The Downlink: New Earth-size Exoplanet Found, Meteor Shower Seen from ISS
Quadrantids from the ISS
This image captured by astronauts aboard the International Space Station shows meteors streaking through the atmosphere during the January 2020 Quadrantids meteor shower. The composite photograph, composed using multiple camera exposures, also shows the northern lights.
Welcome to The Downlink, a planetary exploration news roundup from The Planetary Society! Here's everything that crossed our radar this week.
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station observed the Quadrantids, an annual January meteor shower. An image shared by Christina Koch on Twitter shows several of the meteors streaking through the atmosphere, with the northern lights in the background.
NASA’s TESS spacecraft found an Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of a star just 100 light years away from our solar system. The host star is fainter than our Sun, but the planet, known as TOI 700 d, orbits much closer to its star than we do to the Sun, making conditions right for liquid water to exist on the surface. The discovery was confirmed by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and Earth-based observations.
The European Space Agency’s Rosalind Franklin Mars rover recently underwent electromagnetic interference testing ahead of its scheduled mid-2020 launch. Whether or not the rover will be able to launch still depends on crucial parachute testing that must be successfully completed. Mars missions can only be launched when Earth and Mars are favorably aligned; a 2-month window opens roughly every 2 years.
Astronauts aboard the ISS are scheduled to conduct 3 spacewalks this month to finish replacing the batteries that store power generated by the station’s solar arrays, and complete repairs on the dark matter-hunting Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. The series of spacewalks started last year.