Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.
Take a look at distant worlds, far-out views of the cosmos, and even some remote possibilities with this week’s scoop on space news and solar system history.
How did our solar system come to be? Why are the planets, asteroids, comets, and other small worlds where they are now?
Six scientists share the major planetary science discoveries of the past decade, and the questions that will drive the next 10 years of solar system exploration.
Mark Marley explains what planetary scientists mean when they say the word
Imagine 2 icy worlds far from the Sun. Their serene, blue atmospheres. Huge, ominous-looking storms. Tantalizing glimpses of moons with exotic, icy terrains. Delicate sets of encircling rings.
The color of Uranus and Neptune is similar, but not identical. Uranus appears greener and Neptune bluer.
Björn Jónsson argues that even now, 40 years after Voyager 1 and 2 were launched, a lot of the data they returned is still of high interest.
The Voyager missions transformed most of the large worlds of the solar system from points of light into places to be explored.
One fact dominates the planning for any mission to Uranus or Neptune: They lie far from the sun. A newly released NASA report looks at how we can explore these icy giants.
Only one spacecraft has ever visited Uranus and Neptune: Voyager 2, in the late 1980s. A new NASA report explores the reasons to go back, and what type of mission might take us there.
When are the solstices and equinoxes on the giant planets, and when are they best positioned for view from Earth? I ask these questions a lot as I write about Earth photos of giant planets, and I finally decided to gather the answers to those questions in a single post.
January 24 was the 30th anniversary of the Voyager flyby of Uranus. Uranian moons have been on my mind ever since New Horizons sent us close-up images of Charon. On the occasion of the anniversary, Ted Stryk produced latest-and-greatest versions of the Voyager views of these worlds.
There are no spacecraft at Uranus or Neptune, and there haven't been for 30 and 25 years, respectively. So we depend on Earth-based astronomers to monitor them, including Damian Peach.
Now that I have a reasonable-resolution global color view of Pluto, I can drop it into one of my trademark scale image montages, to show you how it fits in with the rest of the similar-sized worlds in the solar system: the major moons and the biggest asteroids.
I've been resisting all urges to speculate on what kinds of geological features are present on Ceres, until now. Finally, Dawn has gotten close enough that the pictures it has returned show geology: bright spots, flat-floored craters, and enigmatic grooves.
Last week's Dawn images of Ceres were just slightly less detailed than Hubble's best. This week's are just slightly better.
Amateur image processor Björn Jónsson brings us some new views of Uranus from reprocessed Voyager 2 data.
The 45th Binghamton Geomorphology Symposium, usually focused on terrestrial studies, shifted this year to planetary science. Ted Stryk gives us an overview.
The Cassini mission has already returned an array of images of other solar system members from Saturn orbit: Earth (and the Moon), Venus, Mars, and Jupiter. It’s time to add another world to that list!
When sent from deep space, even imperfect images can inform and amaze.