Solar System Puzzles Needing Explanation

Here are some of the latest observations that are baffling planetary scientists.

Moon, Mercury, and Magnetic Fields

After the crash of MESSENGER, magnetic fields in the solar system have become a key topic for planetary science.

Messages from Mercury

With MESSENGER in its final days before impact, the innermost planet has become a familiar place.

Cassini Shoots "Blue Dot" of Earth

Another epic photo of Earth from space was taken on July 19 of Earth from Saturn by Cassini, and released on July 22. From Mercury, the MESSENGER spacecraft also portrayed Earth as a small dot.

Planets and Moons Beneath the Surface

Can science peel back the surfaces of objects to see what's underneath? Can they go under the observations to find the explanations?

Mercury Messenger: Surprise!

As boring as the moon? Just a burned-out cinder? Not Mercury. True to tradition for planetary exploration, the MESSENGER spacecraft has served up a plate of surprises about the innermost planet. In orbit since March, the ship is sending theorists back to the drawing board to figure out a number of puzzling phenomena, some unique to Mercury. Commentators fall into two categories: those that are flabbergasted, and those who say all is well.

Mercury Orbital Science Begins

Now that the MESSENGER spacecraft has settled into its orbit, systematic detailed observations are coming in. The Carnegie Institution has posted preliminary findings from the orbital science tour, rejoicing that “Tens of thousands of images reveal major features on the planet in high resolution for the first time,” and confessing that the data are confirming some predictions and revealing surprises.
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