On Earth, auroras, also called northern lights, have always fascinated people. An international consortium involving the University of Bern has now discovered such auroras in the ultraviolet wavelength range at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, Chury for short. This phenomenon was detected thanks to the analysis of data from the European Space Agency ESA's Rosetta mission.
Data from Southwest Research Institute-led instruments aboard ESA's Rosetta spacecraft have helped reveal auroral emissions in the far ultraviolet around a comet for the first time.
Researchers find evidence that asteroid Ryugu was born out of the possible destruction of a larger parent asteroid millions of years ago. Thanks to the Hayabusa2 spacecraft, the international team was able to study certain surface features in detail. Variations in the kinds of boulders scattered on Ryugu tell researchers about the processes involved in its creation. The study of asteroids including Ryugu informs the study of the evolution of life on Earth.
First-ever measurements provide evidence that extremely cold supercooled water exists in two distinct structures that co-exist and vary in proportion dependent on temperature.
SAN ANTONIO -- Sept. 16, 2020 -- A Southwest Research Institute scientist has identified stellar phosphorus as a probable marker in narrowing the search for life in the cosmos. She has developed techniques to identify stars likely to host exoplanets, based on the composition of stars known to have planets, and proposes that upcoming studies target stellar phosphorus to find systems with the greatest probability for hosting life as we know it.
It is generally accepted that the inner region of the early solar system was subject to an intense period of meteoric bombardment referred to as the late heavy bombardment. However, researchers have found evidence that suggests this period occurred slightly earlier than thought and was less intense but also more prolonged. Such details about this period could impact theories about the early Earth and the dawn of life.
While studying asteroid Bennu up close, NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft witnessed periodic outbursts of material being kicked up from the surface. A dedicated observation campaign revealed details of the activity and the processes likely causing it: impacts by small space rocks known as meteoroids and rocks cracking from thermal stress as Bennu's surface heats up when exposed to the sun and cools during nighttime.
NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft observed tiny bits of material jumping off the surface of the asteroid Bennu. A new study tracks where those particles went.
In a special collection of research papers published Sep. 9 in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, the OSIRIS-REx science team reports detailed observations that reveal Bennu is shedding material on a regular basis.
A new study published this month in JGR Planets posits that the major particle ejections off the near-Earth asteroid Bennu may be the consequence of impacts by small, sand-sized particles called meteoroids onto its surface as the object nears the Sun. The study's primary author is Southwest Research Institute scientist Dr. William Bottke, who used data from NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission.