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11 months 3 weeks ago

On October 21st, 2020, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft succeeded in touching asteroid Bennu to collect samples from the surface. Launched in September 2016 and in orbit since December 2018, it was doing a detailed survey of the surface to map and select the best sample collection site. OSIRIS-REx will deliver the samples to Earth in September 2023.

1 year 1 day ago

How to measure and visualize in 3D the composition and structure of a micrometric extraterrestrial grain without destroying it? Researchers from the "Astrochemistry and Origin" team of the IAS and from the SOLEIL synchrotron, in collaboration with two Japanese laboratories, have shown that this is possible. Coupling IR and X-ray micro-tomography the scientist analyzed samples from the asteroid Itokawa, collected by the Hayabusa probe (JAXA).

1 year 3 months ago

Frozen surfaces of small bodies in the outer Solar System are exposed to cosmic and solar energetic ions. Thanks to laboratory experiments, scientists from the “Astrochemistry and Origins” team at IAS and the Florida Space Institute (USA) estimated the alterations induced by ion irradiation on the methanol-rich surfaces of such objects.

1 year 3 months ago

The Planck collaboration has just published its last series of articles, for a total of 164. These papers have been cited more than 90,000 times, which demonstrates the long lasting influence of this experiment for cosmology, including the study of the mass of neutrinos, the density of dark matter, the characteristics of primordial fluctuations, the formation and evolution of galaxies and clusters or even the magnetic field of the Milky Way.

1 year 3 months ago

The first images from ESA’s new Sun-observing spacecraft Solar Orbiter have just been released. Solar Orbiter, launched on 10 February, completed its commissioning phase in mid-June and performed its first close approach to the Sun. Shortly thereafter, the European and US science teams behind the mission’s 10 instruments were able to test the entire instrument suite in concert for the first time.

 

1 year 3 months ago

Despite the drastic constraints driven by the sanitary limitations to technical activities at IAS, and the travel ban to Japan, the MicrOmega team at IAS managed to thoroughly develop, test, and calibrate the MicrOmega instrument, and to deliver it to the curation facility of the Hayabusa2 at ISAS, the Japanese Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, on Friday July 3, 2020, after its performances had been demonstrated as excellent.

1 year 4 months ago

Although there are evidences of relationships between the most primitive bodies of the solar system and differentiated planetary bodies with a metallic core, no sample has been found up to now that bears information on the onset of planetary differentiation. Researchers have recently described a volcanic rock produced by extremely limited partial melting of a parent body chemically similar to the most primitive meteorites (carbonaceous chondrites) and crystallized upon ascent toward the surface of the body. This sample proves that some carbonaceous bodies from the outer solar system are partially differentiated and is the missing link in a continuum between comets and iron meteorites from metallic planetary cores.

1 year 6 months ago

One and a half year after its launch in October 2018, the BepiColombo spacecraft has performed an Earth flyby on April 10, 2020, so as to reach Venus on its way to an orbital insertion around Mercury end of 2025. BepiColombo is the first European mission using ionic propulsion, which makes it possible to implement major changes in the trajectory with a limited impact on the mass budget.

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