The Daily Dose: The dynamic nature of Pluto’s dark side continues to astound astronomers

Any illusion that science, society, and religion exist in different spheres continues to take a beating at the hands of SARS-CoV-2. The image of a handful of socially distanced pilgrims in Mecca tells you everything you need to know. Now, with the end of the Hajj coming, another blow was struck by the coronavirus. Per the Associated Press, “The last days of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia coincide with the four-day Eid al-Adha, or “Feast of Sacrifice,’ in which Muslims slaughter livestock and distribute the meat to the poor… The pandemic has pushed millions of people around the world closer to the brink of poverty, making it harder for many to fulfill the religious tradition of purchasing livestock.” We wonder how much pain it would take to make a COVID-19 vaccine appealing to everyone? https://bit.ly/2DkGcVq

NASA joined the parade to Mars yesterday. They launched their most ambitious rover, Perseverance, as well as the first Martian drone. The take-off went without a hitch. So far so good, it seems. According to NASA, “The team controlling NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover has received telemetry (detailed spacecraft data) down from the spacecraft and has also been able to send commands up to the spacecraft, according to Matt Wallace, the mission’s deputy project manager. The team, based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, has confirmed that the spacecraft is healthy and on its way to Mars.” China and the United Arab Emirates launched their own missions to Mars during the past couple of weeks. https://go.nasa.gov/31bUHmW

Forget about the Darkside of the Moon. It’s all about Pluto now. The more researchers dig into the data collected during satellite fly-by’s, the more they learn that the dwarf planet is much more dynamic than believed in the past. In particular, the presence of vast amounts of water is one example. “The idea of a subsurface ocean has existed for some time, but the far-side images have helped to bolster this idea. Some of the strongest evidence comes from a feature known as chaotic terrain — a muddled mess of ridges, cracks and plains on the exact opposite side of Pluto from Sputnik Planitia (see ‘Coming into focus’).” Maybe Pluto will become a stopover planet during future manned intergalactic travel? https://go.nature.com/33jzN85

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons

Sign up for Scientific Inquirer’s Steady State Newsletter for the week’s top stories, exclusive interviews, and weekly giveaways. Plenty of value added but without the tax.  http://bit.ly/2VEF06u

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: