Space Stories: Lost Lunar Lander, Exoplanet Elements, and the Molten Middle of Mars

Image (Credit): Artist’s rendering of the HAKUTO-R Mission 1 Lunar Lander orbiting the Moon. (ispace)

Here are some recent stories of interest. Lunar Lander Loses Contact Moments Before Touchdown

The Japanese start-up ispace attempted to become the first private company to successfully soft-land a commercial spacecraft on the Moon today (Tuesday, April 25). However, it now appears that the landing attempt — like several other such attempts in recent years — has failed…Ispace currently plans to attempt at least two more lunar landings over the next few years, applying lessons learned during today’s landing attempt to increase their odds of success. Discover Rare Element in Exoplanet’s Atmosphere

The rare metal terbium has been found in an exoplanet’s atmosphere for the first time. The researchers at Lund University in Sweden have also developed a new method for analyzing exoplanets, making it possible to study them in more detail…”Detecting heavy elements in the atmospheres of ultra-hot exoplanets is another step towards learning how the atmospheres of planets work. The better we get to know these planets, the greater chance we have of finding Earth 2.0 in the future,” concludes Nicholas Borsato.

NASA:NASA InSight Study Provides Clearest Look Ever at Martian Core

While NASA retired its InSight Mars lander in December, the trove of data from its seismometer will be pored over for decades to come. By looking at seismic waves the instrument detected from a pair of temblors in 2021, scientists have been able to deduce that Mars’ liquid iron core is smaller and denser than previously thought.