Top Science Stories This Week

Posted: Mar 12 2017, 6:38am CDT | by , Updated: Mar 12 2017, 6:45am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 

Top Science Stories This Week
Saturn's moon Pan Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
 

NASA Finds Missing Indian Spacecraft Orbiting Around Moon

NASA has found an Indian spacecraft that disappeared eight years ago.

The spacecraft, named Chandrayaan-1, was launched in October 22, 2008. It lost communication with ground stations in August 2009, making researchers believe that the spacecraft crashed into the moon. Using powerful radar system, NASA has now detected the long-lost spacecraft. The spacecraft roughly half the size of a Smart car was orbiting the moon 124 miles above the surface. 

Sending Chandrayaan-1 into space was a major achievement by Indian space agency. The mission was intended to explore moon using countries’ own technology and scientific instruments. The spacecraft was expected to conduct scientific experiments on lunar surface for two years but it experienced technical problems shortly after its arrival on moon.

Study Says Potatoes can Grow on Mars

Growing potatoes on Mars might actually be possible. A series of experiments that was attempting to grow potatoes on Mars-like conditions has reported positive preliminary results.

Peru-based International Potato Centre (CIP) cultivated different varieties of potatoes in extreme conditions inside the labs. To replicate Mars atmospheric conditions in labs, researchers used soil from Peru's Pampas de La Joya desert, which is reportedly nearly identical to that found on the Red Planet. These experiments could enable humans to farm ancient crop on Martian surface and help them survive in harsh conditions without needing supplies from Earth.

Fault System in California Could Unleash Magnitude 7.4 Earthquake

A fault system in Southern California could produce up to magnitude 7.3 earthquake in the region. Researchers analyzed the faults of Newport-Inglewood and Rose Canyon - previously thought to be separate but they found that this fault system is actually a continuous one that runs underwater from San Diego Bay to land through the Los Angeles basin.

The fault poses a significant hazard to the area of Southern California, which is overdue for a major earthquake. Even if there is a magnitude 5 or 6 earthquake, it can still have a devastating impact on those areas of California which are densely populated.

Saturn’s Moon Pan Looks Like Cosmic Ravioli 

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has just beamed back some of most spectacular close-up images of Saturn’s small moon Pan and they reveal that the moon looks like a floating ravioli lost in space or may be a walnut.

Pan is the second innermost moon of the Saturn and has not been closely observed before. Unlike most other moons in solar system, Pan is not perfectly round. In fact, it has a very unique appearance that is not seen anywhere else in the known universe. The latest images of Pan are the closest ever taken by any spacecraft.

NASA Completes Another Parachute Test for Orion Spacecraft

NASA has successfully tested the parachute system for Orion spacecraft at the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona Wednesday on March 8.That was the second in a series of eight that will continue for about two and a half year. 

NASA has been conducting a vigorous parachute test program for a while and all these tests will build an understanding of the parachutes' technical performance and their deployment on Orion spacecraft for future deep-space missions. 

Orion will carry astronauts deeper into space than ever before, so, it will need a safe reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere and a smooth touchdown in the end. Orion’s first manned mission is currently targeted for as early as 2021.

 

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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