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1 July 2020

How to design continents for maximum tides

A new study simulates ocean tides on imaginary Earth-like worlds, revealing the limits of topography’s influence on tidal energy


16 April 2018

Sols 2025-2026: From Float Rocks to Suilven Ripple

Over the weekend Curiosity completed a 13 meter drive from some interesting float rocks including some potential breccias to ‘Suilven Ripple’, a sand ripple where it will characterize the grain sizes and ripple morphology.


16 December 2017

1904-1905: Curiosity’s Arm Workout

We had some nice data (from Curiosity), including a gorgeous image of a finely-layered rock named ‘Trotternish.’


20 October 2012

Earth-sized planet discovered around Alpha Centauri!

Science fiction fans have been awaiting this news for decades: new results from the European Southern Observatory’s HARPS (High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher) reveal that there is an Earth-sized planet orbiting the nearest star system to Earth.


3 February 2011

Planets, Planets Everywhere!

For there is a single general space, a single vast immensity which we may freely call Void; in it are innumerable globes like this one on which we live and grow. – Giordano Bruno, 1584 It’s looking more and more like Bruno was right. Yesterday the Kepler Space Telescope released its second batch of data, revealing an astounding 1235 new exoplanet candidates! For the uninitiated, Kepler is a space telescope …


7 January 2011

Strange New Worlds

I realized relatively recently that I like planets and I like speculative fiction for basically the same reason: strange new worlds just fire up my imagination.  That’s the topic of my latest post over at Science in my Fiction, where I take a look at some spectacular and bizarre real (or at least realistic) planetary locations that I think would be great settings for some sci-fi. I got a little …


1 November 2010

Planets Like Grains of Sand

The other day I came across a press release announcing that nearly one in four sun-like stars could have planets as small as Earth. That’s pretty awesome! But I though it was especially interesting how they came up with this number. Current technology can’t quite see an Earth-sized planet around a sun-like star, so how do you count things that you can’t see? Well, you count everything else and then extrapolate.