Atom & Cosmos

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Philae

TAKE TWO   Philae’s intended landing spot (left, imaged from 40 meters above the comet’s surface) was soft and sandy. A two-hour-long bounce dropped it in a craggy pit (right, with lander leg at bottom) where the ground is as hard as pumice.

Auroral lights

SHINY  Auroral lights, like those seen on Earth, shimmer in the atmosphere encircling the pole of the dim star LSR J1835 + 3259in this artist’s illustration.

surface of Pluto

Mountains of water ice roughly as tall as the Rockies tower over a young landscape to the south of Pluto’s heart-shaped region. Snows of nitrogen and methane blanket the peaks. On the dwarf planet, water ice probably behaves like bedrock on Earth.

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