Solar System

  • Terraforming Mars, the Noble Experiment?
    Mars Society founder, Robert Zubrin, talks about how to terraform the red planet. His engineer's eye reveals his robust plans for not just getting to a new home, but also how to build one from scratch.
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  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ozone
    This week NASA will add to its tools for tracking changes in the global climate with the launch of the Aura spacecraft. Primarily geared to imaging atmospheric changes, Aura will answer questions about ozone: the good, the bad and what makes Earth unique among
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  • Freeze-Dried Water Yields Magnetic Dust
    The joke goes that nothing is defined as freeze-dried water. But add dust to freeze-dried water and one may get close to a simulation on Mars. A Danish magnetic experiment seeks to capture and sort the dusty atmosphere on the red planet.
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  • Get in Line to Find Extrasolar Planet
    The largest continental telescope also sees in the darkest sky. Using a novel method to queue its best exposures on a schedule with the full moon, the West Texas observatory has identified its first extrasolar planet around a star comparable in composition to our own
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  • Tracking Halloween Blast Wave
    Last Halloween, our Sun released the most powerful storm ever recorded. Although this electromagnetic blast-wave did not damage terrestrial satellites, a fleet of instruments elsewhere in the solar system saw its deleterious effects from Mars to Saturn.
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  • Saturn’s Rings in Ultraviolet
    Short-wavelength images of Saturn's rings are sensitive to ice content and show that the outer rings are higher in water-ice than inner ones. According to Colorado researchers, these spectra give clues to the ring's origins. The Cassini images in UV are ten times better than
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  • The Martian Marathon
    Twin rovers on opposite sides of the planet have nearly opposite terrain in front of them. Spirit looks to climb the largest hills in sight, while Opportunity looks to descend into the largest crater in sight. As Spirit has already exceeded twice its nominal
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  • Dirty Dozen Wheels Down
    Steve Squyres summarizes his first half-year on Mars, as the mission progressed from first images to twelve wheels roaming the red planet.
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  • Investigating Endurance Crater
    NASA's Opportunity rover has spent the past few weeks exploring Endurance Crater in Meridiani Planum. Steve Squyres, principal investigator for the rover mission, spoke recently with Astrobiology Magazine's managing editor Henry Bortman.
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  • Spirit Explores the Columbia Hills
    After a long trek across the floor of Gusev Crater, NASA's Spirit rover arrived late last month at the base of the Columbia Hills. Scientists believe that the hills are older than the surrounding plain, and holds clues to Gusev's more-distant past.
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  • Mapping Titan
    Cassini's visible and infrared mapping spectrometer pierced the smog that enshrouds Titan. Dark regions of relatively pure water ice were found mixed with lighter regions of simple hydrocarbons.
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  • Oxygen in Saturn’s E Ring
    While en route to Saturn, Cassini detected a sudden, massive buildup of oxygen in the planet's E ring. Where did all that oxygen come from? No-one knows for sure. But now that Cassini's gotten a little closer to the ringed world, scientists are hopeful that
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  • Titan’s Strange Surface
    New images and spectroscopic data of the surface of Titan, Saturn's largest moon, have puzzled NASA scientists. Light areas once thought to be pure water ice are instead regions likely contaminated by organic materials.
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  • Death Down Asteroid Alley
    The nearest sun-like star, Tau Ceti, has been a candidate that might harbor life. At 12 light-years, the star has the right location and luminosity, but according to recent observation, Tau Ceti hosts ten times the flux of meteors and comets.
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  • Titanic Thinking in Pictures
    Robotic missions have returned images from the surfaces of Venus, Mars and even asteroids, but when the Huygens probe tries to capture topography from Saturn's largest moon, Titan, the landscape may rival science fiction in the descriptions of how exotic another world might look.
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