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Six-Wavelength Spectroscopy Can Offer New Details of Surface of Venus
This image of Venus is a composite of data from NASA's Magellan spacecraft and Pioneer Venus Orbiter. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

A trio of papers provide new insight into the composition and evolution of the surface of Venus, hidden beneath its caustic, high temperature atmosphere. Utilizing imaging from orbit using multiple wavelengths—six-band spectroscopy proposed as part of the VERITAS and EnVision missions—scientists can map the iron content of the Venusian surface and construct the first-ever geologic map.

"Previous missions have only imaged one wavelength, and used 30-year-old topographic data to correct the spectra. Moreover, they were based on theoretical ideas about what Venus spectra look like, at very high temperatures. So the prior data have all been fairly qualitative," said M. Darby Dyar, a Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute and author on three recent papers on the topic.

These papers are based on new data from the Planetary Spectroscopy Laboratory at German Aerospace Center Institute of Planetary Research in Berlin, where Dyar works with a team including Jörn Helbert, first author of "Deriving iron contents from past and future Venus spectra with new high-temperature laboratory emissivity data" that appears today in Science Advances.

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The U.S. Capitol is seen in this Maxar Technologies satellite image the day after a pro-Trump mob breached the building Jan. 6 to disrupt the formal certification of President Trump’s election loss.
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WASHINGTON —  National Security Technology Accelerator (NSTXL) on Jan. 15 received a contract to manage the U.S. Space Force’s Space Enterprise Consortium for the next 10 years. 

The Space and Missile Systems Center intended to award the contract Dec.

Week in images: 11 - 15 January 2021

Thursday, 14 January 2021 14:20
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The heavy snowfall that hit Spain a few days ago still lies heavy across much of the country as this Copernicus Sentinel-3 satellite image shows.

Week in images: 11 - 15 January 2021

Discover our week through the lens

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Mars is still an active world—here’s a landslide in Nili Fossae
Landslides in a crater near Nili Fossae on Mars. Credit: NASA/UofA HiRiseteam/MRO

Since the 1960s and '70s, scientists have come to view Mars as something of a "dead planet." As the first close-up images from orbit and the surface came in, previous speculation about canals, water and a Martian civilization were dispelled. Subsequent studies also revealed that the geological activity that created features like the Tharsis Mons region (especially Olympus Mons) and Valles Marineris had ceased long ago.

However, in the past few decades, robotic missions have found ample evidence that Mars is still an active place. A recent indication was an image taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), which showed relatively fresh landslides in a near Nili Fossae. This area is part of the Syrtis Major region and is located just north of the Jezero Crater (where the Perseverance rover will be landing in six weeks).

The landslide was captured as a part of a larger image acquired by the MRO's Context Camera (CTX) on September 21, 2018.

ESA kids app now available

Thursday, 14 January 2021 12:35
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ESA kids app now available

OneWeb raises $400 million

Thursday, 14 January 2021 12:07
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Soyuz launch

WASHINGTON — Broadband satellite company OneWeb announced Jan. 15 it has raised $400 million from SoftBank and Hughes Network Systems, allowing the company to continue deployment of its constellation.

The new round includes $350 million from SoftBank, who was the biggest shareholder in OneWeb before it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 2020.

SLS core stage ready for Green Run test firing

Thursday, 14 January 2021 11:18
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WASHINGTON — NASA officials expressed confidence that a key test of the Space Launch System scheduled for Jan. 16 will go well, keeping open the chances that the vehicle will make its long-delayed debut before the end of the year.

Tanezrouft Basin

Thursday, 14 January 2021 09:00
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The Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission takes us over the Tanezrouft Basin – one of the most desolate parts of the Sahara Desert. Image: The Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission takes us over the Tanezrouft Basin – one of the most desolate parts of the Sahara Desert.

Earth from Space: Tanezrouft

Thursday, 14 January 2021 09:00
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Video: 00:02:50

In this week's edition of the Earth from Space programme, the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission takes us over the Tanezrouft Basin – one of the most desolate parts of the Sahara Desert.

See also Tanezrouft Basin to download the image.

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Greenbelt MD (SPX) Jan 15, 2021
Is our solar system located in a typical Milky Way neighborhood? Scientists have gotten closer to answering this question, thanks to the NASA-funded Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 project, a "citizen science" collaboration between professional scientists and members of the public. Scientists tapped into the worldwide network of 150,000 volunteers using Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 to find new exam
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Bethesda MD (SPX) Jan 15, 2021
Many think the idea of a military crewed space station is new. It is not. The Russian Almaz ("Diamond") was a highly secret Soviet military space station program that began in the early 1960s. In fact, three crewed military reconnaissance stations were launched between 1973 and 1976. These were referred to as Salyut 2, Salyut 3 and Salyut 5. To camouflage their real mission the three stati

Skynet 6A passes Preliminary Design Review

Thursday, 14 January 2021 02:21
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Stevenage UK (SPX) Jan 15, 2021
Airbus has successfully completed the first key phase of the Skynet 6A project with the achievement of the Preliminary Design Review (PDR). The project now has permission to move into the next phase leading to the Critical Design Review (CDR). Airbus was awarded the Skynet 6A contract in July 2020 and teams across its sites in Stevenage, Portsmouth and Hawthorn have been working on the pro
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Cleveland OH (SPX) Jan 15, 2021
NASA is developing capabilities that will allow missions at high altitudes to take advantage of signals from Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) constellations - like GPS commonly used in the U.S. These signals - used on Earth for navigation and critical timing applications - could provide NASA's Artemis missions to the Moon with reliable timing and navigation data. NASA's Space Communicat

China releases 4 new BDS technical standards

Thursday, 14 January 2021 02:21
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Beijing (XNA) Jan 15, 2021
China has newly released four national technical standards for the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), according to the China Satellite Navigation Office. This is a major move forward of China in standardizing and ensuring the development and industrial application of the BDS through drafting national standards, said the office. The four newly-released technical standards are f
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