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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How do domes in lunar impact melts develop, and might they be hollow?

On the floors of young craters of the Moon, smoothly rounded domes are visible in some spots. Lalande crater has 4 of them, each around 200 m across. Here are less regular ones on the floor of ...
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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 ...
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Why does the Moon's Anaxagoras crater seem sort of jumbled?

Now that very high resolution imagery of the Moon's whole north, above 60oN, can be viewed on one giant awesome zoomable map, I've been taking a close look at a number of craters. Anaxagoras sticks ...
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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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Probing gas giant planets by descending through a cyclones's “eye”?

On Earth cyclones have regions of calm weather commonly known as eyes. They appear to create tunnels spreading from the top of the atmosphere down to the sea level. Wikipedia article mentions their ...
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Is Geothermal Cooling on Venus Possible?

Would geothermal type cooling be possible for a stationary base on the surface of Venus? Would the subsoil temperature of Venus hotter or cooler than the atmospheric temperature? (464C / 867F average ...
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How does Curiosity's X-ray diffractometer work? Does it measure only one angle at a time or does it have an area detector?

Per this answer to Are quasicrystals common on the Moon and Mars?, Curiosity has an X-ray diffractometer. X-ray diffraction from 3D crystals can (begin to) be understood by embracing Bragg's law. A 3D ...
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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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What does “clumps and streams” of hydrogen leaving Mars' atmosphere really mean? Are there images of them?

This excellent answer to Just how huge is Mars' cloud of hydrogen? links to the 14 October 2014 Nature News item "Hydrogen Cloud Blows Off Mars", by Alexandra Witze, https://www.nature.com/...
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Why is the Southern Hemisphere of Mars is heavily struck by asteroids while the northern part is relatively smooth?

The northern hemisphere of Mars is smooth with flats lands but areas particularly below the Tharsis rise is heavily cratered, also Hellas basin, one of the largest impact craters is located in the ...
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Has any rover dragged a magnet across martian soil to see what gets picked up? Any magnetic measurements of specific rocks or particles of any kind?

On Earth, amateur and sometimes professional scientists collect dust from the tops of buildings or mountians (see also) and separate it with a magnet to obtain meteoric material. Not all meteoric ...
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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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What would happen in this cavern on the Moon?

Imagine a large cavern on the moon, around the theoretical size limit determined by Purdue university - about 1.5 kilometers high, and 5 kilometers across on the floor. This cavern is a kilometer or ...
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Is planetary impact testing planned for the InSight Mars lander's seismometers?

The question How could InSight's seismometers be intentionally and meaningfully “pinged”? is a hypothetical and has several good speculative answers. But here I'd like to ask specifically about any ...
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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 ...
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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, (which by itself is unremarkable). Without a planetary magnetic field, what force produces a bow shock in the solar wind at Mars, ...
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Surface material on Saturn's moon Rhea

The Cassini mission has made several flybys of Saturn's second largest moon, Rhea. Do we have any data about that moon's surface geochemistry? I do know there is a thin Oxygen/Carbon Dioxide ...
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Did Chang'e-3 and/or Yutu report getting hit by the Earth's magnetotail?

@DavidHammen's answer to If a solar flare happened during a total lunar eclipse, would the Earth block the flare from hitting the moon? And for how long? describes the regular lashing of the Moon by ...
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Is ESA's ExoMars TGA getting old and unable to support Rosalind Franklin rover for the full potential duration of its missions and extensions?

Wikipedia's ExoMars explains that the Trace Gas Orbiter or TGO part of the mission was launched in 2016 and the rover was originally scheduled to launch in 2018. This launch was delayed until 2020 and ...
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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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What Jovian system science targets would be suitable for Jupiter gravity assist flyby missions with other primary purposes?

Flying by Jupiter for gravity assist, and with the Oberth effect bonus, has been used for multiple missions to other outer planets and to comets. And has potential for use even for missions aiming at ...
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If we could manipulate the orbits of bodies, how big of an object would be needed to impact Venus to create a moon?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant-impact_hypothesis The Giant Impact hypothesis for our own Moon explains not only our Moon but how our molten mantle got "stirred" enough to create our ...
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Why Perseverance's landing ellipse straddled the cliffs in the river delta; why so ambivalent about the two different geologies?

The Perseverance landing site has now been named for Octavia E. Butler and from here there will be a meandering climb to get up on top of the "cliffs" that are in the delta. I think that ...
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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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102 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 ...