Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 174 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [planetary-science]

The study of planets, asteroids, comets, etc, including weather, geology, composition, etc. This tag should be used when the focus of the question is on the the science of a non-Earth non-star natural object, and not used when designing spacecraft to cope with said challenges.

5
votes
2answers
344 views

Are rovers useful on low gravity, low atmosphere bodies?

Are rovers useful for exploring low atmosphere, low gravity objects? Are there more appropriate exploratory vehicles being proposed? If I am interested in taking geological samples from a region ...
26
votes
6answers
8k views

Why are probes that tend to explore outer system always launched to go outwards instead of straight upwards or downwards?

Let's take a look at the trajectory of variety probe missions. New Horizons and Ultima Thule will be 4.1 billion miles away when it visits the Kuiper Belt object. This chart shows the path of New ...
5
votes
0answers
165 views

Is there any reason Cyanobacteria or Lichens can't survive on Mars?

According to this article "Mars atmosphere is supersaturated with water" & according to answers to this physics stack exchange question conditions do exist on the surface of Mars where fluid water ...
3
votes
0answers
128 views

What's the deepest a trench could theoretically be dug on Mars?

Given the physical characteristics of Mars (the crusts thickness, it's composition, gravity, etc) how deep a trench (that could be expected to continue to exist indefinitely, or rather, for periods of ...
1
vote
0answers
59 views

Why are InSight's two RISE horns pointed slightly south of east, and north of west?

@karthikeyan's excellent answer links to The Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment on the InSight Mission to Mars (Folkner, W.M., Dehant, V., Le Maistre, S. et al. Space Sci Rev (2018) 214: 100. ...
2
votes
1answer
131 views

How will InSight's RISE antennas end up pointed in the right direction?

The rendering of InSight shows the RISE antennas, the two microwave horns pointed just above the horizontal over each of the solar array paddles. If I understand correctly the experiment works when ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

How could InSight's seismometers be intentionally and meaningfully “pinged”?

I had a friend whose summer job, a long long time ago, was to travel around an unsuspecting rural area, lay a heavy steel plate on the ground, and whack the plate with a sledge hammer. Apparently he ...
2
votes
0answers
29 views

Career in Planetary Science with an Engineering background

I am passionate in achieving a career in Planetary Science. I have a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering background with an average academic record. I want to pursue a career in Planetary ...
1
vote
1answer
46 views

How will “InSight's onboard communications gear perform a radio-science experiment to shed further light on Mars' innards?” (Space.com)

The Space.com article How NASA Mars Lander's 'Steampunk' Claw Will Work (Video) says: InSight's mission aims to provide a detailed look at Mars' interior structure and composition. The lander ...
4
votes
0answers
121 views

Are we still able to terraform Mars using greenhouse effect?

In the last month, a group from University of Colorado, Boulder, published a paper on Nature Astronomy entitled "Inventory of $CO_2$ available for terraforming Mars", which was highly publicized on ...
2
votes
0answers
79 views

How does Mars have a Bow Shock and proton aurora? What is a hydrogen corona?

I just saw the NASA video Mars Proton Aurora below and I'm confused. Without a planetary magnetic field, what force produces a bow shock in the solar wind at Mars, thereby producing a "proton aurora"?...
1
vote
1answer
128 views

Is there evidence of a general trend among scientists regarding the terraforming of Mars? [closed]

I was wondering if there is a general trend or inclination of the scientific community about actually terraforming Mars, i.e. if scientists are for or against this move (again, general trend - ...
1
vote
1answer
82 views

What are some objective that CubeSat's can complete/have completed?

I've been seriously considering looking into launching a CubeSat and it seems that the least of my worries would be design constraints. The money is less of an issue than the "why". There's plenty of ...
57
votes
4answers
10k views

Could we breathe an atmosphere that is not nitrogen based?

As I understand it, the important part of Earth's atmosphere that we breathe is the oxygen. However, Earth's air is only about 21% oxygen with the rest made up of about 78% nitrogen and 1% other gases,...
3
votes
2answers
118 views

How do we determine the internal composition of gas giants?

What kind of scientific experiment can a satellite conduct to determine the internal stucture of a gas giant? I know that geophones and seismic waves can be used for a planetary lander on a rocky ...
4
votes
1answer
102 views

What are the technologies that can identify, validate, and quantify water-rich locations on Mars?

As the discussion progresses from the likelihood that there is water on Mars through yes, near the poles, now to to Is there really a frozen lake near the equator on Mars? and There's a lot of ...
4
votes
2answers
86 views

If something were ejected from the solar system (like a planet for example), where exactly would it end up? Where does it go? [closed]

I have been reading about space and whatnot, and came across an article about a “lost planet” that Jupiter kicked out of the solar system therefore ejecting it, and it made me wonder where it went. ...
4
votes
1answer
119 views

Is really almost all the water in the atmosphere of Venus above the clouds?

In this question about the amount of sulfuric acid in the atmosphere of Venus it is calculated that the amount of water in it's atmosphere is $9.6 \times 10^{15} \text{ kg }$ H$_2$O. In one of the ...
2
votes
1answer
39 views

Concentration of gases in an atmosphere

this question made me think what type of technique is used to get concentration of gases on planets? One can get the composition using spectrometry but is there anyway to tell concentration of each ...
2
votes
1answer
59 views

Where to get Cassini VIMS data and optical transmission spectra of Titan's atmosphere?

In the extensive 2010 paper HYDROCARBON DEPOSITS ON TITAN by Clark et al. there are two plots that show Titan's atmospheric transmission windows. These plots (Figures 1 and 5) can be used to indicate ...
2
votes
0answers
43 views

Does Juno's UVS have any chance to spot Europa plumes?

JIRAM has recently been proven to be useful to monitor the volcanic activity on Io, from a considerable distance. Europa Clipper will have an ultraviolet spectrograph which be pretty much a copy of ...
24
votes
4answers
5k views

What is the deepest we have penetrated a terrestrial body other than Earth?

Curiosity drills 6.4 cm (2.5 inch) holes on Mars. Comet harpoons have been proposed for future space probes. There are a number of ways in which we can penetrate the surface of terrestrial bodies, but ...
1
vote
1answer
60 views

What potential characteristics can be reasonably discussed about a hypothetical Martian microbial ecosystem in lava tubes? [closed]

Based on their hypothetical origin in lava tubes, what characteristics of hypothetical Martian lava tube microbes can we reasonably extrapolate? Could we theorize how different microbe species might ...
1
vote
1answer
52 views

Recommended source for familiarizing oneself with the applications of spectroscopy in planetary science

I have recently entered the field of planetary science as a limited-scope project which is part of my masters' degree in chemistry. My project is going to revolve around Titan and its complex organic ...
1
vote
1answer
195 views

Was there magma on the moon ? Is it still there

Sitting at home I realized spots on the moon. I felt that there are some dents or scars on the moon. It made me suspisious . I searched on net about it and the conclusion I found was that millions of ...
3
votes
2answers
101 views

What is a pickup ion?

I've been reading several publications about Titan's atmosphere and chemistry, and the term "pickup ion" kept appearing here and there (see this publication for example). I looked it up and found the ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Is it possible for something to fall straight down to earth? What are the requirements?

Meteorites leave strewn-fields before impacting, SpaceX rockets come in at an angle and stand up straight at the last second, the Soyuz capsule doesn't fall straight. I assume this has to do with the ...
3
votes
1answer
68 views

How (if possible) can we assess the isotope variations on martian soils?

I'm personally interested in the biological implications of different isotope variations on biology. This can be tested on earth by separating them and just observing, but determining the isotope ...
8
votes
2answers
413 views

How can debris from an impact escape to a stable orbit?

Please help me understand: As far as I understand it, when an object gets thrown off the surface of a planet by an impact and doesn't reach escape velocity it is on a suborbital trajectory and ...
0
votes
2answers
129 views

How did Mariner 2's ridged radiometer dish focus two microwave bands but diffuse IR?

edit: more photos of a model of Mariner 2 here at Historic Spacecraft's Mariner_2. The images and quote are from the book Space Probes and Planetary Exploration William R. Corliss (written under the ...
4
votes
2answers
192 views

How old is the underground lake on Enceladus?

They always talk about how there might be life on Enceladus, but how old is this lake really? I would imagine water being ejected from the moon is not a process that would last forever (because the ...
7
votes
1answer
294 views

Can there be an atmosphere in a cave on an atmosphere-less planet?

I am making an exoplanet for a game and was wondering whether a planet without an atmosphere (or at least with a very weak atmosphere) could support caves that do have an atmosphere, or whether the ...
5
votes
5answers
446 views

What's the scientific evidence of water for return trip methalox on Mars?

EDIT: I am not asking if you think finding water is necessary for a return flight. I'm asking for the scientific evidence that there is mineable water on Mars that could be used for this purpose. ...
16
votes
2answers
386 views

How large could Hyperion be and stay porous?

Here is a question originating on the Worldbuilding stack. Hyperion is porous, with a density of 0.55 g/cc; a little more than half that of water. from https://www.space.com/20770-hyperion-moon.html ...
0
votes
0answers
80 views

Origin and evolution of Earth's atmosphere

The focus of my question pertains to the natural chemical and biological mechanisms which evolved the atmosphere on Earth as we have known it up to modern times (excluding human activity), and how it ...
1
vote
1answer
200 views

What downsides are there to a low pressure dome over a Mars base?

If you added a dome to a mars base, greenhouses too, and added 1/10th Earth pressure (10 kPa) you would be able to grow lichen which could be a food source and a source of oxygen from the carbon ...
9
votes
2answers
293 views

Would a mars base need to expel excess heat?

I've read that on Mars you lose 30% of your heat through convection and 70% through black body radiation. (The much lower amount from convection due to the tenous atmosphere vs. Earth.) http://www....
11
votes
1answer
782 views

Where to find the best values for standard gravitational parameters of solar system bodies?

Where can I find the best values to use for standard gravitational parameters of solar system bodies for numerical simulation experiments? Here are two sets I've put together. The first set is from ...
6
votes
0answers
129 views

What are the contributions of ancient Indian astronomers in mapping of the solar system and galaxies?

In the history of astronomy we usually come up with the name of European astronomers like Kepler and Galileo. Earlier Indian astronomers, for example Aryabhata and Bhaskaracharya, are not usually ...
32
votes
2answers
8k views

Is it true that NASA is hiring a new 'planetary protection officer'?

NASA is hiring a new 'planetary protection officer' to defend Earth from alien matter, and the pay is a six-figure salary: as much as $187,000 a year. When we are not sure whether aliens exist, why ...
2
votes
1answer
139 views

Landing Hazards on Pluto

This is for a fiction project I'm working on. Assuming it becomes possible to someday land on Pluto, what hazards might be encountered given what we've learned about its surface makeup?
5
votes
1answer
314 views

Does freezing carbon dioxide present a “temperature obstacle” on Mars?

I've noticed that the average low temperature at Gale Crater is -78.5 degrees, curiously the freezing temperature of Mars' atmosphere's main component. Is that more than a coincidence? Perhaps the ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

When will we be able to conclusively confirm or disprove Bode's law?

I am reading Heinlein's Time for the Stars(1956) and some of the characters are very excited about confirming Bode's law. The formula suggests that, extending outward, each planet would be ...
-4
votes
1answer
100 views

What Languages Need To Create A Space Application Like Stellarium [closed]

I'm Studying 3rd Year Of Computer Science And Engineering. I Planned To Create A Space Application Like Stellarium For Final Year Project. I'm Space Enthusiast.Please Help Me To Choose Which Language ...
11
votes
1answer
318 views

Would it be possible to “ride the wave” on Venus?

Update: Newly published paper in Nature Geoscience Atmospheric mountain wave generation on Venus and its influence on the solid planet’s rotation rate has open-access links in Science News, ...
5
votes
1answer
384 views

Why is the crust on the near side of the Moon thinner than on the far side?

Why did the Moon form differently on the near side and the far side? The near side has many mare, where the crust was thinner and lava came out after the moon was impacted by meteors. But why was ...
5
votes
1answer
116 views

Will the ExoMars rover offer some unique science capability?

The BBC article Europe's science ministers to decide on ExoMars rover describes a substantial amount of discussion and soul-searching about the level of funding and capabilities for the rover part of ...
4
votes
1answer
888 views

Is there a calculation for determining the thickness of a planet's atmosphere?

I'm wondering if there a way to determine how thick (from the surface to the edge of space(karman line)) a planet's atmosphere would be. Assume an earth body like Earth or Mars (not a gas giant). I ...
3
votes
1answer
345 views

How does it look to be on the surface of Sedna?

Sedna is far away from the Sun and receives only a small amount of light, even if it is close to perihelion. What would a human eye see on the surface of Sedna? Would there be enough light to see ...
3
votes
2answers
78 views

Data from space missions

Is in general possible to download data from space missions? I mean "raw" data from sensors instead of the few artistic pictures released to public. Or do scientists keep those files in their secret ...