatures on the Red Planet range from the 70s°F (20s°C) to -225°F (-153°C). Occasionally, winds on Mars are strong enough to create dust storms that cover much of the planet. After such storms, it can be months before all of the dust settles.
      Two NASA rovers on Mars have weather stations. You can check the daily temps at their locations:
      Mars Weather Report From Perseverance Curiosity Daily Weather Report The ground temperature around the Perseverance rover ranges from about -136°F to 62°F (-93°C to 17°C). The air temperature near the surface ranges from about  -118°F to 8°F (-83°C to -13°C).
      As planets move farther away from the Sun, it really cools down fast! Since gas giants Jupiter and Saturn don’t have a solid surface, temperatures are taken from a level in the atmosphere equal in pressure to sea level on Earth. The same goes for the ice giants Uranus and Neptune.
      NASA’s Juno spacecraft took this image during a flyby of Jupiter. This view highlights Jupiter’s most famous weather phenomenon, the persistent storm known as the Great Red Spot. Citizen scientist Kevin M. Gill created this image using data from the spacecraft’s JunoCam imager. Enhanced image by Kevin M. Gill (CC-BY) based on images provided courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS Jupiter’s stripes and swirls are beautiful, but they are actually cold, windy clouds of ammonia and water, floating in an atmosphere of hydrogen and helium. The planet’s iconic Great Red Spot is a giant storm bigger than Earth that has raged for hundreds of years. The mean temperature on Jupiter is -166°F (-110°C). 
      Jupiter is an average distance of 484 million miles (778 million kilometers) from the Sun. From this distance, it takes sunlight 43 minutes to travel from the Sun to Jupiter. Jupiter has the shortest day in the solar system. One day on Jupiter takes only about 10 hours (the time it takes for Jupiter to rotate or spin around once), and Jupiter makes a complete orbit around the Sun (a year in Jovian time) in about 12 Earth years (4,333 Earth days).
      Jupiter’s equator is tilted with respect to its orbital path around the Sun by just 3 degrees. This means the giant planet spins nearly upright and does not have seasons as extreme as other planets do.
      As we keep moving out into the solar system, we come to Saturn – the sixth planet from the Sun and the second largest planet in our solar system. Saturn orbits the Sun from an average distance of 886 million miles (1.4 billion kilometers). It takes sunlight 80 minutes to travel from the Sun to Saturn.
      This series of images from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft shows the development of the largest storm seen on Saturn since 1990. These true-color and composite near-true-color views chronicle the storm from its start in late 2010 through mid-2011, showing how the distinct head of the storm quickly grew large but eventually became engulfed by the storm’s tail. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute Like fellow gas giant Jupiter, Saturn is a massive ball made mostly of hydrogen and helium and it doesn’t have a true surface. The mean temperature is -220°F (-140°C). 
      In addition to the bone-chilling cold, the winds in the upper atmosphere of Saturn reach 1,600 feet per second (500 meters per second) in the equatorial region. In contrast, the strongest hurricane-force winds on Earth top out at about 360 feet per second (110 meters per second). And the pressure – the same kind you feel when you dive deep underwater – is so powerful it squeezes gas into a liquid.
      This colorful movie made with images from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is the highest-resolution view of the unique six-sided jet stream at Saturn’s north pole known as “the hexagon.” NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Hampton University Saturn’s north pole has an interesting atmospheric feature – a six-sided jet stream. This hexagon-shaped pattern was first noticed in images from the Voyager I spacecraft and was more closely observed by the Cassini spacecraft. Spanning about 20,000 miles (30,000 kilometers) across, the hexagon is a wavy jet stream of 200-mile-per-hour winds (about 322 kilometers per hour) with a massive, rotating storm at the center. There is no weather feature like it anywhere else in the solar system.
      Crane your neck to the side while we go check out the weather on Uranus, the sideways planet.
      This is an image of the planet Uranus taken by the spacecraft Voyager 2 in 1986. NASA/JPL-Caltech The seventh planet from the Sun with the third largest diameter in our solar system, Uranus is very cold and windy. It has a mean temperature of  -320°F (-195°C). Uranus rotates at a nearly 90-degree angle from the plane of its orbit. This unique tilt makes Uranus appear to spin sideways, orbiting the Sun like a rolling ball. And like Saturn, Uranus has rings. The ice giant is surrounded by 13 faint rings and 27 small moons. 
      Now we move on to the last major planet in our solar system – Neptune. What’s the weather like there? Well you would definitely need a windbreaker if you went for a visit. Dark, cold, and whipped by supersonic winds, giant Neptune is the eighth and most distant major planet orbiting our Sun. The mean temperature on Neptune is -330°F (-200°C). 
      And not to be outdone by Jupiter and its Great Red Spot, Neptune has the Great Dark Spot – and Scooter. Yep, Scooter. 
      Voyager 2 photographed these features on Neptune in 1989.  NASA/JPL-Caltech This photograph of Neptune was created from two images taken by NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft in August 1989. It was the first and last time a spacecraft came close to Neptune. The image shows three of the features that Voyager 2 monitored. At the north (top) is the Great Dark Spot, accompanied by bright, white clouds that undergo rapid changes in appearance. To the south of the Great Dark Spot is the bright feature that Voyager scientists nicknamed “Scooter.” Still farther south is the feature called “Dark Spot 2,” which has a bright core. 
      More than 30 times as far from the Sun as Earth, Neptune is not visible to the naked eye. In 2011, Neptune completed its first 165-year orbit of the Sun since its discovery. 
      That wraps up forecasting for the major planets.
      But there is one more place we need to check out. Beyond Neptune is a small world, with a big heart – dwarf planet Pluto.
      New Horizons scientists use enhanced color images to detect differences in the composition and texture of Pluto’s surface. NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI With a mean surface temperature of -375°F (-225°C), Pluto is considered too cold to sustain life. Pluto’s interior is warmer, however, and some think there may be an ocean deep inside.
      From an average distance of 3.7 billion miles (5.9 billion kilometers) away from the Sun, it takes sunlight 5.5 hours to travel to Pluto. If you were to stand on the surface of Pluto at noon, the Sun would be 1/900 the brightness it is here on Earth. There is a moment each day near sunset here on Earth when the light is the same brightness as midday on Pluto.
      So the next time you’re complaining about the weather in your spot here on Earth, think about Pluto and all the worlds in between. 
      Keep Exploring Discover More Topics From NASA
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