A roundup of the month’s news from around the Solar System – and beyond. Starting with the Moon, where the first attempt by a privately funded organisation to land on the Moon has ended in a crash-landing. Despite the sad end, the Beresheet mission was otherwise a success, and a promising start for privately funded missions around the Solar System.
Further afield, there are new results from the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter mission, which is studying Mars’ atmosphere. Beyond Mars, an analysis of the Cassini spacecraft’s last images of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, has thrown up a few surprises about its lakes. And beyond our Solar System, a study of the environment around Proxima Centauri, the Sun’s nearest neighbour, has shed light on the possible conditions on its planet – Proxima b.
But the most exciting story of the month was the image of the black hole in M87 by the Event Horizon Telescope. Actually a number of telescope working together, the array has provided us with the first view of material around an object billions of times the mass of our Sun. And if the image isn’t astounding enough, the technological achievement required to obtain it is simply astounding.
An extended edition of an original broadcast on 2nd May 2019 as part of Pythagoras’ Trousers on Radio Cardiff.