Planets and space bodies - page 5

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Large underground ocean on Ganymede, Jupiter's largest moon

Hubble Space Telescope has the best evidence yet for an underground saltwater ocean on Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon. The subterranean ocean is thought to have more water than all the water on Earth's surface. Identifying liquid water is crucial in the

March 21, 2015

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MAVEN detects unexpected aurora and mysterious dust cloud around Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft has observed two unexpected phenomena in the Martian atmosphere: an unexplained high-altitude dust cloud and aurora that reaches deep into the Martian atmosphere.The presence of the dust at orbital altitudes from

March 19, 2015

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Saturn's moon Enceladus exhibits signs of hydrothermal activity

Data obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft provided first clear evidence that Saturn's moon Enceladus exhibits signs of present-day hydrothermal activity which may resemble that seen in the deep oceans on Earth. The implications of such activity on a world

March 15, 2015

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"Baffling" Mars plumes are electric

Science news headlines around the world tell of a baffling mystery on the planet Mars. In March of 2012, amateur astronomers spotted enormous plumes jetting from the Martian surface. The plumes were more than 250 km high and several hundreds of kilometers in length.Simi

March 15, 2015

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Research suggests Mars had an ocean that covered approximately 20% of the planet

Isotopic measurements by researchers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center reveal that Mars once had an ocean that covered approximately twenty percent of the planet.Geronimo Villanueva, scientists at Goddard, said their study provides a solid estimate of how much w

March 06, 2015

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Dawn spacecraft arrives at dwarf planet Ceres

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has reached dwarf planet Ceres and achieved orbit around it on Friday, March 6, 2015. Dawn was approximately 61 000 km (38 000 miles) away from Ceres when it was captured by its gravity at about 12:39 UTC.Mission controllers at NASA’s Je

March 06, 2015

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Giant methane storms on Uranus

Most of the times we have looked at Uranus, it has seemed to be a relatively calm place. Well, yes its atmosphere is the coldest place in the solar system. But, when we picture the seventh planet in our solar system invariably the image of a calming blue hazy disc that

March 02, 2015

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Earth’s other ‘moon’ and its crazy orbit could reveal mysteries of the solar system

We all know and love the moon. We’re so assured that we only have one that we don’t even give it a specific name. It is the brightest object in the night sky, and amateur astronomers take great delight in mapping its craters and seas. To date, it is the only

February 25, 2015

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New Horizons spots small moons orbiting Pluto

Exactly 85 years after Clyde Tombaugh’s historic discovery of Pluto, the New Horizons spacecraft set to encounter the icy dwarf planet this summer is providing its first views of the small moons orbiting Pluto. The moons Nix and Hydra are visible in a series of im

February 19, 2015

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Massive clouds erupted 260 km into Martian atmosphere - and no one knows why

Enormous cloud-like plumes reaching 260km above the surface of Mars have left scientists baffled. This is way beyond Mars’s normal weather, reaching into the exosphere where the atmosphere merges with interplanetary space. None of the conventional explanations

February 17, 2015

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Swarm of scientific microprobes to the clouds of Jupiter in 2030

A swarm of tiny probes each equipped with a different sensor could be fired into the clouds of Jupiter and grab data as they fall before burning up in the gas giant planet's atmosphere, according to a recently presented concept in International Journal of Space Scie

January 26, 2015

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New Horizons wakes up for historic Pluto encounter

New Horizons woke up from hibernation on December 6, 2014 after a 4.8 billion km voyage (3 billion miles) and almost nine years after launch. The spacecraft is now preparing for a six-month encounter with Pluto that begins in January 2015. This mission will complete

December 08, 2014

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Smallest exoplanet found to have water vapour

The smallest exoplanet (about the size of Neptune) HAT-P-11b have been discovered to have clear skies and steamy water vapors as observed by astronomers using data from three of NASA's space telescopes - Hubble, Spitzer and Kepler.John Grunsfeld, assistant administr

October 05, 2014

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Curiosity rover takes first sample of Mount Sharp

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has collected its first sample of the layered mountain whose scientific allure drew the mission to choose this part of Mars as a landing site.Late Wednesday, September 24, the rover's hammering drill chewed about 6.7 centimeters (2.6

September 27, 2014

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MAVEN returns its first Mars observations

Just after arrival, NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN), the first spacecraft sent to explore the tenuous upper atmosphere of Mars, has started working on it's mission. Within 24 hours of being placed in the Red Planet's orbit, the spacec

September 26, 2014

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Martian geology continues to baffle scientists

The official geological history of the planet Mars is a confused and murky tale filled with contradictions and shifting narratives. Astonishing scientific data obtained in the last decade has only deepened the storyteller’s confusion. At the recent 8th Internation

September 02, 2014

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Colliding atmospheres - Mars vs Comet Siding Spring

It's a known fact that planets have atmospheres, but the same can't be said for comets. The atmosphere of a comet, called its "coma," is made of gas and dust that spew out of the sun-warmed nucleus and it's typically wider than Jupiter.La

August 13, 2014