Sentinel-3A launch, search for Mars life and asteroid murder mystery

Sentinel-3A-Breeze-and-Rockot-ESA-879x485.jpgEurope’s Sentinel-3A Earth observation satellite successfully launched

Europe’s Sentinel-3A Earth observation satellite on Feb. 16 was successfully placed into low Earth orbit aboard a German-Russian Rockot launch vehicle operating from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia.

The launch is the latest milestone in Europe’s multibillion-euro Copernicus environment-monitoring network, which features a half-dozen satellite families, several of which have been ordered in batches to assure an uninterrupted data flow for a decade or more.

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Follow the salt: search for Mars life may focus on driest regions

If life ever existed on Mars, its last outposts near the Red Planet’s surface might have been in very salty environments, new research shows. This premise might help guide where future rovers land to look for signs of past or present Mars life, scientists say.

The idea that Mars may have once hosted life is rooted in plentiful evidence suggesting that rivers, lakes and seas covered the Red Planet billions of years ago. Because there is life virtually everywhere there is liquid water on Earth, some researchers have suggested that life might have evolved on Mars when it was wet, and that life could perhaps survive on the planet even now.

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Asteroid murder mystery solved

disintergrating-asteroid-mysteryNear-Earth asteroids generally die a lingering death in the depths of space rather than plunging into the sun as previously thought, a new study suggests.

Researchers studied the properties of nearly 9,000 near-Earth objects (NEOs) — asteroids and other bodies that come within 1.3 Earth-sun distances of our planet — to build a model of the overall NEO population.

This model seemed to have a problem, however: It predicted that astronomers should be seeing 10 times more NEOs that closely approach the sun — come within 9 million miles (15 million kilometers) or so of the star — than they actually observe.

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Job opening for an Aerospace Engineer- 6DOF Simulations, Leidos (USA). The Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group (SRG) of Leidos has a career opportunity for an Engineer to create, modify and implement 6DOF Simulations. More information

Build up your space experience by participating in the Project MESDT (for US citizens only). Some of the tasks student groups would be responsible for: work during mission operations, analyzing real Mars mission data; be responsible for specific exploration topics (i.e. polar caps, high latitudes, volcanic regions, MSL landing site locations, Phoenix lander location, etc.); retrieve current information from datasets (THEMIS, MRO, MER, etc.) More information



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