Solar System

  • Smoking Craters: Home to Martian Life?
    Mars may be smaller than Earth, but it's still huge to a roving spacecraft that can cover only 100 meters a day. For that reason, Mars mission planners must go to great lengths to find landing sites that might still carry evidence that life once
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  • Leonids Meteor Shower  Peaks
    This week's Leonids meteor show has the astrobiologists looking with cameras, microphones that might signal more intriguing insights into this space debris.
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    Jupiter's moon, Io, blasted a volcanic eruption miles high and visible to ground telescopes in Hawaii. The eruption site is larger in surface area than all of Los Angeles or London.
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  • Venusian Cloud Colonies
    Thick Venusian clouds mask a dense greenhouse atmosphere that is inhospitably hot. But 30 miles up from the surface, conditions suggest a more temperate zone. Some scientists wonder what strange equilibrium sustains a reactive gas mixture that shouldn't co-exist there: exotic biology or not?
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  • Early Wild Success for Stardust
    The first sample return mission planned since 1972-the last moon landing-passed the asteroid Annefrank, on its way to the comet called Wild 2.
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  • Titan in View
    The Saturn-bound Cassini spacecraft gets its first view of Saturn and its biochemically-rich moon, Titan.
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  • Galileo Flyby: Extreme Explorers Hall of Fame
    The Jupiter probe, Galileo, is this week's selection for the Extreme Explorers Hall of Fame. In the next ten days, the robotic spacecraft flies within 100 miles of the unusual moon, Amalthea, which gives off more heat than it receives. As Galileo has filled its
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  • Solar Spectacular
    Prominent solar activity noted from southern pole of sun.
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  • When Did Life on Earth Begin? Ask a Rock
    Some of the oldest rocks on Earth, found in Greenland, hold important clues to life's beginnings. The problem is, experts disagree both about how to interpret the clues and about how old the rocks really are.
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  • The Sun Also Rises Twice
    The startling effect of twin shadows and dual sunrises would make for double-vision on the first planet found orbiting a closely-coupled binary star system.
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  • Beyond Pluto: Ice Planet
    The Hubble Telescope astronomers have found beyond Pluto, a distant object with the volume of all the asteroids combined. Unlike the long-contested 'Planet X', this candidate is one of a myriad of exotic, comet-like worlds (otherwise known as 'Kuiper Belt Objects', or KBOs).
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  • Amateur Astronomers Hunt Planet
    Enlisting help for sighting a star as it dims when a planetary candidate passes across the star's face.
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  • Water Worlds
    Italian astronomers report on a method for water detection on extrasolar planets and cometary clouds, and their shortlist of candidates with promising initial findings from the 32-meter Medicina radio telescope.
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  • Five Year Retrospective: Mars Pathfinder
    Five years ago today, on September 27, 1997, the Mars Pathfinder lander began to tally up its remarkable mission history. The excitement was non-stop beginning only 3 minutes after landing, when the first signals of success came back to rapt Earth-bound listeners.
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  • Shortlisting Stars With Planetary Systems
    Markus Landgraf and European Space Agency colleagues explore the first direct evidence of dust rings in our solar system, and propose a novel way to shortlist stars with likely extrasolar planets.
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