Outer space is like a vast unknown ocean we have only begun to explore from the tiny shore of our planet Earth. Each season, scientists discover new facts of even our closest neighbors: the planets in our solar system. With increasingly more sophisticated technology, we are making discoveries unimaginable a few decades ago. Here are some of the coolest findings in the last few months.
Mars Icy Craters
The Mars Express aircraft has taken stunning pictures of an array of craters that are filled with ice and dust, resembling layered cakes. They were found at the Utopia Planitia, a region roughly twice the size of the Sahara desert. Officials say that craters would have seen regular snowfall around 10 million years ago when Mars had a more tilted axis.
If we travel further away to the ex-planet, now dwarf planet, known as Pluto, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has found that this celestial body is much more dynamic than previously thought. It has discovered cryovolcanoes, which are volcanoes that spew ice instead of molten rocks and gas. Pluto, it turns out, has lots of active geology such as flowing nitrogen ice glaciers that evaporate during the day and freeze back to ice at night.
While we are concerned that our planet is getting warmer, scientists have discovered that Neptune is losing its planetary heat. Through the study of over 100 infrared images captured over the past 17 years, a team of astronomers have noticed the temperature of the atmosphere dropping. Neptune is known as an Ice Giant and is one of the least explored planets in our system, with only one spacecraft passing close to it, Voyager 2 in 1989.
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