Planetary Science News

Cassini Reveals Geysers on Saturn’s Moon Enceladus

July 29, 2014

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Using data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, two newly published studies detail the discovery of 101 distinct geysers on Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus. Scientists using mission data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft have identified 101 distinct geysers erupting on Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus. Their analysis suggests it is possible for liquid water to reach from the moon’s […]

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Most Precise Measurement Ever of the Radius of a Planet Outside Our Solar System

July 24, 2014

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Scientists have made most precise measurement ever of the radius of a planet outside our solar system, confirming Kepler-93b as a “super-Earth” that is about one-and-a-half times the size of our planet. Thanks to NASA’s Kepler and Spitzer Space Telescopes, scientists have made the most precise measurement ever of the radius of a planet outside […]

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Hubble Reveals That Three Hot Jupiters Are Surprisingly Dry

July 24, 2014

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Using the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers reveal that three exoplanets that were thought to be ideal candidates for detecting water vapor in their atmospheres contain far less water than predicted by standard planet-formation theories. Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have gone looking for water vapor in the atmospheres of three planets orbiting stars similar […]

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A New Approach in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

July 23, 2014

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Scientists are taking a new approach in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, studying exoplanet atmospheres for signs of pollution. Cambridge, Massachusetts – Humanity is on the threshold of being able to detect signs of alien life on other worlds. By studying exoplanet atmospheres, we can look for gases like oxygen and methane that only coexist […]

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Astronomers Discover Evidence of How Giant Planets Form

July 18, 2014

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Using Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope observations of 16 Cygni, astronomers discovered evidence of how giant planets like Jupiter form. One of the main models to form giant planets is called “core accretion”. In this scenario, a rocky core forms first by aggregation of solid particles until it reaches a few Earth masses when it becomes massive enough […]

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Chelyabinsk Meteorite Sheds New Light on Dinosaur Extinction

July 17, 2014

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New measurements on the Chelyabinsk meteorite rule out the possibility for the Baptistina Asteroid Family being the source of the K/T impactor. Tucson, Arizonia — A long-standing debate about the source of the asteroid that impacted the Earth and caused the extinction of the dinosaurs has been put to rest thanks to the Chelyabinsk meteorite […]

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New ScienceCast Video Previews What New Horizons May See on Pluto

July 17, 2014

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NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is only a year away from Pluto. This new ScienceCast video previews what researchers may see when the spacecraft makes its first close flyby. In July 2015, NASA will discover a new world. No one knows what to expect when the alien landscape comes into focus. There could be icy geysers, […]

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New Observations Reveal How Electrons Accelerate in the Van Allen Radiation Belts

July 16, 2014

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Using new data from the Van Allen Probes, a newly published study reveals the first direct observation of two processes that, in a chain, cause the acceleration of electrons in Earth’s outer radiation belt. One of the great, unanswered questions for space weather scientists is just what creates two gigantic donuts of radiation surrounding Earth, […]

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A New and Unusual Exoplanet Discovered

July 15, 2014

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With the help of an amateur astronomer, an international team of scientists has discovered a new and unusual exoplanet. Thiam Guan or ‘TG’ Tan is a Perth engineer by day and a planet hunter by night—he has co-discovered six planets from his backyard observatory. He says he was looking for a new challenge for his […]

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Scientists Believe Finding Life Beyond Earth is Within Reach

July 15, 2014

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Scientists gathered at NASA Headquarters to discuss the next steps to finding life beyond Earth, and outlined NASA’s roadmap to the search for life in the universe. Many scientists believe we are not alone in the universe. It’s probable, they say, that life could have arisen on at least some of the billions of planets […]

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Swift Satellite Observes Rare Ultra-Long Gamma-Ray Burst

July 14, 2014

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A newly published study analyzes a long-lasting blast of high-energy light, revealing that the gamma-ray burst was a rare and newly recognized class of ultra-long gamma-ray burst emanating from a galaxy so far away that its light had been traveling for 3.9 billion years. Astronomers analyzing a long-lasting blast of high-energy light observed in 2013 […]

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NASA Discovers Further Evidence of Dry Ice Gullies on Mars

July 11, 2014

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A new study details further evidence of dry ice gullies on Mars, revealing that the gullies on Mars’ surface are primarily formed by the seasonal freezing of carbon dioxide, not liquid water. Repeated high-resolution observations made by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) indicate the gullies on Mars’ surface are primarily formed by the seasonal freezing […]

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