Planetary Science

  1. photo of NASA's Perseverance rover next to the Ingenuity helicopter on the surface of Mars
    Planetary Science

    Mars has two speeds of sound

    High-pitched clacks from a laser on NASA’s Perseverance rover zapping rocks traveled faster than the lower-pitched hum of the Ingenuity helicopter’s blades.

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  2. The surface of Mercury
    Planetary Science

    Diamonds may stud Mercury’s crust

    Billions of years of meteorite impacts may have flash-baked much of a primitive graphite crust into precious gemstones.

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  3. aerial view of a large crater in Wyoming
    Planetary Science

    An ancient impact on Earth led to a cascade of cratering

    For the first time, scientists have discovered clusters of craters on Earth that were formed by the impacts of material thrown out of a larger crater.

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  4. a grayscale photo of the surface of Venus against a backdrop of stars
    Planetary Science

    These are the first visible-light images of Venus’ surface captured from space

    Cameras aboard NASA’s Parker Solar Probe managed to peer through Venus’ thick clouds to photograph the planet’s surface.

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  5. a photo of the demolioshed Arecibo Observatory
    Planetary Science

    50 years ago, Arecibo got an unprecedented view of Venus’ surface

    Over its 57-year lifetime, Arecibo’s radar system measured the mountains around Venus’ middle, studied the textures of many rocky bodies in outer space and more.

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  6. An illustration of a Trojan asteroid in space
    Planetary Science

    Earth has a second known ‘Trojan asteroid’ that shares its orbit

    A recently found space rock is about one kilometer wide, orbits ahead of Earth around the sun and will stick around for at least 4,000 years.

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  7. image of researchers crouched on the ice with snowmobiles
    Planetary Science

    Machine learning points to prime places in Antarctica to find meteorites

    Using data on how ice moves across Antarctica, researchers identified more than 600 spots where space rocks may gather on the southern continent.

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  8. image of meteorite ALH 84001
    Planetary Science

    Organic molecules in an ancient Mars meteorite formed via geology, not alien life

    Analysis of an ancient Martian meteorite reveals that organic molecules within it were formed by geologic processes rather than alien life.

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  9. an illustration of the exomoon Kepler 1708 b i, shown as a blue-green orb, orbiting a large, Jupiter-like exoplanet
    Astronomy

    Astronomers identified a second possible exomoon

    Kepler 1708 b i, a newly discovered candidate for an exoplanet moon, has a radius about 2.6 times that of Earth, a new study suggests.

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  10. an illustration of the rocky exoplanet GJ 1132b
    Planetary Science

    Oxygen-rich exoplanets may be geologically active

    Experiments show that rocks exposed to higher concentrations of oxygen have a lower melting temperature than rocks exposed to lower amounts.

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  11. plumes of water vapor from Saturn's moon Enceladus
    Planetary Science

    Enceladus’ plumes might not come from an underground ocean

    The celebrated plumes of Saturn’s moon Enceladus could come from pockets of watery mush in the moon’s icy shell, simulations suggest.

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  12. The rover Perseverance sits in the foreground with the red, rocky landscape and red-tinted sky in the background
    Space

    Spacecraft in 2021 set their sights on Mars, asteroids and beyond

    This year, a bevy of new missions got under way on Mars and spacecraft prepared to visit asteroids.

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