Articles on Solar system

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Pluto is a dwarf planet but that doesn’t make it any less worthy of our attention. NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Planet or dwarf planet: all worlds are worth investigating

A group of astronomers are trying to reclassify Pluto as full 'planet'. But there are good reasons to leave our classification system alone, and this doesn't mean Pluto is any less interesting.
Right side of the moon. NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

How old is our moon?

The moon may be slightly older than previously thought, suggests a new study.
The HI-SEAS mission gives people a chance to practise on Earth what life would be like on Mars. A crew member here from the 2015 mission. Flickr/University of Hawaii/HI-SEAS

Human trials on Earth are the key to how we will survive on Mars

What's the best way to find out how people will cope with the journey to Mars and life on another planet? Lock a test crew up for a year in a simulation right here on Earth.
New Horizons continues to help unravel the icy dwarf planet’s secrets. NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

Picture of Pluto further refined by months of New Horizons data

After last summer's Pluto flyby, the New Horizons spacecraft started sending data back to Earth – at 2 kilobits per second. Here's some of what scientists have learned so far from that rich, slow cache.
An artist’s illustration of Kappa Ceti whose stellar winds are 50 times stronger than our sun’s. Any Earth-like planet would need a magnetic field to protect its atmosphere if it was to stand a chance of hosting life. M. Weiss/CfA

What the ‘weather’ is like on a star can help in the search for life

In the search for life on other planets in the universe we need to find the right kind of star, and it needs to have the right kind of space weather.
Mercury in exaggerated colour. The dark blue areas are rich in carbon. NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

The more we learn about Mercury, the weirder it seems

Recent research explaining why Mercury is so dark raises many new questions.
Artist’s impression: Looking back 12.9-billion km towards the sun and the inner solar system from Sedna, one of the recently discovered minor planets in the Kuiper belt. NASA, ESA and Adolf Schaller

The long hunt for new objects in our expanding solar system

The search for new objects, including new planets, in our solar system has turned up some interesting finds. There have been a few failures over the years too.

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