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Blog Archive

 

The State of Planetary Defense

Vishnu Reddy • September 03, 2019

Vishnu Reddy delivers a sober but hopeful report on our understanding of near-Earth objects, their dangers, and our readiness.

Venus’ Ocean of Air and Clouds

Javier Peralta • September 03, 2019

Javier Peralta plumbs the depths of Venus’ atmosphere through the eyes of the Venus Express and Akatsuki orbiters.

Treasure Hunting With Hayabusa2

Makoto Yoshikawa and Elizabeth Tasker • June 10, 2019

IN THE EARLY hours of 22 February, light was just beginning to brighten the campus of JAXA’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Sciences (ISAS) in Kanagawa, Japan. It should have been a quiet time, but the Hayabusa2 control room was packed with people. We were about to land on an asteroid.

Rosetta’s Ancient Comet

Martin Rubin and Cecilia Tubiana • June 10, 2019

Rosetta is a European Space Agency mission with contributions from its member states and NASA. Operating such a complex mission with its 11 instruments and Philae lander is a success story in itself, but Rosetta’s greatest success is the science it delivered.

Chang’e-4 may have discovered material from the Moon’s mantle

Andrew Jones • May 15, 2019

The first science results from the unprecedented Chang’e-4 lunar far side mission are in. The mission’s Yutu-2 rover, deployed from the lander shortly after the Chang’e-4 landing on 3 January, has, with the help of the Queqiao relay satellite, returned data which suggests it has discovered material derived from the Moon’s mantle.

Mars Used to Have Water, But We Can't Explain How

Kaushik Mitra • May 07, 2019

Although we have acquired compelling evidence of flowing liquid water on early Mars, the fundamental question about how water could be stable under Martian atmospheric conditions remains unsolved.

Not a Heart of Ice

Mark Marley • April 02, 2019

Mark Marley explains what planetary scientists mean when they say the word "ice."

We're going to Jezero!

Emily Lakdawalla • November 20, 2018

NASA announced this morning the selection of Jezero crater for the landing site of the Mars 2020 mission. Jezero is a 45-kilometer-wide crater that once held a lake, and now holds a spectacular ancient river delta.

Heiligenschein Throughout the Solar System

Brittney Cooper • October 16, 2018

When planetary scientist Brittney Cooper was scrolling through the downlinked images of Hayabusa2’s approach of asteroid Ryugu, a familiar sight caught her attention.

Curiosity's organics on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • July 30, 2018

What does it mean that the Mars rover Curiosity found organics in Martian rocks? Emily Lakdawalla translates the science.

Liquid Water on Mars! Really for Real This Time (Probably)

Emily Lakdawalla • July 25, 2018

A radar instrument on one of the oldest operational Mars orbiters has discovered possible evidence of present-day liquid water on Mars.

How the Apollo missions transformed our understanding of the Moon’s origin

Jatan Mehta • July 19, 2018

Where did the Moon come from? The origin of our cosmic neighbor is a fundamental question in planetary science.

Favorite Astro Plots: The Pyroxene Quadrilateral

Melissa Lane • June 15, 2018

Petrology is a field of science in which scientists study the compositions of rocks and minerals and interpret their geologic history. A common graph petrologists use is the “pyroxene quadrilateral.” These graphs, like photos of space, can reveal an understanding of the remotest parts of the solar system.

Big news from the magnetosphere

Geoffrey Reeves • June 05, 2018

At five years and counting, the Van Allen Probes mission continues to reshape our thinking about how Earth’s radiation belts flex and reconfigure under the influence of solar storms.

How long is a day on Saturn?

Emily Lakdawalla • May 30, 2018

One of the Cassini mission's goals was to figure out how long a day on Saturn is. We still don't know. A new paper reports a measurement of the rotation period of Saturn that is different from past measurements.

#Mercury2018: From MESSENGER to BepiColombo and beyond

Emily Lakdawalla • May 17, 2018

A Mercury meeting held May 1-3 summarized the current and future science of the innermost planet. Emily Lakdawalla was there and shares her notes.

Philae science results: Comet 67P is crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside

Emily Lakdawalla • May 09, 2018

What is the surface of a comet like? That's one of the main questions that motivated Philae's mission to the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. We now know the comet has a rigid crust about 10 to 50 centimeters thick, below which the comet is much more fluffy.

#LPSC2018: Mars mass wasting in the laboratory

Jake Robins • March 26, 2018

Mars today is a dynamic place. One visually dramatic sign of change on Mars is "mass wasting," more commonly known as "stuff falling downhill". Scientists presented the results of recent laboratory work on Mars mass wasting at last week's Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.

Yoshihide Kozai (1928 - 2018)

Konstantin Batygin • February 27, 2018

Caltech planetary scientist Konstantin Batygin pays tribute to a pioneer in celestial mechanics.

#AGU17: Spherical harmonics, gravity, and the depth of winds at Jupiter

Emily Lakdawalla • December 20, 2017

Results from the Juno gravity science experiment presented at last week's American Geophysical Union meeting suggest Jupiter's winds penetrate only to 3000 kilometers deep.

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