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.

  • NASA InSight lander 'hears' Martian winds
    on December 7, 2018 at 9:49 pm

    NASA's Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport InSight lander, which touched down on Mars just 10 days ago, has provided the first ever "sounds" of Martian winds on the Red Planet. […]

  • NASA's Mars InSight flexes its arm
    on December 7, 2018 at 9:47 pm

    New images from NASA's Mars InSight lander show its robotic arm is ready to do some lifting. With a reach of nearly 6 feet (2 meters), the arm will be used to pick up science instruments from the lander's deck, gently setting them on the Martian surface at Elysium Planitia, the lava plain where InSight touched down on Nov. 26. […]

  • Planetary defense: The Bennu experiment
    on December 7, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    On Dec. 3, after traveling billions of kilometers from Earth, NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft reached its target, Bennu, and kicked off a nearly two-year, up-close investigation of the asteroid. It will inspect nearly every square inch of this ancient clump of rubble left over from the formation of our solar system. Ultimately, the spacecraft will pick up a sample of pebbles and dust from Bennu's surface and deliver it to Earth in 2023. […]

  • Unknown treasure trove of planets found hiding in dust
    on December 7, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    The first unbiased survey of protoplanetary disks surrounding young stars in the Taurus star-forming region turned up a higher-than-expected number of disks with features suggesting nascent planets, according to a new study. […]

  • Mice display altered immune system following spaceflight
    on December 6, 2018 at 7:11 pm

    Based on examinations of mice that had been on board the Bion-M1 biosatellite, new research demonstrates that the outer space environment impairs the production of B lymphocytes, the white blood cells responsible for antibody production. The study also shows that such adverse effects persist at least one week after returning to Earth. […]

  • Mantle neon illuminates Earth's formation
    on December 5, 2018 at 6:41 pm

    The Earth formed relatively quickly from the cloud of dust and gas around the Sun, trapping water and gases in the planet's mantle, based on neon isotopes from the depths of the Earth and deep space. Apart from settling Earth's origins, the work could help in identifying extrasolar systems that could support habitable planets. […]

  • NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft arrives at asteroid Bennu
    on December 4, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    NASA's Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft completed its 1.2 billion-mile (2 billion-kilometer) journey to arrive at the asteroid Bennu Monday. The spacecraft executed a maneuver that transitioned it from flying toward Bennu to operating around the asteroid. […]

  • Mars new home 'a large sandbox'
    on November 30, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    With InSight safely on the surface of Mars, the mission team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is busy learning more about the spacecraft's landing site. They knew when InSight landed on Nov. 26 that the spacecraft had touched down on target, a lava plain named Elysium Planitia. Now they've determined that the vehicle sits slightly tilted (about 4 degrees) in a shallow dust- and sand-filled impact crater known as a "hollow." InSight has been engineered to operate on a surface with an inclination up to 15 degrees. […]

  • A new way to create Saturn's radiation belts
    on November 29, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    Scientists have discovered a new method to explain how radiation belts are formed around the planet Saturn. […]

  • NASA Hears MarCO CubeSats Loud and Clear from Mars
    on November 27, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    NASA's MarCO mission was built to see whether two experimental, briefcase-sized spacecraft could survive the trip to deep space, and the two CubeSats proved more than able. After cruising along behind NASA's InSight for seven months, they successfully relayed data back down to Earth from the lander during its descent to the Martian surface on Monday, Nov. 26. […]

  • InSight Is catching rays on Mars
    on November 27, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    NASA's InSight has sent signals to Earth indicating that its solar panels are open and collecting sunlight on the Martian surface. […]

  • NASA InSight lander arrives on Martian surface to learn what lies beneath
    on November 26, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    Mars has just received its newest robotic resident. NASA's Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander successfully touched down on the Red Planet after an almost seven-month, 300-million-mile (458-million-kilometer) journey from Earth. […]

  • NASA InSight Team on course for Mars touchdown
    on November 26, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    NASA's Mars Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) spacecraft is on track for a soft touchdown on the surface of the Red Planet on Nov. 26. Engineers will be keeping a close eye on the stream of data indicating InSight's health and trajectory, and monitoring Martian weather reports to figure out if the team needs to make any final adjustments in preparation for landing. […]

  • Climate of small star TRAPPIST 1's seven intriguing worlds
    on November 21, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    New research from astronomers gives updated climate models for the seven planets around the star TRAPPIST-1. The work also could help astronomers more effectively study planets around stars unlike our sun, and better use the resources of the James Webb Space Telescope. […]

  • Odd bodies, rapid spins keep cosmic rings close
    on November 19, 2018 at 8:59 pm

    Forget those shepherding moons. Gravity and the odd shapes of asteroid Chariklo and dwarf planet Haumea -- small objects deep in our solar system -- can be credited for forming and maintaining their own rings, according new research. […]

  • Overflowing crater lakes carved canyons across Mars
    on November 16, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    Today, most of the water on Mars is locked away in frozen ice caps. But billions of years ago it flowed freely across the surface, forming rushing rivers that emptied into craters, forming lakes and seas. New research has found evidence that sometimes the lakes would take on so much water that they overflowed and burst from the sides of their basins, creating catastrophic floods that carved canyons very rapidly, perhaps in a matter of weeks. […]

  • NASA learns more about interstellar visitor 'Oumuamua
    on November 15, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    The first known interstellar object to visit our solar system -- named 'Oumuamua -- was detected in October 2017 by Hawaii's Pan-STARRS 1 telescope. But it was too faint for NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope to detect when it looked more than two months after the object's closest approach to Earth in early September. That 'non-detection' puts a new limit on how large the strange object can be, astronomers now report. […]

  • Scientists capture the 'sound' of sunrise on Mars
    on November 9, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    Scientists have created the soundtrack of the 5,000th Mars sunrise captured by the robotic exploration rover, Opportunity, using data sonification techniques to create a two-minute piece of music. […]

  • Scientists theorize new origin story for Earth's water
    on November 7, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    Earth's water may have originated from both asteroidal material and gas left over from the formation of the Sun, according to new research. The new finding could give scientists important insights about the development of other planets and their potential to support life. […]

  • Evidence of outburst flooding indicates plentiful water on early Mars
    on November 5, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    The presence of water on Mars has been theorized for centuries. Early telescopes revealed ice caps, and early astronomers noted channels that were hypothesized to be natural rivers or creature-created canals. […]

  • Magnetic pumping pushes plasma particles to high energies
    on November 5, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    The solar wind is not a calm summer breeze. Instead, it is a roiling, chaotic mess of turbulence and waves. There is a lot of energy stored in this turbulence, so scientists have long thought that it heats the solar wind. However, the heating expected from turbulence is not the heating observed. Scientists now have a new idea about what heats the solar wind, a theory called magnetic pumping. […]

  • A stellar achievement: Magnetized space winds in the laboratory
    on November 5, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    New insights have been gained about stellar winds, streams of high-speed charged particles called plasma that blow through interstellar space. These winds, created by eruptions from stars or stellar explosions, carry with them strong magnetic fields which can interact with or effect other magnetic fields, such as those that surround planets like Earth. To understand these processes, researchers are employing laboratory experiments to study magnetic flows up close. […]

  • Comet tails blowing in the solar wind
    on November 2, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    Combined observations of Comet McNaught -- one of the brightest comets visible from Earth in the past 50 years -- have revealed new insights on the nature of comets and their relationship with the Sun. […]

  • NASA's Dawn mission to asteroid belt comes to end
    on November 2, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    NASA's Dawn spacecraft has gone silent, ending a historic mission that studied time capsules from the solar system's earliest chapter. […]

  • Naturally occurring 'batteries' fueled organic carbon synthesis on Mars
    on October 31, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    Mars' organic carbon may have originated from a series of electrochemical reactions between briny liquids and volcanic minerals, according to analyses of three Martian meteorites. The discovery that natural systems can form a small corrosion-powered battery that drives electrochemical reactions between minerals and surrounding liquid has major implications for astrobiology. A similar process could occur anywhere that igneous rocks are surrounded by brines, including the subsurface oceans of Jupiter's moon Europa and Saturn's moon Enceladus. […]

  • NASA retires Kepler Space Telescope
    on October 31, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    After nine years in deep space collecting data, NASA's Kepler space telescope has run out of fuel needed for further science operations. NASA has decided to retire the spacecraft within its current, safe orbit, away from Earth. Kepler leaves a legacy of more than 2,600 planet discoveries from outside our solar system, many of which could be promising places for life. […]

  • Studying Pluto orbiter mission
    on October 24, 2018 at 8:36 pm

    Astronomers have made several discoveries that expand the range and value of a future Pluto orbiter mission. The breakthroughs define a fuel-saving orbital tour and demonstrate that an orbiter can continue exploration in the Kuiper Belt after surveying Pluto. […]

  • Crater from asteroid that killed the dinosaurs reveals how broken rocks can flow like liquid
    on October 24, 2018 at 5:12 pm

    The same process that allows rock to flow like liquid during impact events allows 'peak rings' to form in large craters. […]

  • Mars: Oxygen-rich, life-supporting liquid water?
    on October 22, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    Given the right circumstances, water on Mars could hold more oxygen than previously believed, theoretically enough to support aerobic respiration, new research suggests. […]

  • NASA's first image of Mars from a CubeSat
    on October 22, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    NASA's MarCO mission was designed to find out if briefcase-sized spacecraft called CubeSats could survive the journey to deep space. Now, MarCO -- which stands for Mars Cube One -- has Mars in sight. […]