All posts tagged: solar system

How could we make a solar eclipse happen every day?

How could we make a solar eclipse happen every day?

Dead Planets Society is a podcast that takes outlandish ideas about how to tinker with the cosmos – from snapping the moon in half to causing a gravitational wave apocalypse – and subjects them to the laws of physics to see how they fare. Listen on Apple, Spotify or on our podcast page. A total solar eclipse is one of the most incredible cosmic events we can witness from Earth – but they can also be inconvenient. Any particular location only experiences a solar eclipse about once every few hundred years or so, and travelling to the path of totality isn’t always feasible. In this episode of Dead Planets Society, hosts Leah Crane and Chelsea Whyte are joined by astronomer Bruce Macintosh at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in their attempts to fix this problem and conjure up a total solar eclipse that is accessible to all. Natural solar eclipses occur when the moon passes in front of the sun, casting a shadow on Earth’s surface. To create an artificial eclipse, our hosts will have …

A single meteorite smashed into Mars and created 2 billion craters

A single meteorite smashed into Mars and created 2 billion craters

The Martian surface is heavily cratered Stocktrek Images, Inc. / Alamy When a single small meteorite struck Mars a few million years ago, it didn’t just create one crater. It ultimately created billions of them. The main crater, called Corinto, is just under 14 kilometres across, but the debris from that meteorite collision formed about two billion additional craters, called secondaries. When a meteorite slams into the ground, it can blast a huge plume of rocks into the air. When these rocks fall back down, they create their own smaller craters, often in chains and… Source link

Europa’s seafloor may be impenetrable and inhospitable to life

Europa’s seafloor may be impenetrable and inhospitable to life

Europa has an underground ocean, but it might not be as hospitable for life as Earth’s seas are NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute Jupiter’s icy moon Europa may not be as ripe for life as previously thought. Its underground ocean has long made it one of the most promising candidates in our solar system to host life, but theoretical studies of its seafloor are putting a damper on its promise. On Earth, much of the life in the oceans is supported by hydrothermal activity at the seafloor, where water interacts with rock. This activity… Source link

The moons of Mars may have been formed in an icy planetary collision

The moons of Mars may have been formed in an icy planetary collision

How did Mars acquire its moons? NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems/Texas A&M University The mystery of where Mars’s two moons came from may finally be solved. If Phobos and Deimos were formed when an icy object smashed into Mars, it could explain their contradictory properties, which have long baffled researchers. Measurements of the geological makeup of Phobos and Deimos, including tentative signs of water, have suggested that they are more similar to asteroids than to Mars itself, hinting that they may be captured asteroids. However, that explanation would not account for their circular orbits, which instead hint… Source link

Bennu: How our golden age of asteroid exploration could reveal life’s origins

Bennu: How our golden age of asteroid exploration could reveal life’s origins

ON THE morning of 24 September 2023, Dante Lauretta woke up early, his pulse racing. For 20 years, he had been working on a NASA space mission that aimed to scoop up a sample of an asteroid and return it to Earth. Now, it was time for the sample capsule to land. If anything went wrong, it could end up smashed to smithereens on the desert floor, as flat – and as useless to science – as a pancake. Thankfully, the landing was successful. And since that day, researchers led by Lauretta, a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona, have been busily examining crumbly, jet-black material from the asteroid Bennu. Their mission, called OSIRIS-REx, is one of several similar efforts in what arguably adds up to a golden age of asteroid science. We now have no less than three pristine samples brought back from asteroids and there are thrilling plans afoot to visit others (see “Encounters with asteroids”, below). Lauretta has written a book about the OSIRIS-REx mission called The Asteroid Hunter. Here, he …

Everyone Wants a Piece of the Moon

Everyone Wants a Piece of the Moon

For the past few days, mission control in Houston has been talking to the moon. It’s a throwback to an earlier space age, with a few tweaks. Mission control is not NASA, but a private American company called Intuitive Machines, sending instructions to an uncrewed lander about the size of a telephone booth. The spacecraft made a nail-biting descent to the lunar surface on Thursday, with a last-minute software patch to make up for malfunctioning navigation sensors. One of the spacecraft’s legs snagged the surface and the whole thing tipped over, landing on its side. But still: It was the first time an American spacecraft had landed on the moon in more than 50 years. The mission is the latest event in what has quickly become the busiest decade in lunar exploration since the 1960s. Government agencies and private companies in the United States, China, India, Japan, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates have all dispatched lunar landers in the past five years, with varying degrees of success. Many more missions, both uncrewed and crewed, …

Tiny new moons have been spotted orbiting Neptune and Uranus

Tiny new moons have been spotted orbiting Neptune and Uranus

The planets Uranus (left) and Neptune (right) have a few additional moons NASA, ESA, Mark Showalter (SETI Institute), Amy Simon (NASA-GSFC), Andrew I. Hsu, Michael H. Wong (UC Berkeley) Astronomers have spotted new moons around Uranus and Neptune for the first time in a decade. These are the faintest moons ever spotted orbiting any planet, and they prove a long-standing idea about satellites in the outer solar system. Scott Sheppard at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington DC and his colleagues found these moons using the Magellan telescope in Chile and confirmed them using several other large telescopes around the world. “We looked about four times deeper than anyone has before,” says Sheppard. “These moons are on the edge of our ability – they’re just faint, faint points of light.” Generally, when looking for moons, you can only take a picture with a maximum exposure of about 5 minutes before the image becomes overexposed and the movement of the moons makes it useless. Sheppard and his team got around this by taking many of …

Scientists discover possible location of ninth planet in Solar System

Scientists discover possible location of ninth planet in Solar System

Astronomers have narrowed down on the possible location in the Solar System where the elusive planet nine may be hiding, an advance that could shed more light on the evolution of our abode in the Milky Way galaxy. The hypothetical ninth planet has been a subject of inquiry by scientists for decades due to the unexplained movement of objects at the edge of our Solar System. Researchers have observed that some objects at the edge of the Solar System – well beyond the orbit of the dwarf planet, Pluto – behave as if they are being pulled around by something yet unseen, which is likely to be another planet. Discovering this object could help scientists better understand the makeup of the Solar System, its formation as well as evolutionary processes. Astronomers have been assessing data from Hawaii’s Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) – a collaborative astronomical observation system located at Haleakala Observatory to discover this planet. Now, researchers have narrowed down possible locations of the hypothetical planet by eliminating approximately nearly 80 …

Carbon dioxide gas spotted in atmosphere of Jupiter’s moon Callisto

Carbon dioxide gas spotted in atmosphere of Jupiter’s moon Callisto

The surface of Jupiter’s moon Callisto is scarred with impact craters, and its atmosphere holds carbon dioxide gas NASA/JPL/DLR Astronomers have spotted gaseous carbon dioxide across the atmosphere of Jupiter’s second-largest moon, Callisto, hinting that it might have a much more complex carbon cycle than we thought. On Earth, the carbon cycle helps to sustain a stable climate. Callisto is one of the solar system’s oldest objects, having formed some 4.5 billion years ago around Jupiter. It is also one of the most battered objects, with a surface blanketed by craters.… Source link