Solar System

  • Saturn, Spot On
    As the Cassini-Huygens probe approaches Saturn, another stunning image of the moons surrounding this ringed world presents more mysteries as scientists seek to understand whether water circulation contributes to Saturn's cloud-top patterns.
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  • Water Evidence from Mars’ Spirit
    Drilling deep into a scalloped rock at Gusev crater, the Spirit rover uncovered cracking and more evidence of water. One intriguing result that scientists hope to probe further is why the concentrations of bromine and chlorine salt have not remained in a fixed ratio
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  • Titan’s Southern Smile
    Observations taken atop the Chilean mountains reveal strange atmospheric patches on Saturn's largest moon, Titan. Although seen from the Hubble space telescope, the thick smog on Titan has proven a difficult photographic opportunity.
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  • How Many Earths?
    About half of hundred solar systems with known planets may hold potential Earths. Simulating whether such stars and outer planets might eject an Earth-like world, the results also suggest another possibility, a habitable moon around a much larger Jupiter-like world.
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  • Titan’s Lapping Oil Waves
    Saturn's moon, Titan, is thought to harbor lakes of hydrocarbons. By modelling these waves using Titan's gravity, scientists predict seven times higher crests spaced widely apart compared to similar inputs on Earth.
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  • Methane on Mars?
    Two ground-based telescopes probing the question, 'is there methane on Mars?', first gave intriguing results. Now as confirmed by the orbiting Mars Express, the hint of martian methane raises a few more questions since methane, as one of four biologically-important gases, does not survive for
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  • Mars, the Evocative Garbage
    Using cameras from orbit and on the surface, scientists have been able to find debris from all parts of the rovers' descent and operations. Leaving behind space hardware as these mobile laboratories travel towards the horizon gives pause to reflect on them as 'messages
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  • Annexing Mars
    Terraforming, the global alteration of climate and living conditions on another world, was once solely the province of science fiction. A distinguished panel of scientists will discuss the possibilities and ramifications of terraforming Mars with some of science fiction's most prominent authors.
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  • Around the Hills in 90 Sols
    The Mars Spirit rover will soon turn its first three months on the surface into an extended mission schedule. The team that had to rotate their sleep and work cycles to accomodate the longer martian days will get relief.
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  • Different Flavors of Blueberries
    Sampling five differently colored soil spots, the Opportunity rover team began seeing the variety of spherules or 'blueberries' that have scattered across the rover's landing site. As a key indicator that once a shallow, salty and acidic lake once gently lapped against these
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  • The Best and Worst of Mars’  Coverage
    Reader comments on Mars missions coverage is compiled with a few answers from the scientists on the front-line of the most recent discoveries.
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  • Mars: Just Scratching the Surface?
    One of the great martian puzzles has been why patterned soil at the poles forms spirals. Nowhere else in the solar system is this seen. A new study may have cracked the problem, by showing a freeze-thaw cycle that simulates the unusual martian spirals.
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  • Eagle Eye on Opportunity’s Crater
    After slippage first prevented the Opportunity rover from escaping a crater, now informally called Eagle Crater, the wheels traversed a different route as the rover turned and took another startling panorama of what has been its home base.
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  • Martian Salty Sea
    Did Mars once have a salty sea? Two new lines of evidence suggest that layered rocks have embedded ripples (called crossbedding), along with high salt concentrations. These hints point to what may once have been a shoreline to a salty sea, according to mission
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  • Opportunity Finds Beachfront Property on Mars
    NASA scientists have determined that the bedrock outcrop in Eagle Crater, where Opportunity landed, formed in liquid water. The new discovery makes Meridiani Planum a prime target for future exploration.
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