Welcome to the fourth review of "Space and Astronomy" news, selected for you by Insane Curiosity Channel. The news, which will be weekly, will try to provide a quick overview of everything interesting happened in recent days in the field of astronomical research and space exploration.
1 - Had you ever thought of this? According to a new study, raindrops from other Solar System worlds would be strikingly similar in size and shape to Earth's rain, despite very different chemical compositions and environmental situations.
Rainfall is widespread throughout the Solar System, more so than is commonly believed. Obviously it rains water on Earth, but it rains sulfuric acid on Venus, it snows carbon dioxide on Mars, it rains helium and grains of ammonia on Jupiter, it rains methane on Titan and, potentially, it could rain diamonds on Neptune. It could even rain iron or quartz on some planets if the conditions were right.
2 - And still speaking of meteorology, for a few days the Net had fun commenting on a photo taken by Perseverance, the rover that for more than a month has been wandering among the Martian sands of Jezero crater.
A rainbow on Mars! Possible?
The phenomenon would have been captured last April 4... Too bad, however, that multicolored arc is not a "real" natural rainbow, but the effect of something else ...
Why can't it be a rainbow? The reason is simple: for a rainbow to form, there must be water droplets in the air and the Sun near the horizon.
3 - From Mars, we now take a quick jump to get two thousand light years further ... where, with new processing techniques, NASA's Hubble space telescope has captured the beautiful Veil Nebula in the finest detail ever.
The new image, released by NASA on April 2, was captured using new processing techniques that highlight small details like the nebula's delicate thread and filaments of ionized gas.
Observations were taken by Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 using five different filters. New post-processing methods were used to further enhance emissions from doubly ionized oxygen (seen in the image in blue), ionized hydrogen and ionized nitrogen (seen in red).
4 - What was that story about the always returning to the scene of the crime? On April 7, NASA's Osiris-Rex probe had a final close encounter with the asteroid Bennu. During the flyover, the probe photographed the small 500-meter-diameter asteroid from a distance of 3.7 kilometers.
The Osiris-Rex team decided to add this last flyover, before saying goodbye to the asteroid, after they realized that the surface of Osiris-Rex was significantly disturbed by the October 20, 2020 sample collection event. During the landing, the spacecraft's sampling head actually penetrated half a meter into the ground and simultaneously fired a pressurized charge of nitrogen gas.
5 - If you're wondering what happened to Ingenuity, the small Perseverance helicopter that was supposed to take off on April 8 - don't worry: there was only one small problem. Let's see what, and how NASA is trying to fix it.
A few days after making it through the freezing night of April 3 to 4, in a high-speed rotor spin-up test performed on April 9, the control system shut down the rotor.
Over the weekend the team considered and tested several possible solutions, coming to the conclusion that the best thing to do was to reinstall the flight control software. Which was done on April 12 and 13.
6 - And from Mars, back to Earth! We know very well that our planet, during its annual tour around the Sun, crosses swarms of debris scattered by comets and asteroids, because we often notice and wonder about it while observing shooting stars.
What we may not imagine is that although the typical size of a "shooting star" is a few millimeters and its weight does not exceed one gram, our planet collects every year about 5200 tons of this cosmic debris!
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Credits: Ron Miller
Credits: Mark A. Garlick / MarkGarlick.com
Credits: Nasa/Shutterstock/Storyblocks/Elon Musk/SpaceX/ESA/ESO