PLANETARY MISSION UPDATES
|Spirit Finds Silica
Near the plateau "Home Plate", the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit uncovered a curious patch of bright-toned soil. Further examination revealed the soil to be extremely rich in silica. This concentration of silica may have been deposited by steam from a volcanic vent or water from a hot spring.
Image courtesy of NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Cornell
The Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) aboard the New Horizons spacecraft captured these images of Jupiter's moon Io on February 28, 2007.
The image on the top shows the side of Io facing Jupiter. The moon's day and night sides are both visible. Near the north pole, a 290-kilometer (180-mile) high plume erupts from the volcano Tvashtar. Two smaller plumes from the volcanoes Prometheus and Masubi can also be seen.
The other image reveals the side of Io facing away from Jupiter. This side receives less illumination. The high arcing plume of Tvashtar is still visible, along with a slight glow from Masubi. Bright spots on Io's night side indicate the presence of lava.
Images courtesy of NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's high-resolution imager HiRISE captured this image of barchan sand dunes on the floor of a large impact crater named Herschel.
Roughly crescent shaped, barchan dunes are formed by winds that blow mostly in one direction. The "horns" of the dunes point downwind, indicating the dominant wind direction of an area. In Herschel crater, the winds blow from north to south.
Image courtesy of NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory/University of Arizona
|Saturn From Above
The Cassini spacecraft captured this amazing view of Saturn from above on January 19, 2007. A strip of hazy twilight separates the day and night sides of the planet.
Image courtesy of NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Space Science Institute
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