Category: Uncategorized

Abscicon 2015 in Chicago: Finding Habitable Worlds and Life Beyond the Solar System

What could the near future hold for detecting habitable, and eventually inhabited, extrasolar planets? That's the question we asked together with my colleagues Victoria Meadows, A. Mandell and Margaret Turnbull. To this purpose we organized a session for the Astrobiology ...

Telling Pluto’s Story, One Fragment at a Time

When you begin a new research project, you usually have expectations about where it will lead. Most projects take you or less to the expected destination. Some go nowhere. However, every now and then a project picks you up and ...

New Explorers on the OurPluto Ballot, April 2

We have added three new historic explorers to the OurPluto ballot today. Keep those great ideas coming in! I have been learning so much. Several people nominated the renowned 10th-century explorer and cartographer Muhammad al-Idrisi. He traveled as far west as ...

More Nominations for OurPluto

We continue to receive a fascinating collection of nominees for the OurPluto campaign. Here are a few that we recently added to the ballot. Several wrote to remind us of the iconic prints by Gustav Doré, a French artist from the ...

OurPluto Campaign, Day 6

The OurPluto naming campaign has been an exhilarating experience for me so far. The amount of thought that our site visitors have been putting into their nominations astounds me. You can visit the Site News page for regular updates. Today I ...

The Mapping of Pluto Begins Today

Pluto is just 3.5 pixels across in the latest images from the New Horizons spacecraft. That's nine square pixels. You can't do much with nine pixels. You might be able to see crude patterns of light and dark, but you ...

Dunes ignoring small hills

A piece of Mars: What happens to dunes as they move over rough terrain? This is what a barchan looks like on a relatively flat surface. If the hills are smaller than the dune, then it does its best to ...

On Mars, the wind wins

A piece of Mars: This scene (600x450 m or 1969x1476 ft) is covered in small craters, formed by the splash of a larger crater nearby. They cover everything, even the bright ripples visible on the right. So the ripples ...

Hello from AAS!

Happy new year, Internet! I'm starting off the year at the 225th meeting of the American Astronomical Society. It's an annual conference where all the professional astronomers in the United States get together and talk about space! There's been some ...

MAHLI landscapes

I just... felt like putting up a pretty picture from MAHLI, the microscopic imager on Curiosity. This is image 0817MH0003250050301497E01_DXXX, taken Nov. 23, 2014 (sol 817). The camera mainly takes closeup images of rocks, but it's also good for a ...