Related topics: earth · nasa · orbit · solar system · mars

Cold, dry planets could have a lot of hurricanes

Nearly every atmospheric science textbook ever written will say that hurricanes are an inherently wet phenomenon—they use warm, moist air for fuel. But according to new simulations, the storms can also form in very cold, ...

What delayed Earth's oxygenation?

Powering a massive biosphere on Earth, photosynthesis is the light-mediated reaction that converts carbon dioxide and water to carbohydrates and oxygen. About 2.3 billion years ago, this reaction led to a dramatic oxygenation ...

Modeling early meteorite impacts on the moon

As our solar system was forming nearly four and a half billion years ago, a planet-sized object struck the early Earth, leading to the formation of the moon, possibly from a hot, spinning cloud of rock vapor called a synestia. ...

Small satellite concept finalists target moon, Mars and beyond

NASA has selected three finalists among a dozen concepts for future small satellites. The finalists include a 2022 robotic mission to study two asteroid systems, twin spacecraft to study the effects of energetic particles ...

How to detect life on Mars

When MIT research scientist Christopher Carr visited a green sand beach in Hawaii at the age of 9, he probably didn't think that he'd use the little olivine crystals beneath his feet to one day search for extraterrestrial ...

Cities living with a strong chance of rain

Heavy rain can overwhelm municipal infrastructure and lead to flooding that can threaten lives and property. The U.S. alone spends millions - and sometimes billions - of dollars per year on flood recovery, and more is spent ...

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Planetary science

Planetary science is the scientific study of planets, moons, and planetary systems, in particular those of the Solar System. It studies objects ranging in size from micrometeoroids to gas giants, aiming to determine their composition, dynamics, formation, interrelations and history. It is a strongly interdisciplinary field, originally growing from astronomy and earth science, but which now incorporates many disciplines, including planetary astronomy, planetary geology (together with geochemistry, geophysics and geomorphology as applied to planets), atmospheric science, theoretical planetary science, and the study of extrasolar planets. Allied disciplines include space physics, when concerned with the effects of the Sun on the bodies of the Solar System, and astrobiology.

There are interrelated observational and theoretical branches of planetary science. Observational research can involve a combination of space exploration, predominantly with robotic spacecraft missions using remote sensing, and comparative, experimental work in Earth-based laboratories. The theoretical component involves considerable computer simulation and mathematical modelling.

Planetary scientists are generally located in the astronomy and physics or earth sciences departments of universities or research centres, though there are several purely planetary science institutes worldwide. There are several major conferences each year, and a wide range of peer-reviewed journals.

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