Topic: planets

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Why Earth Has Two Levels

Earth’s outer shell is made of two materials whose different densities and thicknesses give rise to two distinct “levels” on the planet’s surface. And evidently these two materials—continental crust and more dense ...

Mars 101: An introduction to the red planet

From its blood-like hue to its potential to sustain life, Mars has intrigued humankind for thousands of years. Learn how the red planet formed from gas and dust and what its polar ice caps mean for life as we know it....

The Mars Helicopter, NASA’s small autonomous rotorcraft demonstration

Launching in 2020 on the belly of NASA's next Mars Rover, this small rotorcraft will be an autonomous asset from above the Red Planet, taking photos of the landscape and scouting for its rover. The pair are scheduled ...

How NASA’s InSight Will Plumb the Depths of Mars

Propelled by a predawn rocket launch from California, NASA’s InSight spacecraft is now on a voyage of some six months to Mars to study the deep interior of the red planet. “The science that we want to do with this ...

How NASA’s TESS Spacecraft Will Hunt Exoplanets

Since the 1995 confirmation of exoplanet 51 Pegasi b, the word exoplanet—a planet orbiting another star—has become a part of the vernacular. And thanks to technologies like the 2009-launched Kepler spacecraft, we've c...

Shadows On Other Worlds

Explore the wonder of light from our star, the Sun, and how Shadows On Other Worlds, like on Venus or a faraway planet orbiting the red star Glise 581, would behave a little differently than they do here on Earth. Thi...

Are there aliens out there?

Life began on the Earth around 3.5 billion years ago. Has the same thing happened somewhere else in the universe? On an icy moon? On a planet in the Goldilocks zone of a distant star? Imagine if hypothetical aliens we...

Can you solve the seven planets riddle?

Your interstellar police squad has tracked a group of criminals to a cluster of seven planets. Now you must apprehend them before their reinforcements arrive. Of course, the fugitives won’t just stay put – they’ll try...

Curiosity at Martian Scenic Overlook, a panorama image of its 5 year journey

Tour Mars' Gale Crater from the vantage point of NASA's Curiosity Rover at Vera Rubin Ridge. In this video, project scientist Ashwin Vasavada points out geographical features and the rover's path within this composite...

How deep have humans dug into the Earth?

From the deep end of Olympic swimming pools to The Paris Catacombs to Switzerland's Gotthard Base Tunnel to the Z-44 Chayvo Well in eastern Russia, travel down into the planet via this surprising Tech Insider animatio...

NASA simulates how dust, smoke, and sea salt have traveled the planet

Watch as sea salt, dust, and smoke—aerosol particles traveling on the winds—have moved across our planet in 2017. This animated simulation, "based on both satellite observations and computer models that use physical e...

How to Find a Living Planet

The more we see other planets, the more the question comes into focus: Maybe we're the weird one? Decades of observing Earth from space has informed our search for signs of habitability and life on exoplanets and even...

Postcards from Saturn: The incredible images that Cassini sent home

For over a decade, Cassini has orbited around Saturn 294 times, collected more than 600 GB of data, visited over a dozen moons and discovered at least seven new ones. It has sent over 400,000 images back home. Skun...

Voyager at 40: Humanity’s ambitious expedition into interstellar space

On August 20, 1977, NASA launched the Voyager 2 space probe, following it with Voyager 1's launch on September 5th, 1977. Together, the two spacecrafts are one of humanity's most ambitious expeditions into space. Taki...

Eclipses Throughout Our Universe – Out There

An exercise in cosmic geometry. A reminder that we live on one sphere among many, all moving to the laws of Kepler, Newton and Einstein. The moon’s orbit around the Earth is slightly tilted, so the shadow of the new m...

How to watch a total or partial solar eclipse

On Monday, August 21st, 2017, sky gazers can witness a total or partial solar eclipse—weather-permitting and depending on their location on the planet—as it traverses North America. There's been a lot of excitement in...

Fly over Jupiter with NASA’s Juno spacecraft

NASA's Juno Spacecraft is investigating Jupiter in a series of 37 orbits, and though images, data, and samples, these remarkable flybys have revealed some very cool things: 900 mile wide cyclones at the planet's poles...

Mars in a Minute: How Long is a Year on Mars?

One year for any planet is measured by how long it takes to orbit once around the sun. Since Mars is farther away from the sun than Earth, it takes almost twice as long: Earth orbits in 365 days. Mars orbits in 687 Ea...

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