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High-Silica “Halos” Indicate Mars Was Quite Wet in the Past

NASA JPL May 30, 2017 Pale “halos” around fractures in bedrock analyzed by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover contain copious silica, indicating that ancient Mars had liquid water for a long time. “The concentration of silica is very high at the centerlines of these halos,” said Jens Frydenvang, a rover-team scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, and the ... 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 »

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 »

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 »

Scientists Find a Possible Ninth Planet in Our Solar System

NASA January 21, 2016 Caltech researchers have found evidence of a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system. The object, which the researchers have nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the sun on average than does Neptune (which orbits the sun ... 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 »

Saturn’s Moon Enceladus Has a Global Ocean

NASA JPL September 15, 2015 A global ocean lies beneath the icy crust of Saturn’s geologically active moon Enceladus, according to new research using data from NASA’s Cassini mission. Researchers found the magnitude of the moon’s very slight wobble, as it orbits Saturn, can only be accounted for if its outer ice shell is not frozen solid to its interior, ... Read More »

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