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You are browsing the archive for planetary science Archives - AGU Blogosphere.

3 June 2022

6.5-Extinctions: Dinosaurs, volcanoes, the space station, oh my!

Join us for our next six-part miniseries on Extinctions as we learn about the demise of the dinosaurs, what makes a comet “extinct,” the Cambrian and Triassic periods, volcanoes, and the aforementioned (planned) fiery end of the International Space Station!

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6 May 2022

3-True story: A Martian on Earth

Tanya Harrison never thought she was going to be an astronaut. But she was determined to go to space. And she did just that – through satellites, first to Mars, and now looking back at our own third rock from the Sun as she uses satellites to map places near and far. We talked with her about what it’s like to be a Martian, making science more accessible to those …

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22 April 2022

True (science) stories you’ve never heard before

Third Pod from the Sun is back, and we’re going weekly! Join us as we combat misconceptions about sharks, learn how to lasso lizards, hear from a Martian here on Earth, spark science joy via Tiktok, journey to Antarctica, and fight over food with some capuchins!

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27 April 2021

What’s It Like Pretending to Live on Mars?

If someone offered you the chance to drop everything, fly to Hawaii, and spend four months trapped in a dome with seven strangers in the name of science, would you do it? For writer Kate Greene, the answer to that question was a resounding “yes.” Greene was one of eight people selected to crew the very first HI-SEAS Mars analogue mission in 2013. 

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12 October 2020

Final Frontier? The Evolution of Planetary Science Missions

The latest episode of Third Pod from the Sun features an interview with planetary scientist Fran Bagenal, who has had a fascinating career working on NASA missions from Voyager to Juno and New Horizons. Currently working at the University of Colorado Boulder, Bagenal provides an overarching view of the different planetary missions going back a few decades and describes how the research and findings have built upon the innovations and discoveries that came before.

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12 May 2020

New evidence of watery plumes on Jupiter’s moon Europa

Scientists are keen to explore beneath Europa’s thick blanket of ice, and they can do so indirectly by hunting for evidence of activity emanating from below. A new study published in the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters, did exactly this.

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Sounding Saturn’s depths with its seismic icy rings

The secrets of Saturn’s veiled interior are leaking out by way of the planet’s spectacular rings, according to a line of research that has taken four decades to come to fruition. In the last few years, what was first considered a sort of wacky hypothesis – that scientists can use Saturn’s rings to learn about  its structure — has turned into a singular window into Saturn’s surprisingly fluid and leviathan depths.

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14 January 2020

Final images from Cassini spacecraft

For the last leg of its journey, Cassini was put on a particularly daring orbit passing between Saturn and its rings which brought it closer to Saturn than ever before. This allowed scientists to obtain images of Saturn’s ultraviolet auroras in unprecedented resolution. The new observations are detailed in two new studies published in the AGU journals.

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3 December 2019

New study finds the mix that makes Titan’s lakes spew nitrogen bubbles

In a new study published in AGU’s journal Geophysical Research Letters, researchers simulated Titan’s lakes in a pressurized chamber. They found the right combination of methane, ethane and nitrogen crucial for bubbles to form. It is possible these bubble outbreaks are strong enough to shape river deltas in bodies of liquid on the moon.

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1 October 2019

Water distribution affects exoplanets’ habitable zone

A new study finds land planets, which have equal to or less than 10 percent of the volume of Earth’s water, can remain habitable at a closer distance to their host star if most of their water is at the planet’s poles. This means the habitable zone for these types of planets may be different than previously assumed.

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23 September 2019

Ice islands on Mars and Pluto could reveal past climate change

Many of the craters of Mars and Pluto feature relatively small ice islands unattached to their polar ice caps. These ice islands could be records of past climate change on Mars and Pluto, and could also provide clues about the workings of Martian water and ice, according to a new study in AGU’s Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.

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New study complicates theory that ancient impact pierced Moon’s crust

A new study finds the crater’s crust mainly consists of a common lunar crustal mineral not detected in earlier analyses. The new results suggest the basin floor may not have exposed lunar mantle material as previously reported. “We are not seeing the mantle materials at the (Chang’E 4) landing site as expected,” said Hao Zhang, a planetary scientist at the China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, China, and a co-author of the new study. 

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18 September 2019

New study suggests gigantic masses in Earth’s mantle untouched for more than 4 billion years

Ancient, distinct, continent-sized regions of rocks, isolated since before the collision that created the Moon 4.5 billion years ago, exist hundreds of miles below the Earth’s crust, offering a window into the building blocks of our planet, according to new research.

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5 September 2019

Making sense of Saturn’s impossible rotation

Saturn may be doing a little electromagnetic shimmy and twist which has been throwing off attempts by scientists to determine how long it takes for the planet to rotate on its axis, according to a new study.

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3 September 2019

Mercury’s ancient magnetic field likely evolved over time

Mercury’s ancient magnetic poles were far from the location of its poles today, implying its magnetic field, like Earth’s, changed over time, a new study says.

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25 June 2019

Ice-squeezed aquifers might create marsquakes

As the Mars InSight lander begins listening to the interior of Mars, some scientists are already proposing that some marsquakes could be signals of groundwater beneath the frozen surface of the Red Planet. The idea, proposed by Michael Manga, a planetary scientist at the University of California at Berkeley, and his colleagues, is that Mars could be experiencing quakes a lot like those being felt in Oklahoma and Texas due to wastewater injections from fracking. 

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18 April 2019

The Moon’s crust is really cracked

The bombardment of asteroids and meteoroids that pockmarked the Moon’s surface over the eons also created fractures reaching deep into the lunar crust, report researchers in a new study in AGU’s Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.

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26 February 2019

New map reveals geology and history of Pluto’s moon Charon

What a difference a planetary flyby makes. Pluto’s moon Charon — once no more than a fuzzy blob of pixels beside a larger blob — now has its first geological map, published in AGU’s Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.

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30 January 2019

New study estimates amount of water in near-Earth space rocks

The study’s authors estimate there are between 400 and 1200 billion kilograms (440 to 1.3 billion U.S. tons) of water that could be extracted from the minerals in these asteroids. In liquid terms, that’s between 400 billion and 1,200 billion liters (100 billion and 400 billion U.S. gallons) of water. That’s enough to fill between 160,000 and 480,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

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27 December 2018

Rings make Saturn shadier, bluer and less hazy in winter

Saturn’s rings act like Venetian blinds that block sunlight for the hemisphere that’s tilted farther away from the Sun, limiting winter sunlight. This cuts down on the planet’s haze and golden glow.

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