The years of 2014 and 2015 may well be known as the time when our exploration of the solar system truly took off, as we explored asteroids, comets, and minor planets. Here’s a look back at what we’ve accomplished in the last year, and what we’re about to achieve in the year to come.
The recent discoveries of alien worlds seemingly rich in carbon reveal a lot of diverse information about the history and further evolutionary paths of exoplanets. However, a correct physical understanding of the investigated systems is crucial for getting the most out of incoming data and is an area of very active research. Therefore, the theoretical modeling of exoplanetary systems must be advanced to a state which includes the long-term evolution of the distribution of detectable molecular species in the planet forming environment.
Habitable zone estimations take the climate regulation of the carbon cycle into account. But are we drawing the edges of the habitable zone too wide?
Only the combined effort of observational and theoretical methods can really bring us to a more thorough understanding of the Universe throughout all spatial scales. The authors of today’s paper use and adapt the moving-mesh fluid mechanics code AREPO to function with protoplanetary disks and test its imprint on the potential of planets to open up gaps in the surrounding gas.
Chondrules are among the oldest components of the solar system and give insight in the solar system’s earliest phase. But how are they formed? In shocks? That seems to be at least difficult.
Those of us who love astrobiology get really worked up about the lack of Earth-sized exoplanets found at Earth-like distances from their stars. All we want, we who hope for lots of extraterrestrial life, is a bunch of Earth-like planets doing Earth-like things so we can feel better about the odds for lots of Earth-like life in the universe.
New Horizons is going to reach Pluto in July, 2015. What happens after that?
Meet Mars’ two newest moons, MAVEN and MOM.
NASA recently revealed the scientific instruments for Mars 2020, the next Mars rover and the first step in an ambitious sample return campaign.
Of all the kinds of planets we’re finding around other stars—hot Jupiters and mini-Neptunes and those dubiously called “Earth-like”—super-Earths orbiting close to their stars are among the most abundant. While planets so close to their stars are poor candidates for habitability, they are important to understanding the possibility of other habitable planets in these seemingly common systems.