Haulani Crater

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Here is an enhanced-color version of Haulani Crater on the dwarf planet Ceres.  The image was made with data from the Dawn spacecraft.  The altitude was 1,470 km / 915 miles at the time and for scale Haulani crater is 34 km / 21 miles in diameter.

Enhanced color views allows scientists to gain insight into materials and how they relate to surface morphology. Rays of bluish ejected material are prominent in this image. The color blue in such views has been associated with young features on Ceres.

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

First Light – ExoMars

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On 14 April the ExoMars switched on the camera and pointed it to the sky.

The first image taken by the Trace Gas Orbiter of the ESA–Roscosmos ExoMars 2016 mission.

The image was taken by the Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System, CaSSIS, and points to a randomly selected portion of the sky close to the southern celestial pole.

The picture shows the result of taking one CaSSIS frame, turning the camera’s rotation mechanism, and then taking another. By subtracting the two frames, a series of bright and dark spots are seen, all equally offset from each other, demonstrating that these are positive and negative images of the same stars.

The field-of-view is 0.2º in the horizontal direction, and is a subset of a larger image, extracted for this purpose to show the stars at a reasonable size.

In operation at Mars, about 400 km above the planet, CaSSIS will sweep out a swath as TGO approaches it, then turn the rotation mechanism by 180º and image the same swath as it recedes. By doing so, CaSSIS will make stereo images of the surface.

If you’re wondering about the black spots: The picture shows the result of taking one CaSSIS frame, turning the camera’s rotation mechanism, and then taking another. By subtracting the two frames, a series of bright and dark spots are seen, all equally offset from each other, demonstrating that these are positive and negative images of the same stars.

Image and caption: ESA/Roscosmos/CaSSIS

Y-Shaped Discontinuities

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The what-discontinuities?

An excellent image by the Cassini orbiter. The “Y-shaped discontinuity” is just amazing — see below. Click the image and take a minute or two to admire the surface detail.  BTW –  I found and fixed a few image link problems.

From the Cassini team:
A sinuous feature snakes northward from Enceladus’ south pole like a giant tentacle. This feature, which stretches from the terminator near center, toward upper left, is actually tectonic in nature, created by stresses in Enceladus’ icy shell.

Geologists call features like these on Enceladus (313 miles or 504 kilometers across) “Y-shaped discontinuities.” These are thought to arise when surface material attempts to push northward, compressing or displacing existing ice along the way. Such features are also believed to be relatively young based on their lack of impact craters — a reminder of how surprisingly geologically active Enceladus is.

This view looks towards the trailing hemisphere of Enceladus. North is up. The image was taken in visible green light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Feb. 15, 2016.

The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 60,000 miles (100,000 kilometers) from Enceladus. Image scale is 1,900 feet (580 meters) per pixel.

The Heart of the Milky Way

Milky Way Nuclear Star Cluster
Source: Hubblesite.org

Hubble looks into the heart of the Milky Way.

From Hubblesite:
Hubble’s infrared vision pierced the dusty heart of our Milky Way galaxy to reveal more than half a million stars at its core. Except for a few blue, foreground stars, the stars are part of the Milky Way’s nuclear star cluster, the most massive and densest stellar cluster in our galaxy. Located 27,000 light-years away, this region is so packed with stars, it is equivalent to having a million suns crammed into the volume of space between us and our closest stellar neighbor, Alpha Centauri, 4.3 light-years away. At the very hub of our galaxy, this star cluster surrounds the Milky Way’s central supermassive black hole, which is about 4 million times the mass of our sun.

Curious Wheels

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Curiosity took this image on 16 April 2016, Sol 1313 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 08:18:49 UTC.

We’ve been keeping an eye on the wheels for a couple of years now due to the wear they show. The MSL mission team is also keeping watch and planning some of the drives with potential for further damage in mind. It looks like their efforts are working because the damage doesn’t look any worse than it was at least from what we see here.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

ANSMET

Samples recovered from recent seasons include rare and scientifically valuable pieces of Mars and Moon, as well as rocks formed very early during the formation and evolution of the solar system that hold clues to the origin of volatiles, planets and the organic compounds essential to life.

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