You are browsing the archive for Planetary science.
10 July 2018
Scientists have discovered hundreds of crescent-shaped pits on Mars where sand dunes stood billions of years ago. The curves of these ancient dune impressions record the direction of prevailing winds on the Red Planet, providing potential clues to Mars’s past climate, and may hold evidence of ancient life.
22 May 2018
Titan’s windswept dunes may sprawl millions of more kilometers than previously thought and were likely formed by geological processes similar to those on Earth, according to a new study. The new findings could help scientists look for life or its molecular precursors on Saturn’s largest moon.
3 May 2018
Future astronauts spending long periods of time on the Moon could suffer bronchitis and other health problems by inhaling tiny particles of dust from its surface, according to new research. A new study finds simulated lunar soil is toxic to human lung and mouse brain cells. Up to 90 percent of human lung cells and mouse neurons died when exposed to dust particles that mimic soils found on the Moon’s surface.
28 February 2018
A new explanation for the Moon’s origin has it forming inside the Earth when our planet was a seething, spinning cloud of vaporized rock, called a synestia.
6 February 2018
New research provides insight into the Moon’s excessive equatorial bulge, a feature that solidified in place over four billion years ago as the Moon gradually distanced itself from the Earth. A new study sets parameters on how quickly the Moon could have receded from the Earth and suggests the nascent planet’s hydrosphere was either non-existent or still frozen at the time, indirectly supporting the theory of a fainter, weaker Sun that at the time radiated around 30 percent less energy than it does today.
5 January 2018
A team of scientists are examining crushed rocks brought back from the moon by Apollo astronauts for evidence of minerals that might have been formed in the presence of water to better understand the early formation of Earth. They presented the preliminary results of their work last month at the 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in New Orleans.
18 December 2017
Speeding through the atmosphere high above Jupiter’s equator is an east–west jet stream that reverses course on a schedule almost as predictable as a Tokyo train’s. Now, a NASA-led team has identified which type of wave forces this jet to change direction.
15 December 2017
A global view of some well-known deformation features on Venus’s surface may indicate it’s capable of crustal motion, and that motion might even be happening today, scientists report.
22 November 2017
Planetary scientists have discovered a rare ‘esker’ on Mars – a ridge of sediment deposited by meltwater flowing beneath a glacier in the relatively recent past (about 110 million years ago), despite the widely-held view that the recent climate was too cold for ice to melt.
21 November 2017
A research team took to the lab to recreate the magmatic melt that once formed the lunar surface and uncovered new insights on how the modern moonscape came to be. Their study found found that one of the great mysteries of the lunar body’s formation – how it could develop a crust composed largely of just one mineral – cannot be explained by the initial crust formation and must have been the result of some secondary event.