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Planets News

Essential Science: Solar System’s first superhighway mapped out

One day we’ll be able to traverse the solar system in spacecraft, and there is till plenty to explore with probes. To optimize the journey time through the Solar System, scientists have proposed a ‘superhighway’.

Essential Science: Mystery of Jupiter’s unusual storms revealed

The appearance of dazzlingly geometric storm patterns on Jupiter's south pole have confounded scientists for decades. Now researchers think they have an answer to the climatic mysteries of the super-sized planet.

Essential Science: New quest to find Planet Nine

Astrophysicists have proposed a novel method designed to find black holes in the outer reaches of the Solar System as well as to track down whether the hypothesized Planet Nine really exists.

Essential Science: Earth-size habitable-zone world detected

NASA has reported it has detected an Earth-like planet that has all the indications of being habitable. This forms part of the space agency’s attempt to seek out new planets of interest in the cosmos.

Ultrashort x-ray technology to probe the heart of planets

Space scientists have developed a sophisticated combination of super-powerful lasers together with very bright x-rays, enabling new experiments to be conducted that can gaze into the inner heart of other planets.

Potentially habitable planet found in new solar system

Madrid - An international team of astronomers has discovered a new solar system with a planet that could be habitable, a Spanish astrophysicist who led the research said Thursday.

Unprecedented amount of water found under Martian north pole

Using advanced radar technology, astrophysicists have discovered a large reservoir of frozen water lying between sand layers under the north pole of Mars. This shows there are further mysteries to be revealed about the 'red planet'.

ESA's CHEOPS mission passes review — Cleared for flight this fall

The European Space Agency's (ESA) Characterizing Exoplanet Satellite (CHEOPS) recently passed a crucial review designed to assess the spacecraft's readiness for flight and ability to meet major mission goals. A launch window is anticipated for this fall.

Over 100 new exoplanets discovered

Using a combination of space-based and ground-based telescopes, scientists have revealed more than 100 new exoplanets. The discovery may prove useful for the search for life elsewhere in the universe.

NASA backed project to find alien life

Is there life on other planets? This perennial question still fascinates. An international team of scientists, supported by NASA, have laid the groundwork for scanning the skies for life.

Top ten recent discoveries about Mars

Houston - NASA’s space probe MAVEN has been exploring the upper atmosphere of Mars since late 2013. In this time the probe has captured masses of information which has been sorted through by NASA scientists. We review the ten most interesting.

Essential Science: Planets close to dim stars may support life

The question of whether life exists on other planets in the depths of our galaxy continues to intrigue people. If we are to find out that we are alone in the universe then examining planets orbiting dim red stars might provide the answer.

Meet synestia, a new type of planetary object

Astrophysicists are proposing a new type of planetary object which they’ve named a 'synestia'. By this they are referring to a large, rotating, donut-shaped mass of hot, vaporized rock.

Atmosphere of Jupiter surprisingly 'exotic'

Houston - NASA's Juno mission to Jupiter has delivered first science results and the findings suggest the biggest planet in our solar system is more complex than previously thought.

Most of the Martian atmosphere was lost to space

Mars is much like Earth in many ways and billions of years ago when the Sun was hotter, scientists speculate that Mars could possibly had water and life. One longstanding mystery, in relation to this theory concerns, the Martian atmosphere.

Planet GJ 1132b found to have an atmosphere

Astrophysicists have detected an atmosphere around an Earth-like planet for the first time, in what is being heralded as major astronomical find.

NASA makes major announcement about exoplanets

Houston - NASA has made a major announcement about a new discovery “beyond our solar system.” The discovery relates to seven exoplanets, which could potentially support life.

NASA scientists want Pluto to become a planet again

A group of NASA scientists want Pluto’s status as a planet restored. Eleven years ago, the ninth planet in the solar system was downgraded to that of a dwarf planet. To scientists who are working on journeys to Pluto, that is simply not good enough.

The moon is older than previously thought

The moon is probably 40 to 140 million years older than previously thought. This is based on new analysis of samples brought back from Apollo 14 which have been subjected to more sophisticated testing.

Depressions on surface of Mars offer clues for life

Austin - Was there life on Mars? This question continues to interest many people. The area to focus on, according to a new study, are the surface features, especially the depressions located close to volcanoes.

NASA issues stunning photographs of Christmas in space

Houston - The astronauts on the International Space Station are celebrating Christmas Day in the same way as many people on Earth will celebrate the holiday. To add a special touch, NASA have issued some stunning December 25 pictures.

New focal point for looking for life on Mars

Houston - Is there life on Mars? The question these days is more ‘has there ever been life on Mars?’ In the search for past life (probably bacterial), scientists have selected a new ‘hot spot’ on the planet to investigate.

Essential Science: Mystery of Mercury’s Great Valley

Mercury has long been regarded as one of the Solar System’s more mysterious planets. Despite decades of observations by astronomers new points of interest appear. The latest is with the planet’s great valley.

X-ray mystery surrounds Pluto

Houston - The dwarf planet Pluto continues to tantalize. This follows news that stream of photons have been detected streaming from the planet and into space. The mystery is the planet has no obvious way of making these high-energy photons.

Solar system is much bigger than we thought

The size of the solar system, that’s Earth and the planets that orbit the Sun, is much bigger than previous calculations indicated.

New mini-moon discovered orbiting the Earth

Houston - Gaze up at night and you’ll see the familiar silvery moon. Our only natural satellite, right? Not so, it seems, for a new, much smaller mini-moon has been discovered by astrophysicists.

China joins Mars probe race

China is joining the race to explore Mars as it prepares to launch a probe in 2020, according to an official of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

Essential Science: Did Jupiter wander away from the Sun?

Astronomers have long wondered why there are no planets closer to the Sun than Mercury. To have planets closer is common with many stars. The answer might be due to Jupiter having once been located closer to our star, suggests a new theory.

Radar 'unclothes' planet Venus

Green Bank - As a planet, Venus, shrouded in thick clouds of carbon dioxide, doesn’t lend itself to visual observation. To lift the veil on Earth’s nearest planetary neighbor, spacecraft such as NASA’s Magellan probe use radar to penetrate Venus' clouds.

Two unknown Earth-sized planets may be part of Solar System

Scientists tracking the orbits of objects on the extreme edge of our solar system believe that there is a good chance that two planets, at least as large as Earth may exist out there.
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Planets Image

An artist s representation of a body about the size of our moon colliding at great speed with a plan...
An artist's representation of a body about the size of our moon colliding at great speed with a planet the size of Mercury.
Hundreds of planets have been found orbiting other stars. Image: An artist s concept of the planet H...
Hundreds of planets have been found orbiting other stars. Image: An artist's concept of the planet HR 8799b
NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon/STScI)
The line up compares artist s concepts of the planets in the Kepler-37 system to the moon and planet...
The line up compares artist's concepts of the planets in the Kepler-37 system to the moon and planets in the solar system. The smallest planet, Kepler-37b, is slightly larger than our moon, measuring about one-third the size of Earth. Kepler-37c, the second planet, is slightly smaller than Venus, measuring almost three-quarters the size of Earth. Kepler-37d, the third planet, is twice the size of Earth.
NASA scientists found faint signatures of water in the atmospheres of five distant planets orbiting ...
NASA scientists found faint signatures of water in the atmospheres of five distant planets orbiting three different stars. All five planets appear to be hazy
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
A variety of factors  including orbit  dictate whether a planet can be colonized.
A variety of factors, including orbit, dictate whether a planet can be colonized.
An illustration of the planets and other major bodies of the Solar System
An illustration of the planets and other major bodies of the Solar System
Illustration: NASA
This diagram shows the approximate relative sizes of the terrestrial planets  from left to right: Me...
This diagram shows the approximate relative sizes of the terrestrial planets, from left to right: Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. Distances are not to scale.
NASA Mercury image: JHUAPL Venus image: JPL Mars image: HST

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