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Collapsing Cliff Reveals Interior of Rosetta’s Comet

ESA March 21, 2017 Rosetta scientists have made the first compelling link between an outburst of dust and gas and the collapse of a prominent cliff, which also exposed the pristine, icy interior of the comet. Sudden and short-lived outbursts were observed frequently during Rosetta’s two-year mission at Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Although their exact trigger has been much debated, the outbursts ... Read More »

NASA Approves Two Bold New Asteroid Missions

NASA JPL January 04, 2017 NASA has selected two missions that have the potential to open new windows on one of the earliest eras in the history of our solar system – a time less than 10 million years after the birth of our sun. The missions, known as Lucy and Psyche, were chosen from five finalists and will proceed ... Read More »

Where the Ice is on Ceres – New Findings

NASA JPL December 15, 2016 At first glance, Ceres, the largest body in the main asteroid belt, may not look icy. Images from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft have revealed a dark, heavily cratered world whose brightest area is made of highly reflective salts — not ice. But newly published studies from Dawn scientists show two distinct lines of evidence for ice ... Read More »

New Theory Can Predict Global Dust Storms on Mars

NASA October 5, 2016 This graphic indicates a similarity between 2016 (dark blue line) and five past years in which Mars has experienced global dust storms (orange lines and band), compared to years with no global dust storm (blue-green lines and band). The horizontal scale is time-of-year on Mars. ______________________________________ Global dust storms on Mars could soon become more predictable ... Read More »

Jupiter’s Unusual Polar Regions – Unlike Anything Seen Before

NASA September 2, 2016 NASA’s Juno spacecraft has sent back the first-ever images of Jupiter’s north pole, taken during the spacecraft’s first flyby of the planet with its instruments switched on. The images show storm systems and weather activity unlike anything previously seen on any of our solar system’s gas-giant planets. Juno successfully executed the first of 36 orbital flybys ... Read More »

Gullies on Mars Probably Not Formed by Water

NASA JPL July 29, 2016 New findings using data from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show that gullies on modern Mars are likely not being formed by flowing liquid water. This new evidence will allow researchers to further narrow theories about how Martian gullies form, and reveal more details about Mars’ recent geologic processes. Scientists use the term “gully” for features ... Read More »

Mars Has Some Weird, Un-Earthlike Sand Dunes

NASA JPL June 30, 2016 Some of the wind-sculpted sand ripples on Mars are a type not seen on Earth, and their relationship to the thin Martian atmosphere today provides new clues about the atmosphere’s history. The determination that these mid-size ripples are a distinct type resulted from observations by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover. Six months ago, Curiosity made the ... Read More »

Kepler Mission Verifies 1,284 New Exoplanets

NASA May 10, 2016 NASA’s Kepler mission has verified 1,284 new planets – the single largest finding of planets to date. “This announcement more than doubles the number of confirmed planets from Kepler,” said Ellen Stofan, chief scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “This gives us hope that somewhere out there, around a star much like ours, we can eventually ... Read More »

Cassini Finds Titan’s Highest Mountain

NASA JPL March 24, 2016 In a nod to extraterrestrial mountaineers of the future, scientists working on NASA’s Cassini mission have identified the highest point on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. Titan’s tallest peak is 10,948 feet (3,337 meters) high and is found within a trio of mountainous ridges called the Mithrim Montes. The researchers found that all of Titan’s highest ... Read More »

Enormous Ice Cloud Covers Titan’s South Pole

NASA November 11, 2015 New observations made near the south pole of Titan by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft add to the evidence that winter comes in like a lion on this moon of Saturn. Scientists have detected a monstrous new cloud of frozen compounds in the moon’s low- to mid-stratosphere – a stable atmospheric region above the troposphere, or active weather ... Read More »

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