Tag Archives: Solar System

Blog 6: Huygens’s Descent to Titan

The Cassini orbiter, initially launched on October 15, 1997, traveled seven years with the objective to relay observations of Saturn and its satellites. Attached to this spacecraft was also the Huygens probe, designed to enter the atmosphere and land on the surface of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. On January 14, 2005, Huygens executed its mission;Continue reading “Blog 6: Huygens’s Descent to Titan” Continue reading

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Blog 5: Is there life on Europa?

The moon Europa orbits Jupiter alongside three other unique satellites described as “Jupiter’s Galilean moons”; these moons although similar in size to our moon (especially Io and Europa) display geological activity very different from what is observed on our own. Europa in particular, after telescope observation and satellite missions such as Voyager 1 and 2,Continue reading “Blog 5: Is there life on Europa?” Continue reading

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Europa, and the Possibility of Life

When we discussed the sub-surface oceans of some of the large moon-worlds, I was particularly excited about the idea that these places could potentially contain life, for what could be more exciting than the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe? As such, for my blog post, I wanted to dive into one potential homeContinue reading “Europa, and the Possibility of Life” Continue reading

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What Is A Dwarf Planet, Anyway?

Given all our discussions of Pluto and the other “dwarf planets” of our solar system, you may be interested in just how astronomers differentiate a dwarf planet from a “regular” planet. According to the ever-reliable Wikipedia (not being sarcastic, Wikipedia is generally very trustworthy these days!), there are three characteristics that define a dwarf planet. … Continue reading What Is A Dwarf Planet, Anyway? Continue reading

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Han Solo Is Working Too Hard

While science-fiction flicks like Star Wars produce some exhilarating and high-stakes chase scenes with the help of treacherous asteroid fields/belts, in reality, you could probably navigate these asteroid belts blind-folded. With all due respect to Han Solo’s piloting skills and his less than twelve parsecs Kessel run, he would not actually have needed to utilizeContinue reading “Han Solo Is Working Too Hard” Continue reading

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Deflecting Asteroids Headed to Earth

While the chances of a deadly asteroid hitting Earth are low, the damage that one could produce could result in a cataclysmic event. While it may seem that stopping an asteroid en route to Earth is impossible, there are actually certain technologies that could possibility lessen the damage. The most important thing to do isContinue reading “Deflecting Asteroids Headed to Earth” Continue reading

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Ceres

Ceres is a dwarf planet discovered by Giuseppe Piazzi in 1801. Its mass is only .015 percent of Earth’s and it is actually small enough to be classified as both a dwarf planet and an asteroid. Moreover it is sometimes referred to as the largest asteroid in the solar system. Ceres is round, though itContinue reading “Ceres” Continue reading

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Historical Views of Comets

According to NASA, comets are “frozen leftovers from the formation of the solar system composed of dust, rock and ices.  They range from a few miles to tens of miles wide, but as they orbit closer to the sun, they heat up and spew gases and dust into a glowing head that can be largerContinue reading “Historical Views of Comets” Continue reading

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The Death Star

Saturn is the mooniest planet in our Solar System, with us having discovered over 80 of them. While many moons have interesting features, only one of them look like they could destroy Alderaan. Say hello to the moon Mimas, which as you may notice, looks a bit familiar. That’s right, Mimas look like the DeathContinue reading “The Death Star” Continue reading

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The Death of Cassini

The Cassini Spacecraft was designed to explore Saturn and its many rings and moons. It launched from Earth in 1997, beginning its 7-year journey to the outer solar system. Upon arrival, it released the Huygens Probe – the first object of our own creation to land in the outer solar system. This probe landed onContinue reading “The Death of Cassini” Continue reading

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