Planets

The most promising exoplanet found with the Kepler Space Telescope with their size proportional to that of the Earth (Image NASA)

At the 225th meeting of the American Astronomical Society there was the announce of the identification of the 1000th exoplanet verified using observations of the Kepler space telescope. That’s become a routine but the interesting thing is that among the verified planets there are eight that have a size less than twice the Earth and are in the habitable zone of their star.

ESA has declared the end of the Venus Express space probe’s mission. As of November 28, 2014, communications have become unstable and the mission control center lost control of the spacecraft. It was known that it was almost out of fuel but ESA hoped that there was still some increase the altitude of Venus Express to allow it to extend its mission for some more days. Now it’s expected to fall in the atmosphere of the planet Venus, where it will be destroyed by its enormous pressure and its high temperatures corrosive compounds.

An evenly layered rock photographed by the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on the Mars Rover Curiosity shows a pattern typical of a lake-floor sedimentary deposit (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

Yesterday NASA presented the analyzes of the data collected by the Mars Rover Curiosity in Gale Crater. They indicate that in ancient times it was a lake and that Mount Sharp is the result of progressive sediment deposits in the lake bed in the course of tens of millions of years. This could have happened only if Mars maintained a thick atmosphere with certain levels of temperature and humidity for longer than scientists thought.

A few hours ago the NASA’s space probe New Horizons has sent the first radio signals after being awakened from a hibernation phase. Receiving the diagnostic procedure transmission that followed allowed to confirm that the systems are now fully active and New Horizons is ready to fulfill its primary mission to study Pluto and its moons. The probe will pass within 10,000 kilometers from the dwarf planet in July 2015.