Astrochemistry and Origins

Interstellar Matter and Cosmology

Stellar and Solar Physics

Solar and Planetary Systems

Latest News

2 years 9 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.

2 years 10 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.

3 years 4 days 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.

3 years 1 week ago

To reconcile the standard cosmological model with the X-ray measured number of galaxy clusters, a team of French scientists has shown that the cluster masses should be increased by 70% compared to current estimates. These results follow the conclusions obtained by the Planck mission in 2013 from observations of galaxy clusters in the microwave domain. This huge difference is intriguing: either our understanding of the physics of galaxy clusters needs to be revised, or the standard cosmological model is incomplete.

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