Planetary Science

  1. illustration of mars if it had surface water
    Space

    Most of Mars’ missing water may lurk in its crust

    Computer simulations of the fate of Mars’ water may explain why the Red Planet turned into a desert, when so little of its water has escaped into space.

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  2. an aerial photo of the surface of Mars
    Planetary Science

    Watch real video of Perseverance’s Mars landing

    NASA’s Perseverance rover filmed its own landing on Mars. Here’s that video.

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  3. Perseverance rover illustration
    Planetary Science

    NASA’s Perseverance rover has touched down on Mars

    The spacecraft will arrive at Mars on February 18, joining missions from China and the United Arab Emirates.

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  4. biomorphs
    Earth

    Fossil mimics may be more common in ancient rocks than actual fossils

    Evidence of early life may be harder to preserve than pseudofossils — structures that form abiotically but resemble living remnants.

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  5. illustration of spacecraft on Europa
    Space

    How future spacecraft might handle tricky landings on Venus or Europa

    Scientists are getting inventive with ways to touch down on these worlds, where landers will face obstacles not seen elsewhere in the solar system.

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  6. Hayabusa2’s sample return capsule
    Space

    Hayabusa2’s asteroid dirt may hold clues to the early solar system

    “We collected the treasure box,” a Japanese space scientist announced after a capsule holding samples from asteroid Ryugu safely landed on Earth.

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  7. Murchison meteorite fragment
    Planetary Science

    50 years ago, scientists caught their first glimpse of amino acids from outer space

    In 1970, scientists detected amino acids in a meteorite. Fifty years later, a variety of chemical ingredients for life have been found in other space rocks.

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  8. Geminid meteor shower
    Space

    December’s stunning Geminid meteor shower is born from a humble asteroid

    Most meteor showers arise from comets, but the robust Geminid shower comes from an asteroid, Phaethon, which scientists are still trying to figure out.

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  9. team members of China’s Chang’e-5 mission celebrating the spacecraft’s launch
    Planetary Science

    China is about to collect the first moon rocks since the 1970s

    The robotic Chang’e-5 mission, which landed on an unexplored region of the moon December 1, aims to gather samples and return them to Earth.

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  10. farm on Mars, illustrated
    Planetary Science

    Farming on Mars will be a lot harder than ‘The Martian’ made it seem

    Lab experiments developing and testing fake Martian dirt are proving just how difficult it would be to farm on the Red Planet.

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  11. illustration of Mars surface
    Planetary Science

    Chemical reactions high in Mars’ atmosphere rip apart water molecules

    Mars is so dry because its water constant escapes into space. A new study suggests this process occurs in the ionosphere and faster than thought.

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  12. bluish illustration of surface of Europa
    Space

    Jupiter’s icy moon Europa may glow in the dark

    Europa’s potential “ice glow” could help scientists map the chemical composition of its surface — and the ocean underneath.

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