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19 September 2017

Researchers identify ‘substantial’ amount of Mercury’s water ice

Researchers have identified three new craters and four small-scale cold traps on Mercury filled with surface ice and suspect the planet may harbor many smaller patches of exposed ice too small to observe directly. The newly observed ice makes a substantial contribution to the amount of exposed ice thought to exist on Mercury’s surface, which the researchers estimate to be approximately 3,400 square kilometers (1,313 square miles), or just smaller than Rhode Island in size.

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13 September 2017

Early volcanic activity may have caused bumps to erupt across lunar plains

Scientists have discovered a new feature on the surface of the Moon: small mounds that grew on its dark plains, likely from volcanic activity.

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24 July 2017

NASA mission surfs through waves in space to understand space weather

The space surrounding our planet is full of restless charged particles and roiling electric and magnetic fields, which create waves around Earth. One type of wave, plasmaspheric hiss, is particularly important for removing charged particles from the Van Allen radiation belts, a seething coil of particles encircling Earth, which can interfere with satellites and telecommunications. A new study in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, used data from NASA’s Van Allen Probes spacecraft to discover that hiss is more complex than previously understood.

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19 May 2017

Early Tanpopo mission results show microbes can survive in space

Clumps of microbes can survive in space for at least a year – and perhaps longer, according to Japanese researchers conducting an experiment on board the International Space Station (ISS).

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17 April 2017

Why can we see and hear meteors at the same time?

Light travels nearly a million times faster than sound. But for thousands of years, humans have reported hearing some meteors as they pass overhead, puzzling scientists for decades. Now, a new study puts forth a simple explanation for the phenomenon.

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4 April 2017

Impending weak solar activity could expose aircrews to higher radiation levels

Aircrews and frequent fliers may soon experience an uptick in radiation exposure due to the upcoming low point in the solar cycle, when weak solar activity provides less protection against cosmic rays entering the atmosphere.

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3 April 2017

Untangling Uranus’s topsy-turvy magnetosphere

New observations of Uranus being buffeted by shock waves from the sun have revealed auroral activity and fresh clues to the workings of the seventh planet’s unusual magnetosphere, the region of space dominated by its magnetic field.

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29 March 2017

New study shows how impacts generated Martian tsunamis

A study published last year interpreted images of the red planet and suggested the deposits were made by impact-generated tsunamis more than 3 billion years ago. In a new study, Costard and his colleagues independently build on that work by including the geological characteristics of the deposits and modeling how impact-generated tsunamis could have created them. They conclude the deposits may have come from asteroids slamming into a northern ocean billions of years ago, generating waves 300 meters (nearly 1,000 feet) high.

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27 December 2016

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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7 July 2016

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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