When UC Santa Barbara geology professor emeritus James Kennett and colleagues set out years ago to examine signs of a major cosmic impact that occurred toward the end of the Pleistocene epoch, little did they know just how far-reaching the projected climatic effect would be.
OSIRIS-REx finds Bennu's rotation period is speeding up by about 1 second every 100 years, according to a new study the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Two recent studies report discoveries of dust rings in the inner solar system: a dust ring at Mercury's orbit, and a group of never-before-detected asteroids co-orbiting with Venus, supplying the dust in Venus' orbit.
Using the Southwest Research Institute-led Lyman Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP) aboard NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), scientists have observed water molecules moving around the dayside of the Moon. A paper published in Geophysical Research Letters describes how LAMP measurements of the atom-thick layer of sparse molecules helped characterize lunar hydration changes over the course of a day.
Before civilization can move off world it must make sure its structures work on the extraterrestrial foundations upon which they will be built. University of Central Florida researchers are already laying the groundwork for the off-world jump by creating standards for extraterrestrial surfaces. Their work was detailed recently in a study published in the journal Icarus.
A popular theme in the movies is that of an incoming asteroid that could extinguish life on the planet, and our heroes are launched into space to blow it up. But incoming asteroids may be harder to break than scientists previously thought, finds a Johns Hopkins study that used a new understanding of rock fracture and a new computer modeling method to simulate asteroid collisions.
Using New Horizons data from the Pluto-Charon flyby in 2015, a Southwest Research Institute-led team of scientists have indirectly discovered a distinct and surprising lack of very small objects in the Kuiper Belt. The evidence for the paucity of small Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) comes from New Horizons imaging that revealed a dearth of small craters on Pluto's largest satellite, Charon, indicating that impactors from 300 feet to 1 mile (91 meters to 1.6 km) in diameter must also be rare.
Paul Kalas of UC Berkeley was puzzled by the tilted but stable orbit of a planet around a binary star -- an orbit like that of our solar system's proposed Planet Nine. He calculated backwards in time to see if any of the 461 nearby stars ever came close enough to perturb the system. One star fit the bill. The stellar flyby 2-3 million years ago likely stabilized the planet's orbit, keeping it from flying away.
A NASA telescope that will give humans the largest, deepest, clearest picture of the universe since the Hubble Space Telescope could find as many as 1,400 new planets outside Earth's solar system, new research suggests.
Princeton geoscientists Blair Schoene and Gerta Keller led an international team of researchers who have assembled the first high-resolution timeline for the massive eruptions in India's Deccan Traps, determining that the largest eruption pulse occurred less than 100,000 years before the mass extinction that killed the (non-avian) dinosaurs.