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“Blue” sand dunes on Mars stun in NASA photo



(Planet Today) The sand dunes of Mars looked blue in a stunning photo that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) shared on April 8. Captured using a special infrared camera onboard NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter, the breathtaking image covered an area of 19 miles somewhere on the Martian north pole.

(Article by Virgilio Marin republished from

In the image, a sea of windswept sand dunes could be seen stretched out across the Martian surface. But instead of looking at the Red Planet’s trademark orange color, the dunes were tinged with a mix of gold and blue. As it turned out, the thermal image was digitally colored to highlight the wide-ranging temperatures there. Areas tinted in blue represent colder regions while warmer areas were tinted in orange and yellow, NASA said in a statement.

The intricate scene comprised only a small fraction of the entire Martian north pole, which covers an area as wide as Texas, according to NASA. The colorful photo was a composite of several shots taken between December 2002 and November 2004. NASA shared it to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Odyssey in space, which left Earth on April 7, 2001. The probe continues to operate to this day and is the longest-working Mars spacecraft in history.

Among its many accomplishments, Odyssey transmitted more than a million thermal images of Mars back to Earth during its two-decade flight, according to NASA. Data from the orbiter also allowed the space agency to pick the ideal location for landing the Perseverance rover, which reached Mars last February after less than seven months of trekking space.

The Martian poles

As on Earth, the Martian poles are the coldest regions on the Red Planet, with temperatures dropping to minus 220 degrees in winter, according to the National Weather Service. Both the north and south poles are covered with permanent caps made of water ice and dry ice (solid carbon dioxide).

Scientists initially believe that the south pole cap consists only of dry ice. But data from the European Space Agency‘s (ESA) Mars Express, which entered orbit around the planet in 2003, shows that hundreds of square miles of permafrost surround the south pole. Permafrost is water ice mixed into the soil and frozen solid. This is why past observations have failed to detect water ice – the soil does not reflect light easily.

The Martian poles are some of the most visually stunning and mysterious regions on the planet. Satellite images of the south pole frequently feature large spider-like patterns that can extend several thousands of feet. These patterns have baffled scientists since they were discovered two decades ago. Only recently have researchers confirmed that these patterns crop up whenever dry ice gets heated and form cracks.

Last December, a gigantic angelic figure complete with a pair of wings and a halo was spotted at the south pole. The spectacular figure was captured by Mars Express just in time for last year’s Christmas season. It appeared in dark, brooding red – in stark contrast to the light, tan color of the sand around it. According to the ESA, the dark hue was due to the composition of the sand dunes, which are made of minerals also found on Earth, such as pyroxene and olivine.

The south pole’s nether regions are equally fascinating. Last September, an explosive study suggested that four hypersaline lakes might be hiding below the south pole. The biggest of those lakes, which scientists previously claimed to exist, measured around 12 by 18 miles. The rest were much smaller, with dimensions of about six by six miles. Researchers suggested that if the lakes were remnants of the water that was once on the surface, then they might be ideal locations for scouting signs of alien life, both living or dead. has more amazing facts about Mars.

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Alien space debris stuck in Earth’s orbit, researchers say




Recently, a group of experts from Harvard University, led by physics
professor Avi Loeb, announced the possible presence of alien space
debris in Earth’s orbit, reports the Daily Star.

space research expert Professor Loeb is confident that the discovery of
such “interstellar objects could help expand our knowledge of possible
alien civilizations and technologies. A team of scientists is conducting
research to confirm that some of the objects in our orbit may be
connected to other star systems.

During an interview with Live
Science, Professor Loeb explained that these objects could enter the
solar system from interstellar space, defying Jupiter’s gravitational
pull and occupying limited orbits around the sun.

Some of them may
have technological origins similar to the probes sent by mankind into
interstellar space, such as Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, Pioneer 10 and 11
and New Horizons.

despite these interesting assumptions, Professor Loeb did not specify
what specific objects he was talking about. In his research report, he
notes that there could be “a significant number” of potentially
detectable objects in Earth’s orbit.

To confirm their assumptions,
the team of scientists uses computer simulations and the Vera Rubin
Observatory (Chile) with a high-resolution camera of 3.2 billion pixels.
This will allow for regular observations of the Southern sky and the
possibility of detecting several captured objects about the size of a
football field.

It is assumed that these interstellar objects passed through the
boundaries of the solar system and may carry unique information about
other civilizations and their technologies. If we could confirm the
origin of these objects, the mysteries that open before us, this would
be a real breakthrough in space exploration.

Professor Loeb
expresses hope that the new research will not only help expand our
knowledge of extraterrestrial technologies, but may also lead to the
discovery of new alien civilizations . Answers to such questions can be
of global significance and influence our understanding of the place of
mankind in the Universe.

while there are still many questions and assumptions, the study by
Professor Loeb and his team opens a new chapter in space exploration.
Each new discovery can be the key to deciphering the mysteries of the
cosmos and the possibility of encountering alien life forms.

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Betelgeuse is acting strange again




Betelgeuse, a red giant on the brink of death, continues to show
unusual behavior. After the Great Blackout, which occurred in late 2019
and early 2020, the star became unusually bright. It is now the seventh
brightest star in the sky, while it normally ranks tenth. This has led
to speculation that Betelgeuse is preparing to explode in a
spectacularly large supernova.

However, scientists believe it’s too early to tell, and it’s likely
that this behavior is due to ongoing fluctuations after the Great
Blackout of 2019, and the star will return to normal within a decade.

Betelgeuse is one of the most interesting stars in the sky. It is
about 700 light-years from Earth and is a red giant in the last stage of
its life. It is also an unusual star for a red giant because it was
previously a monster blue-white O-type star, the most massive class of

Betelgeuse has changed its spectral type because it has almost
exhausted its hydrogen reserves. It now burns helium into carbon and
oxygen and has expanded to a gigantic size: about 764 times the size of
the Sun and about 16.5 to 19 times its mass.

Eventually it will run out of fuel to burn, become a supernova, eject
its outer material, and its core will collapse into a neutron star.

Before the Great Blackout, Betelgeuse also had periodic fluctuations
in brightness. The longest of these cycles is about 5.9 years and the
other is 400 days. But it seems that the Great Blackout caused changes
in these oscillations.

A new paper by astrophysicist Morgan McLeod of the
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has shown that the 400-day
cycle appears to have been halved. This pulsational cycle is probably
caused by expansion and contraction within the star. According to
simulations carried out by MacLeod and his colleagues, the convective
flow inside Betelgeuse may have risen and become material that separates
from the star.

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