Moon spinning ‘on different axis’, Space Station cargo launch and new Ceres’ bright spots images

_88920612_pressreleasefigure_2Moon used to spin ‘on different axis’

Using data collected by Nasa’s Lunar Prospector mission in the late 1990s, scientists spotted two hydrogen-rich regions near the Moon’s poles, probably indicating the presence of water ice.

The icy patches are opposite each other – the line between them passes through the middle of the Moon – so it appears that this used to be its spin axis.The work appears in the journal Nature. It describes a gradual wobble, or “true polar wander”, adding up to about a six-degree shift altogether.

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Space Station cargo launches by light of nearly full moon

Fresh supplies shipped out late Tuesday for the International Space Station, where the shelves finally are getting full after a string of failed deliveries.

Launching beneath the light of a nearly full moon, the unmanned Atlas V rocket provided late-night sparkle as it headed north with its precious cargo and paralleled the East Coast on its way to orbit.

Orbital ATK’s Cygnus capsule holds nearly 8,000 pounds of food, equipment and scientific research for NASA, including a commercial-quality 3-D printer anyone can rent and experimental robotic grippers modeled after the thousands of sticky hairs on geckos’ feet.

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New NASA images shed light on Ceres’ bright spots

occatorcrater.jpg__800x600_q85_cropFor months, scientists have been puzzled by mysterious bright spots dotting the surface of Ceres, a dwarf planet drifting in the asteroid belt. Now, new images snapped by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft show the most detailed view yet of the largest of these odd features, Occator Crater.

In a presentation at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference yesterday, NASA scientists showed off the images taken just 240 feet above Ceres’ surface that highlight several different kinds of landforms that make up the bright spot, including a shiny dome covered by cracks in the center of a smooth pit, Loren Grush reports for The Verge.

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