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.

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4
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2answers
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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 ...
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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. But the ...
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How much sulphuric acid is on Venus?

According to Wikipedia there are just 150 ppm of sulphur dioxide and 20 ppm of water in Venus' atmosphere. At the same time it is known that there is a considerable amount of sulphuric acid in the ...
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Is the surface environment of Venus corrosive?

Venus famously has clouds of concentrated sulfuric acid in its upper atmosphere. Frequently I will see posts here citing the acidity of the atmosphere as a challenge to probes on the surface (such as &...
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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 ...
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How does time work on other planets?

I’m a game developer making a space-based game. I want to implement a system where the time is different depending on the planet. I think this would work like time zones, but to be honest, I’m not ...
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What is “Planetary Defense”, and what are the threats one can potentially defend against?

The planetary-defense tag has the current (my) awkwardly-written description. related to the defense of a planet from a major destructive event such as an impact, or searches for or studies of ...
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Roughly express how much of our Moon's apparent libration amplitude seen from the Geocenter is due to different effects?

My understanding is that when tidal locking of a body first happens it transitions from a state where the average rotation period is faster than the orbital period to a state where they are the same ...
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Obtaining Europa's samples from Callisto. Possible to identify them? Worthwhile?

A lot has been discussed about the possibility of panspermia between Earth and Mars, and how compact systems such as Trappist-1 can be more prone to that. Here on Earth, we have identified numerous ...
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Could there be caves/underground tunnels in Venus?

If so, would they have the same pressure/temperature than of the surface of Venus? How could we "scan" the surface to gather that kind of information? For reference, there are several images of lava ...
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What would be the challenges for a 50 km long tether to the surface of Venus to get recurrent surface samples there?

Basalt fiber would be an excellent material for a tether in the atmosphere of Venus because it could withstand both the acidity and the high temperature near the surface there. From this answer about ...
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Do scientist who study martian geology typically use the term areology?

In the book Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson, I came across the word "areology". Is this word often used in scientific publications, or is it a term limited to the scope of science-fiction, ...
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What will be the effect if we stand on Jupiter?

As we all know Jupiter is a gaseous gas giant and it has a large mass, almost twice the sum of all other planets in the Solar system. So, if it happens that we go to Jupiter, and, as we know it does ...
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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 ...
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Using Venus' Atmosphere to Cool the Earth [closed]

The Starfish Prime nuclear test on July 9, 1962 caused massive fluctuations and degradation of the Earth's magnetic field. This field is largely responsible for redirecting the Sun's solar radiation. ...
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Will there be a team of planetary scientists advising the Emirates Mars Mission team?

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) recently announced plans to send a probe, named al-Amal (Hope), into Mars orbit. A new group called the Emirates Mars Mission was created to head this effort. The ...
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Is Earth's “pear shape” mostly J₃?

@OrganicMarble's answer to 1959 Peanuts cartoon about the Fischer ellipsoid (Earth is “pear-shaped”)? finally let me see the cartoon that Mathematician, Engineer and Geoscientist Irene Fischer wrote ...
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How “locked” are Pluto and Charon? How much does each librate as seen from the other?

Discussion below Are all or some geostationary satellites tidally locked to the Earth? got me thinking about Pluto and Charon. According to Wikipedia: Charon and Pluto orbit each other every 6.387 ...
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Would there be snow, rain, fog or clouds in a deep, sealed, subsurface cavern on the Moon if water were present?

The question Most efficient method of storing energy with water on the moon? proposes a several hundred meeter tall subsurface cavern on the Moon. I added the following comment to an answer: I keep ...
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Possible explanations to a negative correlation between iron (Ferromagnetic) and magnetic field observations from orbit

When looking at magnetic field observation of a planet with no current magnetic field, we can observe magnetic anomalies, which is basically when ferromagnetic minerals acquire remanent magnetization ...
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What radio signals have NASA transmitted to outside our solar system?

What radio signal have NASA transmitted to outside our solar system and what did they contain?
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Is there an European Space Agency's innovative advanced concept program?

I would like to know if there's an equivalent to NASA's NIAC at ESA. If that's the case, I would like to know if I can read some of these concept studies and what stages of approval they need.
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Do penitentes predicted on Europa only apply to snow-covered areas and not bare ice?

This answer to What would ice-skating be like on Europa? cautions that it might be difficult because there may be penitentes which Wikipedia explains are snow formations. It links to EarthSky.org's ...
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Have gravitation multipoles of Jupiter and Saturn beyond J2 been measured or at least estimated? At least the zonal harmonics?

This excellent answer has me wondering if there are any measurements or estimates of gravitational multipole moments of Jupiter or Saturn beyond J2. Here is what I found for J2 (in unitless form) in ...
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Which scientific articles together give proof of all the chemical elements found on Mars?

Wikipedia about the elemental composition of Mars: Based on these data sources, scientists think that the most abundant chemical elements in the Martian crust, besides silicon and oxygen, are iron, ...
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How does a planet's gravity push away smaller bodies that would otherwise intersect its orbit?

I was reading an article about dwarf planets online where I stumbled upon the following definition of a planet: The International Astronomical Union defines a planet as being in orbit around the ...
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What was Steve? Is it called something else now?

"Steve" was a temporary name for a space phenomenon above the Earth. Since then it's likely much work as been done and a more permanent name chosen. So I'd like to ask what Steve really was/is, and if ...
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Does Mars have badlands?

This excellent answer addresses the amazing 3D structures shown in the image below: The terrain examples show some striking similarities to what is referred to in the United States as "Badlands" - ...
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What is the slope of the sides of Aristarchus crater on the Moon?

The question If you fell into a crater on the moon in your spacesuit and no jetpack, is there a way to use low gravity to get out of the hole? mentions Aristarchus crater as an example. It's a pretty ...
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How much sunlight gets to the surface of Titan? What would astronauts see?

Saturn being at 10 A.U. means sunlight on Titan's cloud tops is about 1/100 that on Earth's. That's 4000 times the illumination of Earth's moon. Titan's atmosphere is described as opaque smog. If ...
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1answer
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How many times were things crashed into the Moon “for science” (seismic events)?

This answer to Did Apollo 13 produce any scientific results? begins: In addition to crashing the Saturn V's S-IVB into the moon to collect seismic data from sensors installed by the crews of Apollo ...
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Lunar surface illumination levels

I am trying to determine the lunar surface near or far side daytime illumination levels in Lux or foot-candles but there seems to be no directly measured values available. I did find this information ...
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1answer
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Why must “Mercury’s core (be) partially molten” to explain its weak magnetism?

EarthSky.org's Top 5 Mercury mysteries that BepiColombo will solve says: Why does Mercury have a magnetic field? Not too many planets have a magnetic field. Among the rocky planets of the inner ...
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Can I harvest diamonds from the rain of Saturn and Jupiter?

A recent news article on BBC News indicates that 1,000 tonnes of diamonds a year are being created on Saturn This is like science fact that screams it must be Science Fiction! Assuming the ...
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6answers
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Is it possible for a moon to have a higher surface gravity than the planet it is attached to?

Is it possible that a moon has a higher surface gravity than its planet? I guess it would mean that the moon has a higher mass, but then it would be the planet gravitating around the moon and the ...
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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, ...
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1answer
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3D celestial puzzler; why InSight's two RISE horns point slightly south of east, and north of west?

note: possibly helpful: LaRa after RISE: Expected improvement in the Mars rotation and interior models Contraindre la structure interne de Mars avec GINS @karthikeyan's excellent answer links to ...
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1answer
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Are there any preliminary results from Mars lander InSight's RISE antennas?

@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. ...
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Is the sunlight reflected off of either the atmosphere or surface of a planet polarized?

Is the reflecting off of the surface of the terrestrial planets (those with or without an atmosphere), or the gas- or ice-giants, polarized, or unpolarized like the sunlight before it is reflected?
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Underground sea in Titan, is it water or hydrocarbons?

The truth is that I have read a lot and I have become confused, the underground sea that Titan has, is it water or hydrocarbons, is anyone certain?
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Feasibility of colonising Ceres?

Ceres is a dwarf planet in the midst of the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter - its location in the Asteroid Belt makes it a good base to mine the riches believed to exist in the asteroids. ...
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When is the next Outer Planet lineup (Voyager)

If I remember correctly, The construction and launch of the Voyager spacecrafts in the early 1970s had an urgency as there was to be an unusual lineup of the outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus ...
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Most likely future sample return missions?

Please bear in mind I have very little space/astronomy knowledge with any comments or answers but I am curious and quite keen to learn. Aside from Mars itself as that is such a likely candidate, what ...
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1answer
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Can mineralogy maps be made without dedicated instruments? MAGIC at Callisto

While we are still waiting for the official Discovery finalists announcement, and it's perhaps a bit premature to be discussing the proposals, I've been thinking about the exciting MAGIC mission to ...
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1answer
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How were Mars' zero elevation datum defined? What are their shapes?

Discussions on Boiling ponds and pools on Mars? led me to Wikipedia's Mars; Geography and naming of surface features which says: Because Mars has no oceans and hence no "sea level", a zero-...
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1answer
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Are Mars' atmospheric CO₂, O₂ and CO in equilibrium? Are sunlight or chemical reactions involved?

According to the NASA JPL video linked below the top five gases comprising the martian atmosphere include CO₂, O₂ and CO. Do the proportions reflect some chemical equilibrium? Are sunlight or chemical ...
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How does composition change if you extend an Earthlike atmosphere 50km below sea level? [closed]

I'm working to design a fictional planet inspired by Venus (let's call it Cael). At an altitude of 50 km, Cael's atmosphere is essentially identical to Earth's atmosphere at sea level, and parallels ...
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1answer
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How are marsquake epicenters determined using only one seismometer?

This tweet says: Cerberus Fossae is the first active seismic zone ever discovered on Mars. Located about 1,600 kilometers east of @NASAInSight lander, this huge extensive tectonic structure was the ...
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How can Mars have dust storms with such a thin atmosphere?

Mars, as I understand, has a very thin atmosphere. However, it still has weather like this: What causes the thin atmosphere to move fast enough to cause such a monster wave of dust?
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How strong is the electric charge capacity of Martian dust storms?

In my answer to What would it feel like to be in a Martian dust storm? I assert that Martian dust storms would be best avoided, and as one of the reasons (besides carrying corrosive chemicals like ...

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