NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, decommissioned earlier this year, made important discoveries about comets, stars, exoplanets and distant galaxies, leaving a lasting legacy of solar system science. A team of more than a dozen scientists from the US and Europe collaborated on two review papers published in the journal Nature Astronomy inventorying the major discoveries made possible by Spitzer.
A national team of scientists Thursday published in the journal Nature Astronomy two papers that provide an inventory of the major discoveries made possible thanks to Spitzer and offer guidance on where the next generation of explorers should point the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) when it launches in October 2021.
New findings from NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission suggest that the interior of the asteroid Bennu could be weaker and less dense than its outer layers--like a crème-filled chocolate egg flying though space.
As the days count down to NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft's Touch-And-Go asteroid sample collection attempt, Southwest Research Institute scientists have helped determine what the spacecraft can expect to return from the near-Earth asteroid Bennu's surface. Three papers published online by Science on Oct. 8 discuss the color, reflectivity, age, composition, origin and distribution of materials that make up the asteroid's rough surface.
NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft mission's first attempt to pick up the sample is scheduled for Oct. 20, 2020, and the spacecraft is scheduled to return the sample back to Earth on Sept. 24, 2023. In advance of the sample collection, the science team published a set of six papers in Science and Science Advances to share its scientific findings to date while building interest in the upcoming event.
New international research into the Moon provides scientists with insights as to how and why its crust is magnetised, essentially 'debunking' one of the previous longstanding theories.
The trans-Neptunian object Arrokoth, also known as Ultima Thule, which NASA's space probe New Horizons passed on New Year's Day 2019, may have changed its shape significantly in the first 100 million years since its formation. In today's issue of Nature Astronomy, researchers led by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research suggest that the current shape of Arrokoth could be of evolutionary origin due to volatile outgassing.
Earth could have lost anywhere between ten and 60 per cent of its atmosphere in the collision that is thought to have formed the Moon.
A study of comet motions indicates that the Solar System has a second alignment plane. Analytical investigation of the orbits of long-period comets shows that the aphelia of the comets, the point where they are farthest from the Sun, tend to fall close to either the well-known ecliptic plane where the planets reside or a newly discovered 'empty ecliptic.' This has important implications for models of how comets originally formed in the Solar System.
A new study authored by Southwest Research Institute scientists Rodrigo Leiva and Marc Buie reveals the binary nature of a trans-Neptunian object (TNO). Leiva and Buie utilized data obtained by the Research and Education Collaborative Occultation Net-work (RECON), a citizen science research network dedicated to observing the outer so-lar system. The study was published this month in The Astrophysical Journal.