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Pictures of the week in space: The salt of the moon of Jupiter



Europa, a moon in the orbit of Jupiter, is one of the most interesting places in the solar system. Beneath its thick ice crust, the moon has an oceanic layer that contains more water than the Earth, making it a great place to search for life beyond our planet. These two global photos of Europa show large areas that appear in yellow, a coloring caused by sodium chloride, better known as table salt. The results, based on the spectral analysis in visible light of the Hubble Space Telescope, show that large areas of the surface are also covered with ordinary salt. We know that the ocean of this moon contains some sort of chemical salt, but the fact that it is salt in our own seas increases the intriguing potential of life there too.

These are the golden years for the NGC 7773. Hubble has captured this spiral down to the last detail, and you can see a phenomenon that tends to occur in ancient galaxies: the star bar at middle. Astronomers believe that this feature, which differentiates spirals from barred spirals, will materialize later in the life of a galaxy, as star matter gravitates toward the center of the star, gas, dust and black matter.

Research Dr. Bruce Banner: NASA's Fermi Gamma Ray telescope has already detected its higher energy gamma rays. The green dots on this colorful map of the sky indicate where the Fermi instrument has detected these bursts of radiation. (The galactic planes of our Milky Way follow the center.) Scientists are still trying to better understand these gamma rays, which occur only through the most violent events, such as when a massive star turns into a supernova. when two neutron stars collide and create a black hole.

NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy is studying the huge black hole at the center of our Milky Way in the infrared. This image shows the black hole with magnetic field lines; as the surrounding matter is sucked in, the dust and gas particles heat up and run through these lines emitting infrared light. By studying these magnetic field lines, astronomers can better understand the interactions between matter and black holes. They do not fear that our world is devoured, because the Milky Way's black hole is not as active as those in the center of most other galaxies. And why? Another good question for researchers and for SOFIA.

If you have already invested money in claw machines in an arcade game room, you will understand how difficult it is to take a stuffed toy into the glass container. Now, imagine manipulating the claw of another planet to millions of kilometers. For NASA's InSight, such feats are an artist's game: in February, the lander put his instruments on the Martian surface. Here we see the claw grabbing the heat flux probe, which will take the internal temperature of the red planet.

The face of Mars is long: these elements of the region of Cerunius Fossae are defects known as graben. These are created when the crust of the planet stretches and separates, allowing the material to flow along the rift. You could even say, to the chagrin of everyone except the exogeologists, that the land on Mars is graben.


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