Astrochemistry and Origins

Interstellar Matter and Cosmology

Stellar and Solar Physics

Solar and Planetary Systems

Latest News

1 year 7 months ago

The MICMOC experiment that started in 2003 at IAS and whose goal is to understand the link between astrochemistry and astrobiology, just came across through a major and surprising result: the prebiotic formation of the sugar molecule ribose, a key molecule toward the formation of RNA, the nucleic acid containing the first genetic material of living beings.

1 year 10 months ago

Gullies observed on Mars would be produced by the action of dry ice in winter and spring, not by liquid water flows as thought before. Indeed, recent numerical simulations show that under dry ice heated by the Sun, intense gas motions can destabilize and fluidize the soil, until they create flows similar to those created by a liquid.

1 year 11 months ago

Ongoing flow activity was highlighted a few years ago on Mars by high-resolution cameras. Various flow types have been identified (new channels, dark lineae, bright deposits…) but there is still no consensus about possible formation mechanisms: dry avalanche? liquid water? carbon dioxide ice? A study conducted at the Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale reveals for the first time the composition of winter ice forming in association with flows. Results suggest the coexistence of several current formation mechanisms.

2 years 1 month ago

The stratospheric balloon carrying the PILOT instrument was launched from Timmins in Canada at 9 pm (local time) on Sunday, September 20th. The gondola, weighting more than a ton, the heaviest the CNES took in the last 25 years, was lifted by a stratospheric balloon of 800.000 m3 and reached the altitude of 39.500 m after 3 hours of ascent. After a last transfer of helium carried out just before take-off, the detectors reached nominally their operating temperature of 320 mK when the balloon reached its flight ceiling, and the scientific observations could then start.


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