EPSC 2021: Exotic Mix in China’s Delivery of Moon Rocks

Panoramic image taken after sampling of the lunar surface by Chang’e-5. The four dark trenches in the lower right corner of this image are where samples were collected. Abundant centimetre-sized boulders exist on the surface around the Chang’e-5 landing site. [Credit: CNSA (China National Space Administration) / CLEP (China Lunar Exploration Program) / GRAS (Ground Research Application System)]

STRASBOURG, France (Europlanet Society PR) — On 16 December 2020 the Chang’e-5 mission, China’s first sample return mission to the Moon, successfully delivered to Earth nearly two kilograms of rocky fragments and dust from our celestial companion.  

Chang’e-5 landed on an area of the Moon not sampled by the NASA Apollo or the Soviet Luna missions nearly 50 years ago, and thus retrieved fragments of the youngest lunar rocks ever brought back for analysis in laboratories on Earth. The rocks are also different to those returned decades ago. Early-stage findings, which use geological mapping to link ‘exotic’ fragments in the collected samples to features near the landing site, have been presented by Mr Yuqi Qian, a PhD student at the China University of Geosciences, at the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2021 virtual meeting.

(more…)

EPSC 2021: Scientists Use Seasons to Find Water for Future Mars Astronauts

Global map of Mars with overlaid topography indicating areas with significant seasonal variations in hydrogen content during northern spring (top) and fall (bottom). Green (red) represents increase (decrease) in hydrogen content. The areas highlighted in orange are Hellas Planitia in the southern hemisphere, and Utopia Rupes in the northern hemisphere. These are the only extended regions undergoing a significant variation throughout the Martian year. (Credit: G. Martínez)

STRASBOURG, France (Europlanet Society PR) — An international team of researchers has used seasonal variations to identify likely sub-surface deposits of water ice in the temperate regions of Mars where it would be easiest for future human explorers to survive. The results are being presented this week by Dr Germán Martínez at the European Planetary Science Conference (EPSC) 2021.

(more…)

EPSC 2021: Cloud Spotting on a Distant Exoplanet

Some of the elements making WASP-127b unique, compared with the planets of our Solar System. (Credits: David Ehrenreich/Université de Genève, Romain Allart/Université de Montréal)

STRASBOURG, France (Europlanet Society PR) — An international team of astronomers has not only detected clouds on the distant exoplanet WASP-127b, but also measured their altitude with unprecedented precision. A presentation by Dr Romain Allart at the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2021 shows how, by combining data from a space- and a ground-based telescope, the team has been able to reveal the upper structure of the planet’s atmosphere. This paves the way for similar studies of many other faraway worlds.

(more…)

EPSC 2021: Life Support Cooked up From Lunar Rocks

Artist impression of a Moon Base concept. (Credit: ESA – P. Carril)

STRASBOURG, France (Europlanet Society PR) — Engineers have successfully shown how water and oxygen can be extracted by cooking up lunar soil, in order to support future Moon bases. A laboratory demonstrator, developed by a consortium of the Politecnico Milano, the European Space Agency, the Italian Space Agency and the OHB Group, is presented this week at the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2021.

(more…)

European Science Foundation Agrees to Host Europlanet Society in Strasbourg

STRASBOURG, France (Europlanet Society PR) — The Europlanet Society was formally established yesterday at an official event in the City Hall of Strasbourg following the announcement made at the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) 2018 in Berlin. The Europlanet Society is a new membership organisation that aims to promote the advancement of planetary science in Europe and builds on the heritage of 15 years of Europlanet projects funded by the European Commission. The Society is open to both corporate and individual members.

(more…)