Planetary


Image Credit: NASA / ISS

Planetary

Excited stargazers with a pair of binoculars were not the only ones to spot the bright comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE last year!
A team of scientists at the Arecibo Observatory, led by postdoctoral researcher Dr. Allison Smith, aimed the massive 305-meter radio telescope at the celestial object with the goal of understanding how much water the comet was shedding as it approached the Sun.
The unique dataset collected at the Arecibo Observatory would be among the final observations made by the iconic radio telescope before it began experiencing cable failures that led to the telescope’s collapse on December 1, 2020.
Comet NEOWISE, named for the near-Earth object (NEO)-hunting NASA Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) space telescope that was used to discover it, originated in the distant parts of our Solar System. Because of its distance from the Sun, it has likely remained relatively unaltered since it formed. + Read More

Planetary

While the recent successful landing of the Perseverance rover furthers robotic exploration of Mars, some scientists are preparing for the next kind of mission to the Red Planet: human exploration. A recent study published in the scientific journal Astrobiology chronicles laboratory analyses of geologic samples collected during the AMADEE-18 mission, a human–robotic Mars expedition simulation in the Dhofar region in the Sultanate of Oman. + Read More

Planetary

Dr. Sean Marshall, an Observatory Scientist at AO, has been leading a biweekly tutorial session for fellow scientists, training them to use the sophisticated computer program called SHAPE to build computational models of asteroids. + Read More

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