Solar System

Solar System News -- ScienceDaily Solar System Planets. Astronomy articles on the eight planets, plus the two dwarf planets, Pluto and Eris. Great pictures of everything in the solar system. Updated daily.

  • Meteorite mystery solved with research on high pressure
    on June 23, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    A research group has found a long-sought explanation for the apparent contradictions implicit in the composition of lunar and Martian meteorites. They were able to demonstrate how meteorites could contain within narrow spaces minerals whose formation conditions are quite different. These findings provide new impetus for meteorite research. […]

  • The curious case of the warped Kuiper Belt
    on June 22, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    The plane of the solar system is warped in the belt's outer reaches, signaling the presence of an unknown Mars-to-Earth-mass planetary object far beyond Pluto, according to new research.&nbs […]

  • Magnetic memories of a metal world
    on June 22, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    Research deciphering the hidden magnetic messages encoded in a rare group of meteorites has helped secure nearly half a billion dollars of NASA funding for a journey to their parent asteroid -- the only known place in the solar system where scientists can examine directly what is probably a metallic core. […]

  • New virtual approach to science in space
    on June 21, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    A new approach to scientific exploration has been revealed by researchers, which they call exploration telepresence. […]

  • Ten near-Earth size planets in habitable zone of their star
    on June 20, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    NASA's Kepler space telescope team has released a mission catalog of planet candidates that introduces 219 new planet candidates, 10 of which are near-Earth size and orbiting in their star's habitable zone, which is the range of distance from a star where liquid water could pool on the surface of a rocky planet. […]

  • New branch in family tree of exoplanets discovered
    on June 19, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    Researchers have classified exoplanets in much the same way that biologists identify new animal species. […]

  • MAVEN's top 10 discoveries at Mars
    on June 16, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    Since its launch in November 2013 and its orbit insertion in September 2014, MAVEN has been exploring the upper atmosphere of Mars. MAVEN is bringing insight to how the sun stripped Mars of most of its atmosphere, turning a planet once possibly habitable to microbial life into a barren desert world. […]

  • Jupiter is one old-timer, scientist finds
    on June 12, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    Jupiter is the oldest planet in our solar system, an international group of scientists has found. […]

  • High-pressure experiments solve meteorite mystery
    on June 7, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    With high-pressure experiments at DESY's X-ray light source PETRA III and other facilities, a research team has solved a long standing riddle in the analysis of meteorites from Moon and Mars. The study can explain why different versions of silica can coexist in meteorites, although they normally require vastly different conditions to form. The results also mean that previous assessments of conditions at which meteorites have been formed have to be carefully re-considered. […]

  • Collateral damage from cosmic rays increases cancer risks for Mars astronauts
    on June 5, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    The cancer risk for a human mission to Mars has effectively doubled following a study predicting a dramatic increase in the disease for astronauts traveling to the red planet or on long-term missions outside the protection of Earth's magnetic field. The new predictive model shows radiation from cosmic rays extends from damaged to otherwise healthy 'bystander' cells. […]

  • Study estimates amount of water needed to carve Martian valleys
    on June 5, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    A new study calculates the amount of water needed to carve the ancient network of valleys on Mars and concludes the planet's surface was once much more watery than previously thought. The study bolsters the idea that Mars had a warmer climate and active hydrologic cycle, with water evaporating from an ancient ocean, returning to the surface as rainfall and eroding the extensive network of valleys. […]

  • Rover findings indicate stratified lake on ancient Mars
    on June 1, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    A long-lasting lake on ancient Mars provided stable environmental conditions that differed significantly from one part of the lake to another, according to a comprehensive look at findings from the first three-and-a-half years of NASA's Curiosity rover mission. […]

  • Surface gravity on many exoplanets similar to that of Earth, study finds
    on June 1, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    A recent statistical study has revealed that exoplanets with a mass of between 1 and 100 times the mass of Earth have a surface gravity surprisingly similar to terrestrial gravity. […]

  • In a cosmic hit-and-run, icy Saturn moon may have flipped
    on May 31, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    Enceladus -- a large icy, oceanic moon of Saturn -- may have flipped, the possible victim of an out-of-this-world wallop. While combing through data collected by NASA's Cassini mission during flybys of Enceladus, astronomers have found the first evidence that the moon's axis has reoriented, according to new research published in Icarus. […]

  • Frost on moon's surface: New evidence
    on May 31, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Scientists using data from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter have identified bright areas in craters near the moon's south pole that are cold enough to have frost present on the surface. […]

  • Peek into your genes: NASA one-year mission investigators identify links to vision problems
    on May 31, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    Coinciding with May -- Healthy Vision Month, NASA's One-Year Mission investigators are peering into their new findings to help address astronaut vision issues. […]

  • Giant ringed planet likely cause of mysterious eclipses
    on May 31, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    A giant gas planet -- up to 50x the mass of Jupiter, encircled by a ring of dust -- is likely hurtling around a star over 1000 light years away from Earth, according to international team of astronomers. […]

  • 'Halos' discovered on Mars widen time frame for potential life
    on May 30, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    Lighter-toned bedrock that surrounds fractures and comprises high concentrations of silica -- called "halos" -- has been found in Gale crater on Mars, indicating that the planet had liquid water much longer than previously believed. […]

  • Extreme Jupiter weather and magnetic fields
    on May 25, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    New observations about the extreme conditions of Jupiter's weather and magnetic fields by astronomers have contributed to the revelations and insights coming from the first close passes of Jupiter by NASA's Juno mission. […]

  • Juno mission to Jupiter delivers first science results
    on May 25, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    NASA's Juno mission is rewriting what scientists thought they knew about Jupiter specifically, and gas giants in general, according to a pair of Science papers released today. The Juno spacecraft has been in orbit around Jupiter since July 2016, passing within 3,000 miles of the equatorial cloudtops. […]

  • How radioactive decay could support extraterrestrial life
    on May 23, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    In the icy bodies around our solar system, radiation emitted from rocky cores could break up water molecules and support hydrogen-eating microbes. To address this cosmic possibility, a team modeled a natural water-cracking process called radiolysis. They then applied the model to several worlds with known or suspected interior oceans, including Saturn's moon Enceladus, Jupiter's moon Europa, Pluto and its moon Charon, as well as the dwarf planet Ceres. […]

  • New type of planetary object proposed: Synestia
    on May 23, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    There's something new to look for in the heavens, and it's called a 'synestia,' according to planetary scientists. A synestia, they propose, would be a huge, spinning, donut-shaped mass of hot, vaporized rock, formed as planet-sized objects smash into each other. […]

  • History of Titan's landscape resembles that of Mars, not Earth
    on May 18, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    In a paper published in Science, researchers report that Titan, like Mars but unlike Earth, has not undergone any active plate tectonics in its recent past. The upheaval of mountains by plate tectonics deflects the paths that rivers take. The team found that this telltale signature was missing from river networks on Mars and Titan. […]

  • Moon orbits third largest dwarf planet in our solar system
    on May 18, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    Astronomers have uncovered a moon orbiting the third largest dwarf planet, 2007 OR10, in the frigid outskirts of our solar system called the Kuiper Belt. […]

  • How hard did it rain on Mars?
    on May 16, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    Heavy rain on Mars reshaped the planet's impact craters and carved out river-like channels in its surface billions of years ago, according to a new study. Scientists show that changes in the atmosphere on Mars made it rain harder and harder, which had a similar effect on the planet's surface as we see on Earth. […]

  • New 'styrofoam' planet provides tools in search for habitable planets
    on May 15, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    Researchers have discovered a new planet orbiting a star 320 light years from Earth that has the density of styrofoam. This 'puffy' exoplanet may hold opportunities for testing atmospheres that will be useful when assessing future planets for signs of life. […]

  • Mars rover Opportunity begins study of Perseverance Valley's origin
    on May 15, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has reached the main destination of its current two-year extended mission -- an ancient fluid-carved valley incised on the inner slope of a vast crater's rim. […]

  • Primitive atmosphere discovered around 'Warm Neptune'
    on May 11, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    A pioneering new study uncovering the 'primitive atmosphere' surrounding a distant world could provide a pivotal breakthrough in the search to how planets form and develop in far-flung galaxies. […]

  • Ancient meteorite impact sparked long-lived volcanic eruptions on Earth
    on May 3, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    Large impacts were common on the early Earth and were likely much more important than previously thought in shaping our planet. The findings raise interest in the possibility of volcanism also shaping similar structures on Mercury, Venus, Mars and the Moon. […]

  • Nearby star is a good model of our early solar system
    on May 2, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    Scientists have confirmed a nearby star's planetary system contains separate belts of asteroids, similar to our own solar system. The star is also about one-fifth the age of our sun. All that makes this star a good model of the early days of our solar system. […]