An article in the National Geographic News has listed the top ten space finds of the year 2009.
At number 10 is the finding that a new computer model has suggested that the outer crusts of so-called neutron stars are ten billion times stronger than steel, and are in fact, the strongest known material in the universe.
The number 9 top space discovery of the year is that Jupiter’s moon Europa may harbor fish-sized life in its oceans. A provocative new research suggested that the amount of oxygen in the ocean would be enough to support more than just microscopic life-forms, with at least three million tons of fishlike creatures theoretically living and breathing on Europa.
At number 8 is the discovery of 32 new planets outside our solar system, bringing the massive haul of new worlds to more than 400.
The number 7 top space discovery of the year is that pictures taken in Summer 2008 showed strange globs on the leg of the Phoenix Mars lander that seemed to behave like liquid water, which could be the first proof that modern Mars hosts liquid water This substance is probably saline mud that splashed up as the craft landed, study leader and Phoenix co-investigator Nilton Renno of the University of Michigan had told National Geographic News. Salt in the mud then absorbed water vapour from the atmosphere, forming the watery drops, according to Renno.
At number 6 is the finding that Gliese 581d, the most Earth like planet yet found, may have liquid oceans.
At number 5 is the discovery that the oldest of the subatomic particles called neutrinos might each encompass a space larger than thousands of galaxies.
The number 4 top space discovery of the year is that high-resolution pictures of a Martian valley revealed three-billion-year-old shorelines along what was once a body of water about the size of Lake Champlain, which is the first proof of ancient Mars lakeshores.
At number 3 is the finding of water on the Moon, when NASA crashed a two-ton rocket into a permanently shadowed crater on the moon’s south pole in October.
At number 2 is the finding of a green “two-tailed” comet that buzzed by Earth on a one-time visit in late February.
The number one space discovery of the year is that the Sun’s oddly quiet phase might be indicative of the next “little ice age”.