Triton orbits Neptune, the eighth planet from the Sun, some 2.7 billion miles from Earth — at the cold outer fringe of our Solar System’s major planet zone. Surface temperatures hover near absolute zero; so low that common compounds… Read more
Astronomy and Planetary Science
Scientists have discovered nearly all “extinction-scale” Near-Earth Objects, or NEOs (asteroids larger than 1 kilometer in diameter) and determined they pose no risk of impact in the near future. But there are still thousands of smaller NEOs that pose a potential danger.
NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO) coordinates the detection… Read more
When 51 Pegasi b was the first planet orbiting a Sun-like star discovered outside our solar system in 1995, the question of whether life exists in other corners of our galaxy shifted from, “Do exoplanets exist?” to “How do we recognize whether an exoplanet can support life?”
Since then, NASA’s Kepler mission and ground-based surveys of exoplanets have revealed… Read more
Jan. 4, 2019
A team of astronomers, including Northern Arizona University scientist Chad Trujillo, earlier this week announced their discovery of an object at about 120 astronomical units (AU) from Earth—the farthest observed object in the solar system. One AU represents the distance between the Earth and the Sun, approximately 93 million miles.
Nicknamed “Farout” by the discovery team—and formally designated 2018 VG18 by the International… Read more
Nov. 14, 2018
In November 2017, a team of scientists pointed NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope toward a comet-like object known as ’Oumuamua—the first interstellar body ever found in our solar system—but the object proved too faint for the infrared telescope to detect.
Though initially disappointing, this non-detection of ’Oumuamua eventually provided new information about the cosmic interloper, according to a new… Read more
Colonizing Mars as a backup planet for Earth has been a theme in both science fiction and popular science for decades, and NASA plans to send human explorers to the Red Planet within the next 20 years.
But how feasible is it for humans to explore or colonize Mars? With an average daily… Read more