Weekly News Round-up 07.02.13

Welcome to this week’s News Round-up! We hope you’ve had a week that’s been as eventful as ours has. I for one am a step closer to having a working spectrometer- I’ll be writing more about that in the coming weeks. We’re busy getting samples in the lab analysed in time for LPSC, in March.

Curiosity Digs Deep

Six months into service Curiosity is still finding new things to do- this time it’s implementing the drill/hammer mechanism it holds to drill 5 cm into a rock and extract a powdered sample for further analysis in the on board lab it’s carrying. This will be a change to the so far attempted uses of this tool, using it as a drill rather than just as a hammer. Read about it here: Curiosity Mars rover spins its rock drill


Close To Home

Recent analysis of a ‘red dwarf’ star cluster has shed light on a number of stars that are planet bearing. Knowing what we do now about the occurrence rate of habitable planets, perhaps the closest earth-like planet to us could be a lot closer than originally predicted! Read more about it in: Exoplanets near red dwarfs suggest another Earth nearer

Making Sense Of Space Weather

On the 5th of February, ESA’s XMM-Newton observatory announced it had completed a study of the solar wind from a star much larger than our own. These giant stars are a rare occurrence but this fine detail study has produced some fascinating results. Read more about their findings here: Massive stellar winds are made of tiny pieces 


A Close Shave

While posting about this flyby seems somewhat preemptive, we don’t want anyone to miss out on this great stargazing experience. The asteroid 2012 DA14 should be visible using a telescope or a good pair of binoculars. It is due be at its closest shortly before 18:00 GMT, at an expected distance of 27,700 km from the Earth, a distance closer than geosynchronous satellites (Which orbit at a distance of 35,800 km from Earth). Read more about the flyby here: Asteroid 2012 DA14 – Earth Flyby Reality Check


Something Completely Different

For something a little different this week, I thought I’d direct you towards this outstanding image. A composite view of a galaxy designated M106. I’ve never seen such a fine detailed and accurate image of a galaxy before. Hope you enjoy it and if you follow the link you can learn about how the image came into existence:



About Mark Nottingham

Mark is a PhD student in the Isotope Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry group at UoM. Primarily working on the RIMSKI and RELAX noble gas instruments.
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