Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Space Highlights - January 6, 2016

January 6, 2016

NASA is preparing to launch the Jason-3 Ocean obsurvation satellite aboard a SpaceX booster on January 17.  The satellite will detect sea-level variations within an accuracy of up to 1.3 inches (3.3 cm).

India expects to launch its fifth IRNSS-1 navigation satellite on January 20th.  Fuel is currently being loaded into the booster rocket.

NASA has released a panoramic image of the Martian sand dunes at the site of the Curiosity rover.

India has released a rare New Year's image depicting Mars' full disc from its probe, currently in orbit around the red planet.

NASA has released close-up images from Cere's southern hemisphere from the orbiting Dawn spacecraft.

New photos capturing three of Saturn's moons in the same image have been released by NASA, including Enceladus, Rhea, and the tiny moon Atlas - which appears as little more than a speck in the image.

With less than half of the data from its flyby of Pluto downloaded from the New Horizons spacecraft, NASA scientists continue to puzzle over what could have fueled the geologic processes evident on the surface of Pluto.  Existing models suggest that the tidal pull of Pluto's moon, Charon would insufficient to fuel the degree of geologic resurfacing observed.  At least one region, Sputnik Planum, is now believed to have been tied to a massive meteor impact that left the bumpy plains as its basin.

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