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Solar System


— Space

Astronomers discover Jupiter's twin orbiting a distant Sun-like star

By - July 20, 2015 1 Picture

A team of international astronomers has discovered a gas giant orbiting a distant star with characteristics remarkably similar to those of our own Jovian planet, Jupiter. The significance of the discovery is that the gas giant was found to orbit roughly the same distance from its host star HIP 11915, as Jupiter does from the Sun. This positioning may have profound implications for creating conditions favorable to the development of a habitable Earth-like planet in HIP 11915's inner solar system.

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— Space

NASA settles on its toolkit for mission to explore Europa

By - May 26, 2015 3 Pictures

Even though it is around the same size as our own Moon and a whole lot farther from the Sun, Jupiter's moon Europa is considered one of our solar system's most likely candidates for harboring extraterrestrial life. A deep and mysterious ocean is thought to exist below its icy crust and has beckoned scientists for more than a decade. NASA is in the process of conceptualizing a future mission to explore Europa, and has now confirmed which scientific instruments it will send along to do the job.

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— Space

Rocks reveal secret of Moon's formation

By - April 19, 2015 2 Pictures
There are a number of ideas about where the Moon came from, but, based on orbital mechanics, the accepted theory is that about 150 million years after the Solar System formed some 4.6 billion years ago, the primordial Earth was struck by an object the size of Mars called Theia. Out of the debris of this massive impact, the Moon was formed. Scientists at the University of Maryland (UMD) have for the first time found evidence to support this theory by analyzing the isotopic “fingerprints” of rock samples brought back by the Apollo astronauts. Read More
— Space

MIT scientists detect possible ring system around minor planet Chiron

By - March 26, 2015 1 Picture
A team of astronomers from MIT have detected signs of a possible ring system around the minor planet Chiron. First discovered in 1977, Chiron belongs to a class of minor planets known as centaurs. These bodies share some of the characteristics exhibited by both comets and asteroids, hence their classification as Centaurs, which in ancient mythology denoted a creature with the traits of both man and horse. Read More
— Space

Saturnian moon may have deep-ocean vents that harbor life

By - March 13, 2015 6 Pictures
In science, it's often the case that solving one mystery just raises more questions. Take Saturn's moon Enceladus. For almost a decade, scientists have been puzzled by the gossamer plumes that waft up from its surface. Data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft now indicates that these may might be due to present-day hydrothermal activity in the vast ocean beneath the crust of the frozen moon, raising the possibility that Enceladus may harbor life. Read More
— Space

NASA releases new Ceres images prior to Friday encounter

By - March 3, 2015 5 Pictures
As NASA’s Dawn spacecraft makes its final approach to Ceres, the ion-propelled spacecraft is sending the best images yet with more details about the surface of the dwarf planet. The images from Dawn have shown the presence of numerous craters and unusual bright spots that scientist hope will provide clues as to not only how Ceres formed and if it is still active, but the early history of the Solar System as well. Read More
— Space

Research suggests dark matter plays a significant role in our planet's mass extinction cycle

By - February 24, 2015 1 Picture
A new study carried out by Professor Michael Rampino of New York University suggests that dark matter may have had a part to play in the periodic mass extinction events that are known to have taken place throughout Earth's history. It takes our planet roughly 250 million years to circle the Milky Way, and around every 30 million years the Sun's orbit takes us through what is known as the galactic disk. The galactic disk is where the majority of the mass in our galaxy resides, and alongside it a thin disk of dark matter. Read More
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