Planetary Science

  1. an illustratiion of a molten Earth's core
    Earth

    50 years ago, a new theory of Earth’s core began solidifying

    In 1972, scientists proposed that Earth’s core formed as the planet came together. Fifty years later, that theory is generally accepted, though many mysteries about the core remain.

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  2. Oval-shaped dark blue map of the Milky Way with color patterns representing concentrations of galaxy mergers, supernovas and newborn stars.
    Astronomy

    New Gaia data paint the most detailed picture yet of the Milky Way

    Gaia’s new data can tell us about galaxies the Milky Way has swallowed, the young solar system and asteroids that could hit Earth.

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  3. 31 milligrams of dark gray dust and debris from asteroid Ryugu in a white circular sample dish
    Planetary Science

    Samples of the asteroid Ryugu are scientists’ purest pieces of the solar system

    Samples Hayabusa2 brought to Earth from asteroid Ryugu are far fresher than similar types of meteorites that scientists have found.

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  4. Schrödinger crater on the moon
    Planetary Science

    Ice at the moon’s poles might have come from ancient volcanoes

    Volcanic eruptions billions of years ago probably released enough water vapor to have deposited ice at the lunar poles, a study finds.

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  5. a row of vials, three filled with moon dirt, including one with a thale cress seedling
    Plants

    These are the first plants grown in moon dirt

    The first attempt to grow plants in Apollo samples from the moon shows the promise and potential struggles of farming in lunar soil.

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  6. An artist’s rendition of the lander on the surface of Mars.
    Planetary Science

    NASA’s InSight lander has recorded the largest Marsquake yet

    The magnitude 5 temblor, detected May 4, will help scientists learn more about the Red Planet’s interior.

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  7. a blue burst of light from a volcanic eruption can be seen on the surface of Io
    Planetary Science

    Lava and frost may form the mysterious lumps on Jupiter’s moon Io

    Jets of gas released when hot meets cold on the volcanic moon Io could generate sprawling fields of dunes, a study finds.

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  8. infrared composite image of the two hemispheres of Uranus in blue
    Planetary Science

    U.S. planetary scientists want to explore Uranus and Enceladus next

    A report on recommendations for the next 10 years of U.S. planetary science prioritizes sending an orbiter to Uranus and an “orbilander” to Enceladus.

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  9. Europa image
    Planetary Science

    Europa may have much more shallow liquid water than scientists thought

    Mysterious pairs of ridges scar Jupiter’s moon Europa. Analyzing a similar set in Greenland suggests shallow water is behind the features’ formation.

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  10. NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter on the surface of Mars
    Planetary Science

    Here’s how NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter has spent 1 year on Mars

    The first flying robot on the Red Planet arrived as a technology demonstration. It’s now a trusty scout for its rover partner, Perseverance.

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  11. images of comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein with its dust cloud and of its nucleus alone
    Planetary Science

    This is the biggest known comet in our solar system

    The nucleus of comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein is about 120 kilometers across — about twice the width of Rhode Island — and is darker than coal.

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  12. image of Neptune
    Planetary Science

    New thermal maps of Neptune reveal surprising temperature swings

    Neptune's atmospheric temperatures show a global drop and later, a weird isolated spike at the south pole. Scientists don't yet know why.

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