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29 May 2018
Encircling Earth are two enormous rings — called the Van Allen radiation belts — of highly energized ions and electrons. Various processes can accelerate these particles to relativistic speeds, which endanger spacecraft unlucky enough to enter these giant bands of damaging radiation. Scientists had previously identified certain factors that might cause particles in the belts to become highly energized, but they had not known which cause dominates. Now, with new research from NASA’s Van Allen Probes and Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms — THEMIS — missions, published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, the verdict is in.
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.
1 May 2018
Far across the solar system, from where Earth appears merely as a pale blue dot, NASA’s Galileo spacecraft spent eight years orbiting Jupiter. During that time, the hearty spacecraft — slightly larger than a full-grown giraffe — sent back spates of discoveries on the gas giant’s moons, including the observation of a magnetic environment around Ganymede that was distinct from Jupiter’s own magnetic field. The mission ended in 2003, but newly resurrected data from Galileo’s first flyby of Ganymede is yielding new insights about the moon’s environment — which is unlike any other in the solar system.
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.
20 February 2018
The elusive “footprint” of Jupiter’s moon Callisto has been spotted for the first time near the south pole of the giant planet, according to a new study.
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.