Thursday, December 8, 2016

Space Highlights - December 8, 2016

December 8, 2016

A United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, carrying the U.S. Air Force's eighth Wideband Global SATCOM communications satellite.

India launched its Resourcesat-2A aboard its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket, earlier this week.

Arianespace launched Turkey's GokTurk-1 Earth observation satellite into a sun-synchronous orbit, from the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana.

NASA has released the first images from the Cassini spacecraft's first of 20 "ring-grazing" orbits, during which the spacecraft will pass just outside of Saturn's rings.

NASA is investigating why the Curiosity Mars rover failed to properly deploy its rock drill as expected this past week.

NASA is preparing for the next close flyby of Jupiter by the Juno spacecraft, expected to take place this coming week.

A new study, utilizing data from the ESA's Mars Express and from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has compiled additional evidence for a warmer, wetter history on ancient Mars - documenting flood zones and sedimentary rock on the ancient Martian surface.

Researchers have found evidence for a large, underground cache of frozen water beneath the Martian surface, that is estimated to contain as much water as the Earth's Lake Superior.  The researchers utilized radar imagery collected from the Mars Reconnissance Orbiter to document evidence for the frozen, subsurface ice in the Utopia Planitia region.

NASA's Kepler space telescope has identifed an unusually dense, "hot Jupiter" planet.  Located 1800 light years from Earth, the planet is roughly 10-percent smaller than Jupiter, but with 30-percent more mass.  It orbits its Sun-like parent star every 5.8 days.

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