Space technology Current Affairs - 2019
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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has spotted massive saltwater ocean under the icy crust of Jupiter’s largest moon Ganymede.
Scientists believe that this finding could potentially support life. Hubble Space Telescope’s finding was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics.
The finding was based on the results obtained after analyzing Ganymede’s magnetic field and aurorae created and controlled by it and its interaction with Jupiter’s magnetic field.
Scientists estimate that
- This ocean is 100 kms thick.
- 10 times deeper than Earth’s oceans.
- It is buried under a 150-kilometre crust of mostly ice.
In 1970s, for first time scientists had suggested that ocean is present inside Ganymede based on its models. NASA’s Galileo mission also had provided first evidence of ocean in Ganymede after measuring its magnetic field in 2002.
- Ganymede is the largest moon in our solar system. It is also the only moon with its own magnetic field.
- The magnetic field causes aurorae, which are ribbons of glowing, hot electrified gas, in regions circling the north and south poles of the moon.
NASA’s Dawn space probe has completed its orbit around dwarf planet Ceres which is the largest object in the Solar System between Mars and Jupiter.
With the completion of orbit, Dawn probe has become first spacecraft to visit dwarf planet.
Dawn has taken 7.5 years to reach the orbit of Ceres. Scientists are hoping to glean information from the Ceres which can tell them about the Solar System’s beginnings after its formation four and a half billion ago.
Earlier during its journey from 2011 to 2012, the spacecraft also had explored and surveyed the giant asteroid Vesta. It had delivered new insights and thousands of images from the asteroid.
About Dawn space probe
- Launched– In 2007 by NASA.
- Objective- to study the two massive protoplanets of the asteroid belt: Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres.
- The mission is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
- Probes major components are contributed by NASA’s European partners i.e. from German Aerospace Center, Italian Space Agency and Italian National Astrophysical Institute.
- Dawn space probe is the first NASA exploratory mission to use ion propulsion to enter orbits.