Science Highlights

2018

2018-12-04 08:20:00

Modeling impact outcomes for the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Mission

Material porosity and internal structure can significantly affect crater shape, ejecta field, and momentum enhancement from a kinetic impactor.

2018-11-27 07:58:00

Wind-sculpted Landscape on Olympus Mons, Mars

The Olympus Maculae reveal multiple episodes of wind-driven deposition and erosion, suggesting fluctuating atmospheric conditions in the Late Amazonian.

2018-11-20 08:29:00

Antarctica Balloon Flight Tests New Science Instruments

High-altitude balloon flights provide a cost-effective means to test planetary gamma-ray and neutron spectrometers in a space-like radiation environment.

2018-11-06 08:30:00

A proxy for solar wind conditions near Mars

The proxy we derive for magnetic field direction upstream of Mars will be useful when MAVEN’s orbit gets lowered such that it goes into the solar wind less often.

2018-10-30 08:25:00

Projectile preservation during oblique impacts

Oblique impacts significantly enhance projectile preservation. The results suggest a new strategy for sample return missions that rely on impact capture. Moreover, our findings imply that M-type aster

2018-10-23 04:14:00

Red sand, Blue sand

The color of sand on Mars’ dunes depends on grain size, composition, and oxidation state.

2018-10-16 10:51:00

The delivery of water by impacts

Water delivered by impactors can be trapped in significant quantities within impact glasses and melt-bearing breccias, thereby contributing to the early accretion of water during planet formation.

2018-10-09 04:51:00

Methane Rain Clouds at Titan

Titan's weather patterns suggest liquid methane reservoirs below the surface near Titan's poles.

2018-09-28 04:44:00

Atmospheric drag is eroding Saturn’s inner ring

More than ten tons of molecules and small neutral particles every second are flowing into Saturn from its rings because of the interaction between Saturn’s atmosphere and the rings.

2018-09-11 11:27:00

How did Mercury get its ice?

The Hokusai impact could be the source of Mercury’s water ice.

2018-09-04 10:09:00

Investigating the Ages of Mercury’s Explosive Volcanic Deposits

Explosive volcanism on Mercury extended into Recent Geologic History, well after the presumed cessation of volcanic activity early in Mercury’s history.

2018-08-28 16:10:00

Asteroid shapes from disruption and reaccumulation

Energetic disruption and reaccumulation produces top-shaped asteroids. More elongated asteroids like Eros and Itokawa form less commonly.

2018-08-21 16:13:00

MESSENGER Advanced Products (MEAPs)

The MESSENGER Advanced Product (MEAP) project enhances the utility of MESSENGER data from the planet Mercury to the planetary science community.

2018-08-14 16:47:00

Identifying buried, compositionally-distinct materials on Mars using gamma-ray measurements

Gamma-ray measurements can reveal the presence of compositionally-distinct deposits buried several 10s of cm below Mars’ surface.

2018-08-07 14:32:00

Prebiotic Molecules Storage in Comets

The remarkable chemical diversity of comets reflects the range of conditions in the early Solar System

2018-08-02 11:32:00

The APL Planetary Impact Lab

The APL Planetary Impact Lab (PIL) includes a Vertical Gun Range and Ejecta Catapult that enable state-of-the-art studies of impact cratering processes.

2018-07-31 15:29:00

Mapping Ice at Mercury’s South Pole

The uneven distribution of Mercury’s ice supports a comet impact origin

2018-07-26 14:37:00

An exogenic origin for Iapetus’ ridge

A collapsing disk of debris could build topography to create a ridge around Iapetus

2018-07-24 14:32:00

Impact Melting on Vesta at the Rheasilvia Antipode

Giant impact melting may have prolonged igneous activity on protoplanets

2018-07-19 15:15:00

Effect of Re-impacting Debris on the Solidification of the Lunar Magma Ocean

Debris generated after the Moon-forming impact would have re-impacted the Moon, introducing additional heat transfer mechanisms to the conventional conductive-lid scenario.

2018-07-17 11:00:00

Mercury’s Dark Secret

Low Reflectance Material on Mercury is enriched in carbon, and is native to Mercury.

2018-07-12 14:36:00

Evidence for volatiles on the surface of 433 Eros and 1036 Ganymed

We have detected hydrated minerals on the two largest near-Earth asteroids, expected to be anhydrous. They likely are delivered by external sources such as solar wind or dust.

2018-07-10 14:37:00

A Fresh Look at Older Mars Odyssey Neutron Spectrometer Data Yields a Surprise at the Equator

An improved-resolution map of the MONS epithermal neutron data was created and reveals substantial, unexpected H deposits near the equator.

2018-07-03 14:37:00

Mars: Destroyer of Sand Dunes

Mars’ current climate may be eroding away the most upwind sand dunes