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18 April 2017

Mercury’s craters offer clues to planet’s contraction

Mercury’s craters offer clues to planet’s contraction

Craters serve as time-markers for the faults because they can be dated by how degraded they appear. The more degraded looking craters are older. Those that have sharper features are younger, and those with bright rays of debris radiating around them are youngest of all.

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22 March 2017

Ice in Ceres’ shadowed craters linked to tilt history

Ice in Ceres' shadowed craters linked to tilt history

Researchers from NASA’s Dawn mission find that the axial tilt of Ceres — the angle at which it spins as it journeys around the sun — varies widely over the course of about 24,500 years. Astronomers consider this to be a surprisingly short period of time for such dramatic deviations.

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27 December 2016

Random temperature fluctuations may have made Earth habitable

Random temperature fluctuations may have made Earth habitable

Random temperature fluctuations in the mantle and on the planet’s surface could be the reason Earth is a habitable world with moving tectonic plates while other terrestrial planets in the solar system are inhospitable worlds, according to new research.

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3 November 2016

Rare molecule on Venus could shed light on planet’s weather

Rare molecule on Venus could shed light on planet’s weather

Scientists’ keen detective work may have solved one of Venus’s oldest secrets: why the planet’s atmosphere absorbs ultraviolet light of a specific frequency. The new findings could help scientists better understand Venus’s thick atmosphere and its heat-trapping clouds, according to the study’s authors.

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29 September 2016

Research suggests Saturn’s moon Dione may harbor a subsurface ocean

Research suggests Saturn’s moon Dione may harbor a subsurface ocean

A subsurface ocean could lie deep within Saturn’s moon Dione, according to a new study using publicly available data from the Cassini mission to Saturn. In 2013, images from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft hinted that Dione had a subsurface ocean when the moon formed, but the new study suggests the ocean could still exist today.

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1 September 2016

Sulfur, sulfur dioxide and graphitized carbon observed on asteroid for first time

Sulfur, sulfur dioxide and graphitized carbon observed on asteroid for first time

Hubble Space Telescope observations of the dwarf planet Ceres have discovered the first evidence of sulfur, sulfur dioxide and graphitized carbon found on an asteroid. The sulfur species are likely associated with regions of recent activity, according to the authors of a new study detailing the findings.

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11 August 2016

Climate modeling suggests Venus may have been habitable

Climate modeling suggests Venus may have been habitable

Venus may have had a shallow liquid-water ocean and habitable surface temperatures for up to 2 billion years of its early history, according to computer modeling of the planet’s ancient climate by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.

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7 July 2016

Future astronauts might not be able to use water on Mars, study suggests

Future astronauts might not be able to use water on Mars, study suggests

Last year, scientists made a splash with the news that dark streaks on the Martian surface were signs of flowing liquid water. So far, they have been unable to determine where the water is coming from, but a new study uses recently acquired data of a large canyon system on Mars to eliminate some of the possibilities.

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22 June 2016

Research bolsters case for a present-day subsurface ocean on Pluto

Research bolsters case for a present-day subsurface ocean on Pluto

An updated thermal model for Pluto suggests that liquid water beneath the dwarf planet’s ice shell may not be frozen yet.

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21 June 2016

Saturn moon Enceladus’ ice shell likely thinner than expected

Saturn moon Enceladus’ ice shell likely thinner than expected

A vast ocean of water beneath the icy crust of Saturn’s moon Enceladus may be more accessible than previously thought, according to new research. A new study has revealed that near the moon’s poles, the ice covering Enceladus could be just two kilometers (one mile) thick—the thinnest known ice shell of any ocean-covered moon. The discovery not only changes scientists’ understanding of Enceladus’ structure, but also makes the moon a more appealing target for future exploration, according to the study’s authors.

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