Space Stories: Eruptions on Mars, World’s Largest Radio-Astronomy Observatory, and Saudi Space Hotels

Image (Credit): Image of the planet Mars. (NASA)

Here are some recent stories of interest.

University of Arizona: “Giant Mantle Plume Reveals Mars is More Active Than Previously Thought

In a study published in Nature Astronomy, scientists from the University of Arizona challenge current views of Martian geodynamic evolution with a report on the discovery of an active mantle plume pushing the surface upward and causing earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The finding suggests that the planet’s deceptively quiet surface may hide a more tumultuous interior than previously thought…Mantle plumes are large blobs of warm and buoyant rock that rise from deep inside a planet and push through its intermediate layer – the mantle – to reach the base of its crust, causing earthquakes, faulting and volcanic eruptions. The island chain of Hawaii, for example, formed as the Pacific plate slowly drifted over a mantle plume. “‘Great Scientific Step Forward’: Construction of World’s Largest Radio Observatory is Finally Under Way

After 30 years of planning and negotiations, construction begins this week on the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), the world’s largest radio-astronomy observatory. The giant instrument — to be built across sprawling sites in Australia and Africa — will collect the radio signals emitted by celestial objects and will hopefully shed light on some of the most enigmatic problems in astronomy, such as the nature of dark matter and how galaxies form.

UAE in Space: “Saudi Arabia in Talks over Plans for Next-Generation Space Stations

Saudi Arabia is in talks with other nations over plans for the next generation of space stations, which could one day serve as floating hotels among the stars. Mohammed bin Saud Al Tamimi, governor of the Communications, Space and Technology Commission, said he sees space commodities as a “huge opportunity”. He was speaking remotely on the first day of the Abu Dhabi Space Debate, a major conference that addressed the new geopolitics of space and emerging trends. Mr Al Tamimi said that the Kingdom would be announcing its national space strategy early next year.