Planets and space bodies

global aurora mars september 2017

Large solar storm sparks global aurora and doubles radiation levels on Martian surface

When charged particles from a solar storm reached Mars this month, they set off an aurora 25 times brighter and surface level radiation readings twice as high as any previous measurements. An unexpectedly strong blast from the Sun hit Mars this month, observed by...

September 29, 2017

saturn aurora nasa

Saturn's 'weird' magnetic field perplexes scientists

The Cassini probe's first results from inside Saturn's rings make scientists question the conventional wisdom on how planets form magnetic fields. As NASA's Cassini spacecraft makes its unprecedented series of weekly dives between Saturn and its rings,...

July 27, 2017

artist impression new horizons encounters kbo 2014 mu69

New mysteries surround MU69, New Horizons' next flyby target

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft doesn't zoom past its next science target until New Year's Day 2019, but the Kuiper Belt object, known as 2014 MU69, is already revealing surprises. Scientists have been sifting through data gathered from observing the...

July 08, 2017

planet 10 new planet kuiper belt

Study suggests another large planetary body exists in Solar System

A new study from the University of Arizona suggests that an unknown, and currently unseen planetary body exists in the outer reaches of our solar system. The planet is located far beyond Pluto and has a mass somewhere between that of Mars and Earth. This object is...

June 23, 2017

electric jupiter and its many surprises

Electric Jupiter and its many surprises

Scientists working on NASA’s historic Juno mission to the gas giant Jupiter have recently presented their early findings for the first time. Like so many other recent space missions, what they have discovered is not what they expected. As reported by New...

June 15, 2017

enceladus spin axis tilted due to asteroid impact

Enceladus' spin axis may have tilted due to asteroid impact

Cassini mission scientists found evidence that Saturn's icy, ocean-bearing moon Enceladus may have tipped over in the distant past. Its spin axis, the line through the north and south poles, has reoriented, possibly due to a collision with a smaller body such as...

May 31, 2017

juno results

Juno mission rewrites what we know about Jupiter

NASA’s Juno mission, led by Southwest Research Institute’s Dr. Scott Bolton, is rewriting what scientists thought they knew about Jupiter specifically, and gas giants in general, according to a pair of Science papers released today. The Juno spacecraft...

May 26, 2017

worcester crater mars

Mars Express finds remnants of mega-flood on Mars

Mars Express has captured images of one of the largest outflow channel networks on the Red Planet, providing evidence of ancient mega-flood on Mars, ESA announced today. The Kasei Valles channel system extends around 3 000 km (1 864 miles) from its source region in...

March 02, 2017

dust devils on mars

Dust devils on Mars

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has begun a second campaign of investigating active sand dunes on the northwestern flank of Mount Sharp, inside the 160 km (100 miles) wide Gale Crater. The rover also has been observing whirlwinds carrying dust and checking how far...

February 28, 2017

saturn cassini december2 featured

Cassini's new mission shows Saturn in a different light

The Cassini spacecraft has sent the first images of Saturn's atmosphere since the start of its new mission phase. The images reveal the planet's northern hemisphere as well as its unique hexagon jet stream. The newest phase of the NASA's Cassini...

December 07, 2016

sputnik planitia pluto featured

Ice accumulations tilt Pluto and rearrange its surface

New research suggests the Sputnik Planitia basin on Pluto may have assumed its current location because of the change in the spin of the dwarf planet. The Sputnik Planitia is a 1 000 km (621.4 miles) wide basin situated in the heart-shaped region of the Pluto's...

November 18, 2016

saturn hexagon golden featured

Saturn's hexagon has mysteriously changed color

Saturn's famous hexagon, a structure on the planet's north pole has changed its color from blue to gold over the last four years. The cause is still unknown, and researchers are working to figure it out. The hexagon, a six-sided jet stream, is about 32 000...

October 27, 2016

artist view of plume on Europa f

High altitude water plumes erupting off the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa

Astronomers have again imaged what may be water vapor plumes erupting off the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa, bolstering other observations suggesting the icy moon erupts with high altitude water plumes. The observation increases the possibility that missions...

September 26, 2016

chandra_sees_pluto_emitting_x rays_f

New insight into the space environment surrounding Pluto

Chandra X-ray Observatory was aimed several times at Pluto from February 2014 through August 2015 and made a surprising detection of X-rays being emitted from this largest and best-known object in the Solar System's outermost regions. The observations offer new...

September 19, 2016

jupiter_by_juno_27aug2016_f

Juno takes first-ever images of Jupiter's north pole, sees weather activity unlike anything seen before

NASA's Juno spacecraft has executed the first of 36 orbital flybys on August 27, 2016, when it came about 4 200 km (2 500 miles) above Jupiter's swirling clouds. It was Juno's first flyby with instruments switch on and it sent back first-ever images of...

September 02, 2016

venus_feat

Venus' early climate could have sustained life

New research, led by scientists from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, suggests Venus and Earth closely resembled each other during the early days of the Solar System, between one and two billion years ago. Venus, now the hottest planet in our Solar...

August 09, 2016

venus_cloud_tops_feat

Venus weather patterns reveal planet's surface

New research, based on data from ESA's Venus Express satellite, for the first time reveals how the weather patterns on Venus are directly connected to the surface topography of the planet. Results suggest the Venus' thick cloud cover could offer further...

July 30, 2016