Space Science Highlights
Comet 45P – A case of nature vs. nurture
Comet 45P retains its primitive character despite intense heating and erosion
Rocket Investigation of Current Closure in the Ionosphere (RICCI): A novel application of CubeSats from a sounding rocket platform
The RICCI mission concept uses the novel deployment of multiple CubeSats as miniature ?sub-payloads to obtain the first direct in-situ measurement of ionospheric closure currents.
Cosmic-ray Irradiation Experiments with Iron Meteorites
Psyche Gamma-Ray and Neutron Spectrometer measurements of cosmic-ray activation products are a new technique for deriving surface composition from orbit.
Defining Expected Science Value from Missions
Probabilistic science value metrics defined using information theory and operations research enable the quantification of potential “science value” of potential spacecraft missions.
The influence of collisions on ion dynamics in the inner comae of four comets
Collisions between ions and neutrals in the inner coma of a comet reduce the ion velocity and result in chemistry that changes the composition of the ions
Empirical Modeling of Extreme Space Weather Events: Storm-Time Geomagnetic Field, Electric Current, and Plasma Pressure
Application of modern data-mining and machine-learning techniques to the largest spaceborne magnetometer database enables reconstruction of the magnetic field, current and plasma pressure distributio
Floor-fractured craters on Ceres: Cryovolcanism or Solid State Flow?
New models suggest that some of Ceres' fractures on crater floors may have formed due to solid state flow of a low-viscosity, low-density material.
Is there a Europa neutral torus?
Yes, Europa is producing a neutral torus
Recent innovations at the JHUAPL Planetary Impact Lab
The JHU/APL Planetary Impact Lab developed an 3D-printed sabot for use in high-velocity gun experiments, an innovation that provides significant mass and cost savings compared to sabots manufactured u
Low Energy Precipitating Electrons in the Diffuse Aurorae
High fluxes of low energy electrons observed by the DMSP can be attributed to the secondary electrons that bounce between the conjugate points in the ionosphere.
Areas With Unusual Ultraviolet SignaturesDiscovered on the Moon
Investigation of anomalous FUV regions may help in the understanding of lunar surface processes, including the formation of lunar swirls.
3D Reconstruction of Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) and Their Shocks
Multi-viewpoint coronal imaging allows the extraction of the 3D properties of CMEs and shocks and the assessment of their potential for Space Weather.
Mars: Composition Beneath the Dust
Composition of the youngest rocks are comparable to intermediate-aged volcanic terrain. The mostancient volcanic material is compositionally distinct, suggesting early igneous evolution of the crust.
Measuring Earth radiation with the RAVAN CubeSat
RAVAN demonstrates new technologies that enable future Earth radiation budget (ERB) measurements and establishes a benchmark for an ERB small satellite constellation.
Storm-Driven Rebuilding and Intensification of Earth's Radiation Belt
Geomagnetic storms can act as a "reset" button for the outer radiation belt. At storm onset, the existing outer belt is largely annihilated and a new, more intense belt is rebuilt. New APL-built mode
Bennu asteroid map
OSIRIS-REx explores why asteroid Bennu doesn't break apart?
What is the Origin of Daytime Auroral Pulsations?
Daytime Pc3 auroral pulsations are directly linked to upstream-generated compressional Pc3 waves and their modulations of chorus waves and keV electrons in the outer magnetosphere
Small Body Mapping Tool
Make your own asteroid maps!
Mercury: The view after MESSENGER
Compendium of Science from MESSENGER Just Published!
How many near-Earth asteroids have water in their minerals?
Water on asteroids is more accessible than water on the moon.
Recurrent Formation of a Dawnside Electric Current System During Geomagnetic Storms
An intense auroral current system forms recurrently on the dawn side during major geomagnetic storms causing large magnetic disturbances at midlatitudes.
The First Multi-Viewpoint Catalog of Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) Properties
The first-ever ‘stereoscopic’ catalog of CME properties (based on simultaneous 2 viewpoint observations from the STEREO mission).
The Dynamics of Crater Ejecta Emplacement
Crater ejecta slides violently away from the crater after landing, eroding and shearing the surface and subsurface to significant depths.
High-Energy Particle Transport and Acceleration at Earth
Magnetic trapping enables transport and energization of energetic ions and relativistic electrons deep into the near-Earth space
The case for seasonal surface changes at Titan's lake district
Titan’s north polar lakes experience seasonal shoreline change.
Sources of Plasma at Saturn
Two important processes contribute to solar wind particle entry into the magnetosphere of Saturn
The curious case of a missing meteoritic signature
Two impact craters in Canada formed in nearly identical targets have starkly different meteoritic signatures.
Improved Lunar Prospector Neutron Spectrometer Map
Reconstruction of Lunar Prospector thermal neutron data reveal 100 km sized regions of nearly pure anorthosite in basins on the lunar farside.
What can Apollo soil samples tell us about the Moon’s environment?
The physical, chemical, and spectral properties of lunar agglutinates hold clues about the space weathering processes that formed them.
Modeling impact outcomes for the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Mission
Material porosity and internal structure can significantly affect crater shape, ejecta field, and momentum enhancement from a kinetic impactor.
Wind-sculpted Landscape on Olympus Mons, Mars
The Olympus Maculae reveal multiple episodes of wind-driven deposition and erosion, suggesting fluctuating atmospheric conditions in the Late Amazonian.
Antarctica Balloon Flight Tests New Science Instruments
High-altitude balloon flights provide a cost-effective means to test planetary gamma-ray and neutron spectrometers in a space-like radiation environment.
A proxy for solar wind conditions near Mars
The proxy we derive for magnetic field direction upstream of Mars will be useful when MAVEN’s orbit gets lowered such that it goes into the solar wind less often.
Projectile preservation during oblique impacts
Oblique impacts significantly enhance projectile preservation. The results suggest a new strategy for sample return missions that rely on impact capture. Moreover, our findings imply that M-type aster
Red sand, Blue sand
The color of sand on Mars’ dunes depends on grain size, composition, and oxidation state.
The delivery of water by impacts
Water delivered by impactors can be trapped in significant quantities within impact glasses and melt-bearing breccias, thereby contributing to the early accretion of water during planet formation.
Methane Rain Clouds at Titan
Titan's weather patterns suggest liquid methane reservoirs below the surface near Titan's poles.
Atmospheric drag is eroding Saturn’s inner ring
More than ten tons of molecules and small neutral particles every second are flowing into Saturn from its rings because of the interaction between Saturn’s atmosphere and the rings.
How did Mercury get its ice?
The Hokusai impact could be the source of Mercury’s water ice.
Investigating the Ages of Mercury’s Explosive Volcanic Deposits
Explosive volcanism on Mercury extended into Recent Geologic History, well after the presumed cessation of volcanic activity early in Mercury’s history.
Asteroid shapes from disruption and reaccumulation
Energetic disruption and reaccumulation produces top-shaped asteroids. More elongated asteroids like Eros and Itokawa form less commonly.
MESSENGER Advanced Products (MEAPs)
The MESSENGER Advanced Product (MEAP) project enhances the utility of MESSENGER data from the planet Mercury to the planetary science community.
Identifying buried, compositionally-distinct materials on Mars using gamma-ray measurements
Gamma-ray measurements can reveal the presence of compositionally-distinct deposits buried several 10s of cm below Mars’ surface.
Prebiotic Molecules Storage in Comets
The remarkable chemical diversity of comets reflects the range of conditions in the early Solar System
The APL Planetary Impact Lab
The APL Planetary Impact Lab (PIL) includes a Vertical Gun Range and Ejecta Catapult that enable state-of-the-art studies of impact cratering processes.
Mapping Ice at Mercury’s South Pole
The uneven distribution of Mercury’s ice supports a comet impact origin
An exogenic origin for Iapetus’ ridge
A collapsing disk of debris could build topography to create a ridge around Iapetus
Impact Melting on Vesta at the Rheasilvia Antipode
Giant impact melting may have prolonged igneous activity on protoplanets
Effect of Re-impacting Debris on the Solidification of the Lunar Magma Ocean
Debris generated after the Moon-forming impact would have re-impacted the Moon, introducing additional heat transfer mechanisms to the conventional conductive-lid scenario.
Mercury’s Dark Secret
Low Reflectance Material on Mercury is enriched in carbon, and is native to Mercury.
Evidence for volatiles on the surface of 433 Eros and 1036 Ganymed
We have detected hydrated minerals on the two largest near-Earth asteroids, expected to be anhydrous. They likely are delivered by external sources such as solar wind or dust.
A Fresh Look at Older Mars Odyssey Neutron Spectrometer Data Yields a Surprise at the Equator
An improved-resolution map of the MONS epithermal neutron data was created and reveals substantial, unexpected H deposits near the equator.
Mars: Destroyer of Sand Dunes
Mars’ current climate may be eroding away the most upwind sand dunes