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Wild New Theory Suggests Pluto Formed From a Billion Comets Wild New Theory Suggests Pluto Formed From a Billion Comets

Pluto may not be a planet, but it remains one of the most intriguing objects in the outer Solar System. Its unexpected chemical composition has confounded scientists for years, but a new theory may finally hold the answer. Pluto, according to a pair of Southwest Research Institute scientists, is basically an overgrown…

Space Rock Discovery Boosts Evidence for Planet Nine Space Rock Discovery Boosts Evidence for Planet Nine

I’m sorry, but Pluto sucks and I’m glad it’s not a planet anymore. It’s smaller than our Moon, and it’s about the same size as several other distant, rocky solar system objects. Have you ever seen the way it orbits alongside its partner, Charon? Classifying it as a planet in the first place was a mistake. Can we get a…

Spacecraft May Have Flown Right Through a Plume of Water on Jupiter's Moon Europa Spacecraft May Have Flown Right Through a Plume of Water on Jupiter's Moon Europa

Sometimes, scientists have the answers all along—they just don’t think to ask the question. For example, it appears that in 1997, the Galileo orbiter flew through a jet of water shooting out from Jupiter’s moon Europa without even trying.

Saturn's Rings Look Razor-Thin in This Posthumous Cassini Release Saturn's Rings Look Razor-Thin in This Posthumous Cassini Release

It’s been more than six months since the Cassini probe plummeted to its demise, but scientists are still releasing incredible images from two-decade mission to Saturn.

We Might Be a Tiny Bit Wrong About Mercury's Orbit  We Might Be a Tiny Bit Wrong About Mercury's Orbit 

It turns out we may have Mercury’s orbit wrong. Not by much, but by enough that a future mission can measure it, test Albert Einstein’s landmark theory of general relativity, and further refine its mathematics

Are Jupiter and Venus Messing With Earth’s Climate? Are Jupiter and Venus Messing With Earth’s Climate?

Our planet is in a remarkably circular orbit around the Sun, but as new research points out, Earth’s orbit sometimes experiences a slight jolt, thanks to the combined gravitational influence of Jupiter and Venus. Incredibly, this cycle has been going on for at least 215 million years—and one scientist suggests it…

Grab Your Telescope: Jupiter Will Shine Its Brightest Tonight Grab Your Telescope: Jupiter Will Shine Its Brightest Tonight

This weekend I got to experience the dark skies over a nameless lake somewhere between Grand Forks, North Dakota and Bemidji, Minnesota. It was my first time seeing the faint band of our own Milky Way. But we had our telescope pointed on something we could have seen just as easily from a Brooklyn stoop: Jupiter, the…

On This Saturn-Like Exoplanet, the Forecast Always Calls for Clear Skies [Updated] On This Saturn-Like Exoplanet, the Forecast Always Calls for Clear Skies [Updated]

Astronomers have detected an exoplanet whose sodium-rich atmosphere is completely devoid of clouds—a strange celestial feature that until this point only existed in theory.

Lunar Meteorite Found in Africa Points to Ice Beneath the Moon’s Surface Lunar Meteorite Found in Africa Points to Ice Beneath the Moon’s Surface

Good news, future lunar colonists! Scientists have discovered traces of moganite in a lunar meteorite that was discovered 13 years ago in Africa. This mineral requires water to form, so its discovery is being taken as potential confirmation that frozen water exists beneath the Moon’s dusty surface.

Why NASA's Next Mars Lander Will Launch from California Instead of Florida Why NASA's Next Mars Lander Will Launch from California Instead of Florida

NASA is set to launch its next Mars lander, InSight, early Saturday morning. But something’s different about this launch. It’s taking place on the West Coast, at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Forgotten Data From 1996 Sheds New Light on Jupiter’s Mysterious Moon Ganymede Forgotten Data From 1996 Sheds New Light on Jupiter’s Mysterious Moon Ganymede

Twenty-two years ago, the Galileo spacecraft made its first flyby of Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon. Scientists with NASA have taken a new look at the data collected during that historic encounter, providing tantalizing new details about this strange celestial object, its unique magnetic shield, and its unusually…

Gorgeous Photo of Martian Landscape Is Just the Beginning for ExoMars Mission Gorgeous Photo of Martian Landscape Is Just the Beginning for ExoMars Mission

The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has released the first images from its new orbit, taken on April 15 from 400 kilometers above the Martian surface. Here’s the uncropped composite image:

NASA and ESA Are Getting Serious About Bringing Martian Soil to Earth NASA and ESA Are Getting Serious About Bringing Martian Soil to Earth

Earlier today, officials with NASA and the European Space Agency signed a statement of intent to explore the various ways in which Martian soil samples can be collected and delivered back to Earth. Sounds great, but a complex project of this nature won’t be easy, as it would involve the first-ever rocket launch from…

Diamonds Packed Inside Rare Meteorite Offer Clues to a Destroyed Planet Diamonds Packed Inside Rare Meteorite Offer Clues to a Destroyed Planet

Back in 2008, an 80-ton meteor exploded over the Nubian Desert of Sudan, showering the region with hundreds of tiny rocks. New research suggests the diamonds packed inside these meteorites could have only formed within a planetary body the size of Mercury or Mars—a planet that no longer exists.

Europe’s Gas-Sniffing Spacecraft Set to Science the Shit Out of Mars Europe’s Gas-Sniffing Spacecraft Set to Science the Shit Out of Mars

After a year of steadily slowing down, the ExoMars spacecraft has finally reached its target orbit around Mars. In about two weeks, the European Space Agency and Roscosmos orbiter will begin to scan the Martian atmosphere in search of trace gases, including those potentially linked to life.

Giant Planet Orbiting a Brown Dwarf Spotted, Re-Opening Debate Over What Makes a Planet Giant Planet Orbiting a Brown Dwarf Spotted, Re-Opening Debate Over What Makes a Planet

Scientists have discovered a planet a lot like Jupiter orbiting a dim star, if you can even call it a star—it’s nothing like our sun. The finding once again makes us wonder: what is a planet, anyway?

The Juno Spacecraft Is Revealing Some Astounding Things About Jupiter’s Mysterious Interior The Juno Spacecraft Is Revealing Some Astounding Things About Jupiter’s Mysterious Interior

NASA’s Juno space probe has been circling Jupiter for the past 20 months, and it’s been transmitting scientific data back to Earth at a furious pace. Today, astronomers are releasing four new studies based on Juno’s measurements, all of which explore the gas giant’s turbulent atmosphere and the stuff that lies beneath…

Strange Pole-Shifting Physics Conjures a Truly Alien World Strange Pole-Shifting Physics Conjures a Truly Alien World

Perhaps there’s a life-supporting, Earth-like planet orbiting close to a red dwarf star many light years away. Perhaps this planet orbits so close to the star that only one half of it ever faces the light. Maybe some sentient species evolved during that infinite day, on some massive supercontinent. And maybe one day,…

Neptune’s Stinky Dark Vortex Is Fading Away Like a Bad Fart Neptune’s Stinky Dark Vortex Is Fading Away Like a Bad Fart

In 2015, the Hubble Space Telescope detected a strange feature in the skies over Neptune—a swirling dark vortex the size of China. Packing copious amounts of hydrogen sulfide—the chemical ingredient that gives farts their awful smell—this storm is not behaving as astronomers predicted, with the latest results…

Kepler Astronomers Discover Treasure Trove of New Exoplanets Kepler Astronomers Discover Treasure Trove of New Exoplanets

Kepler is the gift that keeps on giving. After suffering a major malfunction five years ago, the rejiggered space-based telescope continues to churn away, scanning the heavens for signs of distant worlds. An international team of astronomers has now released the results of its latest survey, confirming the existence…

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