Planetary Science News

Martian Meteorite Reveals the Possibility of Life on Mars

September 15, 2014

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Meteorite Reveals the Possibility of Life on Mars

An unusual feature embedded deep within a fragment of a Martian meteorite is helping to make the case for the possibility of life on Mars. The finding of a ‘cell-like’ structure, which investigators now know once held water, came about as a result of collaboration between scientists in the UK and Greece. Their findings are […]

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‘Hot Jupiters’ Can Force Their Host Stars to Wobble

September 12, 2014

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Hot Jupiters Make Their Suns Wobble

A new study from Cornell University shows that when the “Hot Jupiters” approach their host star, the planet can force the star’s spin axis to precess much like a wobbling, spinning top. According to new Cornell research published in Science, these large, gaseous exoplanets can make their suns wobble after they wend their way through […]

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NASA’s Curiosity Rover Arrives at Mount Sharp

September 12, 2014

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Curiosity Rover Arrives at Mount Sharp

After 2 years and roughly 9 kilometers of driving, NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has arrived at the base of Mount Sharp to begin a new phase of exploration. NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has reached the Red Planet’s Mount Sharp, a Mount-Rainier-size mountain at the center of the vast Gale Crater and the rover mission’s long-term […]

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Kepler Data Helps Pinpoint ‘Venus Zone’ Around Stars

September 11, 2014

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Astronomers Pinpoint Venus Zone Around Stars

Using data from the Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have defined the inner and outer edges of the “Venus Zone” – the point at which a planet’s atmosphere would experience runaway greenhouse-gas effects like those seen on Venus. San Francisco State University astronomer Stephen Kane and a team of researchers presented today the definition of a […]

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Mysterious Holes in the Atmosphere of Venus

September 11, 2014

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Mysterious Holes in the Atmosphere on Venus

New research investigates the mysterious holes discovered by ESA’s Venus Express on the nightside of Venus’s ionosphere, finding evidence that the sun’s magnetic field lines may be penetrating through the planet. New research shows giant holes in Venus’s atmosphere – which serve as extra clues for understanding this planet so different from our own. Image […]

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Worldwide Action to Phase Out Ozone-Depleting Substances Yields Significant Gains

September 11, 2014

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Worldwide Action to Phase Out Ozone-Depleting Substances Has Remarkable Success

This short video and new assessment packet reveals the remarkable success of the worldwide action to phase out ozone-depleting substances, reporting that the ozone layer is on track for recovery to the 1980 benchmark levels by mid-century. Minimum concentration of ozone in the southern hemisphere for each year from 1979-2013 (there is no data from […]

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International Space Station Image of an Aurora

September 10, 2014

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Flying Through an Aurora

Taken by astronaut Alexander Gerst, this photo shows an image of an aurora from the International Space Station. European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst posted this photograph taken from the International Space Station to social media on August 29, 2014, writing, “words can’t describe how it feels flying through an #aurora. I wouldn’t even know […]

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MAVEN Spacecraft Makes Final Preparations for Mars Orbit-Insertion Maneuver

September 9, 2014

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MAVEN Spacecraft Makes Final Preparations For Mars

This two minute video details how NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft will use a dramatic engine burn to pull the spacecraft into an elliptical orbit with Mars when it arrives at the Red Planet on September 21, 2014. On September 21, 2014, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution spacecraft will complete roughly 10 months of travel and […]

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New Study Details the Changes in Saturn’s F Ring

September 9, 2014

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Analysis of Clumps in Saturns F Ring from Voyager and Cassini

A newly published study details the analysis of clumps in Saturn’s F ring from the Voyager and Cassini spacecraft, revealing that the F ring seems to change on a scale of days, and even hours. Compared to the age of the solar system — about four-and-a-half billion years — a couple of decades are next […]

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Evidence of Tectonic Plate-Like System on Europa

September 9, 2014

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Scientists Find Evidence of PlateTectonics on Europa

Using data from NASA’s Galileo orbiter, scientists have discovered clear visual evidence of Europa’s icy crust expanding. The discovery implies two-way communication between the exterior and interior of the moon – a process which has significant implications for Europa’s potential as a habitable world. Scientists have found evidence of plate tectonics on Jupiter’s moon Europa. […]

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Researchers Discover New Evidence of Planets Forming 335 Light Years from Earth

September 5, 2014

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Researchers Discover Evidence of Planet Forming 335 Light Years Away

Using a technique called “spectro-astrometry,” which enables small changes in the position of the carbon monoxide emission to be measured, astronomers have discovered new evidence of a second candidate planet forming around star HD100546. Clemson — An international team of scientists led by a Clemson University astrophysicist has discovered new evidence that planets are forming […]

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New Research Reveals How Icy Aquifers on Titan Transform Methane Rainfall

September 4, 2014

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New Study Reveals How Icy Aquifers on Titan Transform Methane Rainfall

A newly published study details how Titan’s methane rainfall interacts with icy materials within underground reservoirs, leading to the formation of reservoirs of propane and ethane that may feed into some rivers and lakes. The NASA and European Space Agency Cassini mission has revealed hundreds of lakes and seas spread across the north polar region […]

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