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11. Planetary exploration in 2015: The Year of the Dwarf Planet

(Web Page; Wed Dec 31 10:48:00 CST 2014)

Looking ahead to what we can expect from Earth's exploration of the rest of the solar system in 2015, there's an obvious theme: Dwarf planets. Dawn enters orbit at Ceres in March, and will spend most of the rest of 2015 in a series of su...

Description: Looking ahead to what we can expect from Earth's exploration of the rest of the solar system in 2015, there's an obvious theme: Dwarf planets.

12. Farewell, MESSENGER

(Web Page; Fri May 01 18:56:00 CDT 2015)

There is one less robot exploring the solar system today. MESSENGER, which has orbited Mercury for four years, finally ran out of fuel and crashed into the planet at 17:26 UT on Thursday, April 30, 2015. The impact happened out of sight ...

Description: There is one less robot exploring the solar system today. MESSENGER, which has orbited Mercury for four years, finally ran out of fuel and crashed into the planet at 17:26 UT on Thursday, April 30, 2015.

13. Europe Will Select Its Next Major Science Mission in November

(Web Page; Tue Oct 22 18:32:00 CDT 2013)

Last spring, the European Space Agency (ESA) put out a call for concepts for its next two €1-billion science missions. If history proves to be a guide, there's a good chance that one of the selected concepts will be a solar system m...

Description: The European Space Agency will announce two major science missions this November, one of which is likely to be devoted to solar system exploration.

14. What are Mercury's hollows?

(Web Page; Tue Feb 18 09:39:00 CST 2014)

Whenever I talk about the MESSENGER mission to Mercury, one discovery that I always mention is these strange features that the science team has dubbed "hollows." Nothing quite like them has been seen on any other world. A geomorphic myst...

Description: I've been fascinated by Mercury's hollows ever since MESSENGER discovered them. Two recent papers look at where they are found to try to figure out how they form.

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