Planetary Science

  1. Hayabusa2 spacecraft shadow
    Space

    How 2019’s space missions explored distant worlds

    Planets and asteroids and Arrokoth, oh my. Space probes had a busy year.

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  2. moon
    Space

    China stuck its moon landing this year. Others weren’t as lucky

    Fifty years after Apollo 11 landed on the moon, Earth’s sidekick is getting renewed attention from space agencies around the world.

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  3. Bennu landing site
    Space

    NASA’s OSIRIS-REx must avoid ‘Mount Doom’ to return a sample of the asteroid Bennu

    The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft finally has a target spot for sample collection, called Nightingale, on the asteroid Bennu.

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  4. Mars Maven spacecraft
    Space

    NASA’s MAVEN probe shows how wind circulates in Mars’ upper atmosphere

    By using the MAVEN spacecraft to track winds in the Martian thermosphere, researchers hope to better understand how the atmosphere leaks into space.

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  5. Geminid meteor shower
    Space

    NASA’s Parker probe has spotted the Geminid meteor showers’ source

    For the first time, we’ve spotted the trail of space debris responsible for the Geminid meteor shower.

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  6. Parker Solar Probe illustration
    Space

    NASA’s Parker probe reveals the sun’s rogue plasma waves and magnetic islands

    Scientists have analyzed the Parker probe’s first data, giving a peek at what’s to come as the craft moves closer to the sun over the next few years.

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  7. Space rocks hitting Earth illustration
    Planetary Science

    Ribose, a sugar needed for life, has been detected in meteorites

    Samples of rocks that fell to Earth contain a key molecular ingredient of RNA, part of life’s genetic machinery.

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  8. Arrokoth
    Space

    NASA gave Ultima Thule a new official name

    The distant world briefly visited by New Horizons is now called Arrokoth, a Powhatan word that means “sky.”

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  9. Voyager 1 and 2
    Space

    Voyager 2 reveals the dynamic, complex nature of the solar system’s edge

    With two spacecraft outside the sun’s magnetic bubble, researchers get a new look at the boundary between the sun and its galactic environment.

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  10. solar system illustration
    Space

    Rules guarding other planets from contamination may be too strict

    Voluntary international guidelines for visiting the moon, Mars and other places — and for bringing stuff back to Earth — are overly cautious, scientists say.

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  11. Space

    The solar system may have a new smallest dwarf planet: Hygiea

    New images reveal Hygiea is round, a final criterion for promoting the wee world from asteroid to dwarf planet status.

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  12. Saturn
    Planetary Science

    Astronomers have spotted a new type of storm on Saturn

    In 2018, telescopes on Earth and in space identified a never-before-seen kind of storm activity on the ringed planet.

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