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E.g., 03/23/2019
E.g., 03/23/2019
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  • ‘Oumuamua
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Your search has returned 912 articles:
  • News

    Titan’s oddly thick atmosphere may come from cooked organic compounds

    Titan may have a home-baked atmosphere.

    Saturn’s largest moon gets some of its thick atmosphere by cooking organic molecules in a warm core, a new study suggests.

    The decay of radioactive elements may warm Titan’s core from within, splitting nitrogen and carbon off from complex organic molecules. Once free, those elements can recombine into nitrogen and methane molecules and escape...

    02/01/2019 - 07:00 Planetary Science
  • News

    NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover weighed the mountain it’s climbing

    For the first time, a Mars rover has measured the mass of the rocks beneath its wheels. By taking gravity measurements as it climbed a Martian mountain, Curiosity discovered something surprising: Mount Sharp appears to have been built in two phases — one soggy, one dry.

    The rover found that the rocks it is driving over are less densely packed than scientists expected. That suggests the...

    01/31/2019 - 14:07 Planetary Science
  • News

    The latest picture of Ultima Thule reveals a remarkably smooth face

    Ultima Thule has a new mug shot.

    The closest-yet image of the ancient Kuiper Belt object, captured as the New Horizons spacecraft flew by January 1, shows a relatively smooth face unmarred by impact craters.  

    “The thing is just not covered in craters,” says planetary scientist Kelsi Singer of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo., of the image, released January 24....

    01/29/2019 - 11:17 Planetary Science
  • Editor's Note

    We spent New Year’s Eve in the Kuiper Belt

    We started 2019 at Science News with a bang, providing live coverage of discoveries more than 6.5 billion kilometers from Earth.

    NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has been heading for the outer reaches of our solar system since it launched in 2006. After surveying Jupiter and Pluto, its next task was to investigate the mysterious space rock 2014 MU69, dubbed Ultima Thule, orbiting in...

    01/27/2019 - 07:00 Planetary Science, Science & Society
  • Science Stats

    Ring ripples reveal how long a day lasts on Saturn

    You can’t tell how fast Saturn is spinning by watching the clouds swirling at its surface. But ripples in its rings reveal how fast the planet rotates: Its day flies by in 10 hours, 33 minutes and 38 seconds.

    “That’s a really fast clip,” says astronomer Christopher Mankovich of the University of California, Santa Cruz, who reports the rotation rate in the Astrophysical Journal on January...

    01/22/2019 - 16:59 Planetary Science, Astronomy
  • News

    The moon’s craters suggest Earth hasn’t erased lots of past impacts

    A new look at the moon’s craters suggests the Earth and moon both suffered a sharp increase in impacts around 290 million years ago, and Earth has kept its biggest scars.

    Geologists long assumed that erosion and tectonic activity had erased Earth’s craters so thoroughly that “you couldn’t say anything about the craters on Earth at all,” says planetary scientist Rebecca Ghent (SN: 12/22/...

    01/17/2019 - 14:06 Planetary Science
  • Feature

    Two daring spacecraft aim to bring asteroid dust back to Earth

    Shogo Tachibana greeted asteroid Ryugu with dread.

    The cosmochemist with the University of Tokyo had spent 10 years helping to design a mission to Ryugu’s surface. To touch down safely, the spacecraft, Hayabusa2, needs to find broad, flat stretches of fine-grained dust on the asteroid. But on June 27, when Hayabusa2 finally reached its target after a three-and-a-half-year journey (SN...

    01/15/2019 - 14:42 Planetary Science, Astrobiology
  • News in Brief

    China just landed the first spacecraft on the moon's farside

    China’s Chang’e-4 lander and rover just became the first spacecraft to land on the farside of the moon.

    The lander touched down at 9:26 p.m. Eastern time on January 2, according to an announcement from the China National Space Administration. The spacecraft is part of a series of Chinese space missions named Chang’e (pronounced CHONG-uh) for the Chinese goddess of the moon.

    A small...

    01/03/2019 - 11:09 Planetary Science
  • News

    New Horizons shows Ultima Thule looks like a snowman, or maybe BB-8

    The results are in: Ultima Thule, the distant Kuiper Belt object that got a close visit from the New Horizons spacecraft on New Year’s Day, looks like two balls stuck together.

    “What you are seeing is the first contact binary ever explored by a spacecraft, two separate objects that are now joined together,” principal investigator Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder...

    01/02/2019 - 17:42 Planetary Science
  • News

    Live updates: New Horizons’ flyby of a distant Kuiper Belt object

    Editor’s note: This story was updated December 31–January 1 with dispatches from astronomy writer Lisa Grossman, who was at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., with the New Horizons team. 

    Updated 1:20 p.m., January 1

    The last best view of Ultima Thule that New Horizons sent back before last night’s flyby gave a rough view of the object...

    12/30/2018 - 06:00 Planetary Science