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Solar System

Sun | Mercury | Venus | Mars | Jupiter | Saturn | Uranus | Neptune | Pluto | Moon | Comets/Asteroids


Solar Wind Originates In Coronal Funnels
The ESA/NASA SOHO spacecraft determines the origin of the fast solar wind flowing from funnel-shaped magnetic fields which are anchored in the lanes of the magnetic network near the surface of the Sun.

Young Sun's X-ray flares may have saved Earth
Titanic flares may create turbulence in the swirling dust discs around young stars, preventing nascent planets from spiralling in to their destruction.

Solving The Mystery Of Solar Flares London, UK (SPX) Apr 06, 2005
An international group of scientists led by the Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL), University College London, has discovered important new evidence that points to the cataclysmic events that trigger a solar flare and the mechanisms that drive its subsequent evolution.

Genesis capsule reveals solar wind secrets
Particles of solar wind have been successfully extracted from NASA's Genesis space capsule, despite its spectacular crash landing in 2004.




Next Stop Venus: Europe's Express Probe Launches Toward Earth's 'Twin'
A European probe is bound for the planet Venus on a mission to peel back the shroud of the planet’s thick atmosphere after successfully launching into space atop a Russian rocket.

Earth's Moon

Chinese Company Closed For Selling Land On The Moon Beijing (AFP) Nov 07, 2005
A Chinese company has had its license suspended after it tried to make money by selling land on the moon, state media reported Monday.

Take a Virtual Trip to the Moon.

Two New Moons Discovered Orbiting Pluto
Scientists have discovered two new moons circling Pluto, an ice-shrouded chunk of rock that will soon lose its status as the only unexplored planet in the solar system. A NASA spacecraft called New Horizons is being prepared for launch to Pluto in January.

Planetary billiards answer Solar System riddle
Scattering rocks moved planets and battered the Moon.

Moon Fountains Huntsville AL (SPX) Mar 31, 2005
It's astonishing how prophetic some science fiction has been. Back in 1956, two years before NASA was even created, Hal Clement published a short Sci-Fi story called "Dust Rag", about two astronauts descending into a crater on the Moon to investigate a mysterious haze dimming stars near the lunar horizon.

First "Private" Lunar Mission Succeeded Despite NASA Roadblocks
Tucson AZ (SPX) Apr 04, 2005 - "Lunar Prospector Against All Odds," by Alan Binder, Ph.D., is the highly personal and engaging story of how the Lunar Prospector orbital mapping mission was developed and carried out by the author between late 1989 and 2001.

Lunar Colony To Run On Moon Dust London, UK (SPX) Jan 20, 2005
Simulated moon dust has been used to make a key component of a working solar cell, giving an unexpected boost to President George W. Bush's project of setting up a colony on the moon, reports New Scientist.


Interplanetary Whodunit: Methane On Mars Moffett Field CA (SPX) Jul 21, 2005
Mars is the planet that refuses to say "die." In 1996, after centuries of speculation about canals, icecaps and vegetation, NASA's David McKay reported seeing traces of ancient bacteria in a meteorite from Mars.

Ancient Floods On Mars: Where Iani Chaos Opens Into Ares Vallis Paris, France (SPX) Jun 02, 2005
These images, taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) aboard ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, show a large depression called Iani Chaos and the upper reaches of a large outflow channel called Ares Vallis.

The Many Faces of Mars
One rover found an ancient desert; the other, a once watery world. Mars's diversity rivaled Earth's.

Evidence For Extensive, Olivine-Rich Bedrock On Mars Honolulu HI (SPX) May 30, 2005
By using new, high spatial resolution infrared data from NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft, Victoria Hamilton from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Philip Christensen from Arizona State University have concluded that a region on the surface of Mars known to contain olivine-rich rocks is actually 4 times larger than previously estimated.

Lego Biology Moffett Field CA (SPX) Apr 07, 2005
Chris McKay, a planetary scientist at the Ames Research Center, has long been investigating the coldest and driest places on Earth. These harsh environments - and the ability of life to adapt there - could point the way to finding life on Mars.

Warming Up To A Martian Carcass Moffett Field CA (SPX) Mar 23, 2005
The detection of methane on Mars has generated a lot of speculation about what could possibly be producing it. Is it coming out of active volcanoes?

Hourglass Shaped Craters Filled With Traces Of Glaciers Paris, France (SPX) Mar 20, 2005
This image, taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, shows flow features most likely formed by glaciers or "block" glaciers. See also 'Kissing craters' on Mars reveal glacial activity.

New images reveal volcanic hotspot on Mars
Pictures from the Mars Express spacecraft suggest recent volcanic activity may have spewed out water and ash - it may be happening still.

'Pack ice' suggests frozen sea on Mars
An 800-kilometre-wide sea, surviving as broken plates, appears to lie just beneath the surface in observations from the Mars Express spacecraft. The sea is just 5 degrees north of the Martian equator and would be the first discovery of a large body of water outside the planet's polar ice caps.

Mars Rover Finds Metal Meteorite By Irene Mona Klotz, Discovery News. Jan. 20, 2005
Fresh from an inspection of its discarded heat shield, the Mars rover Opportunity scrutinized an odd-looking nearby rock and discovered a meteorite, a finding that is reshaping its science agenda at Meridiani Planum, the lead scientist for the rover mission said Wednesday.




Aerobot aims for Titan
Robotic plane could survey alien moons or Amazon rain forest.

Dragon Storms And Tiger Stripes: Scientists Stunned By New Saturn Data Cambridge, England (AFP) Sep 05 2005
New data sent back by the Cassini space probe has left scientists beguiled by Saturn's seething clouds of gas, the beauty and unexpected turbulence of its rings and the diversity of its moons, a conference heard on Monday.

Cassini Finds Recent And Unusual Geology On Enceladus
NASA's Cassini spacecraft has obtained new, detailed images of the south polar region of Saturn's moon Enceladus. The data reveal distinctive geological features and the most youthful terrain seen on the moon. These findings point to a very complex evolutionary history for Saturn's brightest, whitest satellite.

Cassini Zeros In on Saturn's Strange Satellite
Since entering Saturn's orbit on June 30 last year, the Cassini spacecraft has sent back intriguing images of some of the planet's 34 known moons. Newly released pictures from Cassini's first encounter with one such moon, Hyperion, indicate that the irregularly shaped satellite resembles a heap of rubble.

Bizarre boulders litter Saturn moon's icy surface
The Cassini probe has made its closest flyby yet, revealing giant boulders on the snow-white moon Enceladus - but how they got there is a mystery.

Cassini Gradually Revealing Phoebe's Origin Pasadena CA (JPL) May 30, 2005
Data from the NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini-Huygens mission are providing convincing evidence that Saturn's moon Phoebe was formed elsewhere in the Solar System, and was only later caught by the planet's gravitational pull.

First full mosaics of Titan’s surface.

Saturn Moon Phoebe Adopted.
The scientists believe that Phoebe, an odd, small moon of Saturn, was captured by the planet's gravity from the Kuiper Belt, a region beyond Neptune where frozen rubble left over from the formation of the solar system resides. The Kuiper Belt is the birthplace of comets and other icy objects. 

Have we cracked Saturn's walnut?
Its moon Iapetus is darker on one hemisphere and boasts a huge ridge at the equator on that side - the two phenomena may have a single cause.

Cassini Finds New Saturn Moon That Makes Waves Pasadena (JPL) May 11, 2005
In a spectacular kick-off to its first season of prime ring viewing, which began last month, the Cassini spacecraft has confirmed earlier suspicions of an unseen moon hidden in a gap in Saturn's outer A ring.

Atmosphere found on Enceladus
Saturn's shiny moon is shown to have a watery shroud.

NASA's Cassini Spacecraft Continues Making New Discoveries Pasadena CA (JPL) Feb 25, 2005
NASA's Cassini spacecraft continues making new and exciting discoveries. New findings include wandering and rubble-pile moons; new and clumpy Saturn rings; splintering storms and a dynamic magnetosphere.

Saturn's Moons Titan And Enceladus Seen By Cassini Pasadena (JPL) Feb 18, 2005
NASA's Cassini spacecraft has had a busy week, snapping stunning new images of two of Saturn's moons -- smoggy Titan on Feb. 15 and wrinkled Enceladus on Feb. 16.

Lakefront Landing In Creme Brule, Titan Darmstadt, Germany (SPX) Jan 17, 2005
For the first time, humans have gotten a close-up look at Titan, the planet-sized moon. Huygens, scientists say, has landed in soil with the consistency of wet sand or clay.






Cosmic 'cigar' spins at astonishing pace
Pluto's neighbour has a very unexpected shape.

A planet larger than Pluto has been discovered in the outlying regions of the solar system. The planet was discovered using the Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar Observatory near San Diego, Calif. The planet is a typical member of the Kuiper belt, but its sheer size in relation to the nine known planets means that it can only be classified as a planet. 


Asteroids Caused The Early Inner Solar System Cataclysm
"When we derived the projectile sizes from the cratering record using scaling laws, the ancient and more recent projectile sizes matched the ancient and younger asteroid populations smack on," Strom said. "It's an astonishing fit."

NASA Research Finds Green Sand Crystals (Olivine) Are In Comet Tempel 1 

Comet Impact Unearths More Questions
Among the surprising results, which are detailed in this week's issue of the journal Science, is the first evidence that comets may hold more than remnants of the solar system's formation. Tempel 1, at least, shows a geologic history, with what looks like impact craters on its surface, as well as layers of rock, origin unknown.

Deep Impact: sifting through the debris
When Deep Impact's washing-machine-sized probe slammed into comet Tempel 1 on 4 July, teams of astronomers watched using telescopes in space and around the world. Nature investigates what the images tell us so far about the comet's composition and history.

Deep Impact Collision Provides Comet Clues
In the early hours of July 4, Deep Impact's 820-pound probe collided with the Comet Tempel 1, providing scientists with a celestial show that should garner new insight into the evolution of comets. See also Comet's crater hidden, but plume tells story.

Preparing For Impact Garching, Germany (SPX) May 31, 2005
On July 4, 2005, the NASA Deep Impact spacecraft will visit Comet 9P/Tempel 1. It will launch a 360 kg impactor that should produce a crater on the surface of the comet and a plume of gas and dust.