The Downlink: Europe Funds Planetary Defense Mission and Mars Sample Return
ESA – Science Office
Hera scans DART's impact crater
This artist's rendering shows ESA's Hera spacecraft over the moon of asteroid Didymos, examining the impact crater caused by NASA's DART spacecraft. DART will intentionally crash into Didymos' moon in 2022 to test an asteroid deflection technique.
Welcome to issue 9 of The Downlink, a planetary exploration news roundup from The Planetary Society! Here's everything that crossed our radar this week.
Data collected by Mars orbiters during the planet-wide dust storm that doomed NASA's Opportunity rover last year sheds new light on a phenomenon known as "dust towers." Dust towers are concentrated columns of dust that rise due to heating from sunlight. They carry water vapor high into the atmosphere, where it can be broken apart by the Sun's ultraviolet radiation. Dust towers may have contributed to the loss of Mars' surface water.