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How the Trip to Titan Changed Everything

By on Mar 7, 2017 in Solar System | 0 comments

There are many missions and discoveries that have truly reshaped the way we think about the planets, stars, solar system and beyond. However, the Cassini-Huygens mission is arguably one of the most important missions for humankind. A moon that truly opened our eyes is Titan. It’s Saturn’s largest moon and the only moon in our solar system to have a dense atmosphere. Many people are familiar with our missions to the Moon or Mars but not everyone is familiar with the mission to Titan. We’ll take a look at the story of getting to Titan and its challenges as well as what we were expecting vs. what was found when we took a closer look at Titan.   Finding a Way to Get to Titan Together Getting to Titan wasn’t going to be easy and NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) were already thinking about how to accomplish this in 1982. Remember, Saturn is about 10 AU or...

The Strange Wonders of Jupiter’s Moon Callisto

By on Feb 29, 2016 in Solar System | 0 comments

Imagine a moon where your typical view is the gargantuan planet Jupiter. It never seems to move across the sky and just stares right back at you. This is probably a typical view from most of the moons around Jupiter but there is one that separates itself from the rest; enter Callisto. Quick Facts About Callisto Discovered in 1610 by Galileo 16 Earth day orbital & rotation periods (synchronous) Average radius: 2,410 km (Earth’s moon = 1,737 km) Callisto is a very intriguing planet when you start getting a closer look at it. Its cratered filled surface tells a story of ancient turmoil since the early solar system. We know that its other comparable siblings – Io, Europa, and Ganymede – experiences tidal heating as a result of orbital resonance. Meaning the enormous effect of a tug of war between Jupiter’s gravity and these moons causes some internal heating....

MAVEN Reveals How Mars Lost its Atmosphere

By on Nov 7, 2015 in Solar System | 0 comments

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution or the MAVEN mission discovered some incredible new pieces of information about Mars. These findings revealed that the Sun, in its devilish way, destroyed the atmosphere of Mars. Stripping away a heavenly environment where water flowed and life could thrive in. Furthermore, NASA learned that the once-thick atmosphere of Mars was blown away by the Sun’s solar winds between 4.2 billion and 3.7 billion years ago.   What’s terrifying is that Mars only retained 1% of its atmosphere as a result. Not only that but the rate at which Mars was losing its atmosphere: one quarter pound of atoms per second! That is the mass of a cheeseburger being stripped away by the solar winds every second. A tasty but frightening image. What about our very own Earth? Don’t we get hit by solar winds too? Well our Earth is shielded by such harmful...

The Mystery on How Saturn and Jupiter were Formed

By on Aug 25, 2015 in Solar System | 0 comments

Saturn and Jupiter are one of the largest gaseous planets in our solar system that hold a plethora of excitement and mystery. One of the mysteries is how these planets actually formed. You may be thinking to yourself, “Is that really a big mystery to us?” And the answer is yes. Let me tell you why.     The mystery starts with the widely accepted theory called core accretion model. This model states that a planet-sized core of rock and ice form first. Following that, an inflow of interstellar gas and dust latch on to the growing planet. At this part of the model is where it gets a little dicey, because you see the very first step of this process doesn’t match up with the following: Accumulating a massive atmosphere requires a solid core of 10x that of Earth. However, these objects must form in a few million years. Why does that matter? It matters because the...

5 Awesome Things You May Not Know About Pluto

By on Jun 21, 2015 in Solar System | 3 comments

In the last decade Pluto has gone through a lot of controversy around whether it’s a planet or not. However, controversy aside there are some really cool discoveries happening in the just the last month or so. We’re going to take a look at my favorite 5 things about Pluto that you may not know about. Please let me know in the comments below of a Pluto fact that you really found interesting or fascinating.   1. Pluto’s color was not what we expected Pluto’s color is a lot different than some of us had imagined. I thought it might have been blue because it’s considered an icy dwarf planet. However, that is actually not the case at all here. First off Pluto has two contrasting colors – beige / dark orange and to me what looks like a grey or grey with a tinge of blue. Actually, the internet had represented Pluto in either red or blue. So I’d...

5 Amazing Facts Everyone Should Know About Our Sun

By on Feb 15, 2015 in Solar System | 4 comments

5 Amazing Facts Everyone Should Know About Our Sun       We hear a lot about other gorgeous planets like Saturn or Jupiter and we appreciate the Sun but never hear too much about it. What is the Sun exactly? The Sun is a beautiful ball of hydrogen and helium gas that burns bright about 150 million km from our pale blue dot called Earth. The size alone of the Sun is astounding even though in the grand scheme of things it’s just an average little guy. The radius of the Sun is 695,800 km which could fit our Earth about 109 times across! Alright let’s jump right into the main reason you are here: 5 amazing facts about our Sun that we should just all keep in mind. Here we go!   1)  Gravity on the Sun is 28 times that of Earth   Okay so depending on who you are 28 times may not seem like a lot at first but it’s always about perspective when it comes...