AidSpace Blog

Category Archives: Planetary Science

Scratching Beneath the Surface

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What’s inside a planet? What instruments do scientists use to figure it out? And what clues does a planet’s surface give us? On Saturday, April 21, Lisa Walsh and I, scientists from the Museum’s Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, invited visitors to the National Air and Space Museum’s Explore the Universe Family Day to   …Continue Reading


Climate Change in the Solar System

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We are all familiar with the climate on Earth: the seasons, the range of surface temperatures that are just right for being a water world, the oxygen we breathe, the ozone layer that protects us from UV radiation. In short: habitable. So what other bodies in the Solar System might be (or might have been)   …Continue Reading


Was Mars Ever Habitable?

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If all goes according to plan, on November 25th the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover Curiosity will leave the Earth and begin its journey to Mars. Any delays due to weather or other factors should be accommodated by a launch window that extends until December 18th. The spacecraft will use a new landing system to   …Continue Reading


Where are the Voyagers now?

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The remarkable twin Voyager spacecraft continue to explore the outer reaches of the solar system decades after they completed their surveys of the Outer Planets.  Launched in 1977 (September 5 for Voyager 1 (V1) and August 20 for Voyager 2 (V2), whose trajectory took it past Jupiter after Voyager 1), the spacecraft pair made many   …Continue Reading


Curiosity Landing Site

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Here is a riddle: What takes more than 60 locations, 5 years, and 150 scientists to decide? The landing site for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover Curiosity. Picking the landing site for a spacecraft to land on another planet is always serious business. And the job of finding the best location for Curiosity to   …Continue Reading