Planets and space bodies

The comet Venus - past and present

The planet Venus presents many unresolved mysteries to planetary scientists. However, equally mysterious is Venus' extraordinary role in the world's ancient astronomies. In this Space News episode, we explore the remarkable electrical environment of Venus...

April 14, 2016

New Mars' gravity map released

A new map of Mars' gravity was released this month, providing a glimpse into the hidden interior of the planet. The map, most detailed to date, was derived using Doppler and range tracking data collected by NASA's Deep Space Network from three NASA...

March 21, 2016

Bright spots of Ceres reveal unexpected changes

New observations of the dwarf planet Ceres, made by the HARPS spectrograph at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile show its bright spots become brighter during the day and show other variations, not only those changes related to planet's rotation. The results...

March 16, 2016

Massive lava flow released 3.5 billion years ago tilted Mars

A group of scientists discovered Mars' north and south pole were displaced after a huge volcano spewed massive amount of lava 3.5 billion years ago. The weight of the lava had caused the planet's outer layers to become displaced. The study explained the...

March 03, 2016

Visualizing milestones of the ExoMars 2016 mission

The European Space Agency (ESA) has established the ExoMars programme to research the question if life ever existed on Mars. The programme will investigate the Martian environment through two missions. The first one, consisting of an Orbiter plus and Entry, Descent...

February 18, 2016

Isolated hills on Pluto floating in the sea of frozen nitrogen

NASA's New Horizons missions collected images and data indicating the isolated hills on Pluto may be fragments of water ice from the planet's surrounding uplands. The hills are thought to float in a sea of frozen nitrogen and move just like the icebergs in...

February 09, 2016

Planet Nine: Caltech researchers announce evidence of a giant new Solar System planet on a highly elongated orbit

Two Caltech researchers have announced today, January 20, 2016, they have found evidence of a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system. The object, which the researchers have nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about 10 times...

January 20, 2016

Ceres imaged from the lowest orbital altitude ever

NASA's Dawn spacecraft collected new detailed images of the cratered and fractured southern hemisphere surface of the dwarf planet Ceres on December 10, 2015. The spacecraft took the images while cruising in the lowest and final orbit of the small planet. Dawn...

December 23, 2015

Cassini makes final close flyby images of Saturn's moon Enceladus

NASA's Cassini spacecraft made its 22nd and the final close flyby of Saturn's moon Enceladus on December 19, 2015 at 17:49 UTC and will now continue to observe the moon from a much greater distance. The spacecraft passed Enceladus at a distance of 4 999 km...

December 22, 2015

Astronomers create the first weather map of a giant Jupiter-like exoplanet

For the first time, astronomers have actually mapped the weather of an exoplanet beyond our Solar System. Astronomers have found that gas giant HD 189733b has winds swirling at 8690 km/h (5400 mph). This is due to the planets extremely close orbit around its host...

November 18, 2015

Mars' moon Phobos is slowly disintegrating

The long shallow grooves on Phobos are likely early signs of structural damage. Scientists now believe that Phobos is not solid but instead is a pile of rubble covered by a thick layer of dust which makes it look solid. Scientists expect the moon to be pulled apart...

November 14, 2015

New Earth-like exoplanet discovered, only 39 light years away

Scientists have discovered a new exoplanet in our stellar neighborhood, only 39 light years from Earth, Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced on November 11, 2015. The planet shows no signs of being capable of hosting any life, however it is the closest...

November 13, 2015

Astronomers discover the farthest planetoid in the Solar System

Astronomers have spotted a dwarf planet which is three times farther away than Pluto. This makes it the farthest object discovered in the Solar System. Once its orbit is ascertained, planetoid V774104 may teach researchers a lot about the early Solar System. The...

November 12, 2015

New Horizons recent Pluto flyby yields numerous exciting discoveries

NASA's New Horizons science team gathered on the 47th Annual Meeting of the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Sciences in National Harbor, Maryland, taking place from November 8 to 13, 2015, to discuss numerous exciting discoveries that...

November 09, 2015

MAVEN data reveals solar wind emptied Mars' atmosphere, left behind a dry planet

Data from NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission has allowed researchers to understand the drastic transformation in the Martian environment - from a wet, warm climate which may have supported life to the cold and dry planet that it has...

November 06, 2015

First raw image from Enceladus' October 28 flyby now available

First image of Saturn's moon Enceladus has been received from the Cassini spacecraft, NASA reported on October 30, 2015. NASA's Cassini spacecraft was scheduled to perform its deepest-ever dive through the icy plume of Saturn's moon Enceladus on October...

October 31, 2015

ESA's JUICE set to explore Jupiter's mysterious moons

​Astronomers have always been fascinated by the gas giant Jupiter. A planet over 1000 times the size of Earth with 63 natural moons, 4 of whom are nearly as big as planets themselves, Jupiter and its moons are considered to be a mini solar system and are popularly...

October 27, 2015