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Planetary Science

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Pluto mountains

UPS AND DOWNS  This view shows Pluto’s highest mountains, which rise 3 to 6 kilometers above the smooth nitrogen-ice plains of Sputnik Planitia. New maps of Pluto’s topography show more details of familiar landscapes like this one.


GATHERING DUST  Images taken by the Very Large Telescope unveil a still-forming exoplanet in the disk of gas and dust around a star about 370 light-years away. The exoplanet (seen here as a bright splotch to the right of its host star, whose light has been blocked out) is a cloudy world several times more massive than Jupiter.

 Hayabusa2 spacecraft illustration

RYUGU RENDEZVOUS The Japanese space agency’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft (illustrated) has arrived at its target asteroid, Ryugu.

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