The Solar System Archive

Sciency Words: Trojans

Trojan asteroids are asteroids that share their orbits with a planet. This may not seem like

Sciency Words: Cryovolcano

When cryovolcanoes erupt, their cryomagma tends to include lots of liquid water, but at temperatures well

Sciency Words: Roche Limit

First calculated in 1848 by French astronomer and mathematician Edouard Roche, the Roche limit describes the

Sciency Words: Kirkwood Gaps

Kirkwood gaps are named after Daniel Kirkwood, the astronomer who first discovered them and correctly deduced

Sciency Words: Chaos Terrain

The resulting terrain will look truly bizarre—chaotic, you might say!—with huge ice blocks jutting up above

Sciency Words: Belts and Zones

If you’ve ever looked at Jupiter, you’ve noticed that it has stripes. The stripes are so

Sciency Words: Rubble Pile

“Rubble pile” is not a formal part of any asteroid classification system, but it appears so

Sciency Words: Siliceous Asteroids

It’s a tale of two asteroids, one in the inner asteroid belt, the other in the

Sciency Words: Carbonaceous Asteroids

As the name implies, carbonaceous asteroids have lots of carbon and carbon-containing compounds.

Sciency Words: Opposition and Conjunction

Mars, like pretty much everything in space, is a moving target. Sometimes, it’s fairly close to

Colonizing Venus

Could we colonize Venus? Sure. It’s definitely possible, and there may be good scientific reasons for

Life on Venus?

Venus loves keeping secrets. One of the biggest, most frustrating secrets has to do with the

Sciency Words: The Anomalous Precession of the Perihelion of Mercury

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably looked at planetary orbits and asked yourself: why does

Sciency Words: Lobate Scarps (Is Mercury Shrinking?)

Since the Solar System formed 4.5 billion years ago, Mercury has decreased in size by about

Sciency Words: Hill Sphere (Why Doesn’t Mercury Have a Moon?)

Mercury does not and probably cannot have a moon. Why? Because the Sun is a bully.

Colonizing Mercury: How To Get There

In several recent posts, I’ve said that nobody wants to live on Mercury. It’s too hot.

Sciency Words: Volatile

Many volatiles are so eager to become gases that they’ll sublimate, meaning they’ll transform from solid

Sciency Words: SOHO

SOHO is positioned between the Sun and Earth, and its mission is to monitor and study

Sciency Words: Moreton Waves – Sun Surfing

Okay, so you can’t really go surfing on the Sun, but if you could, the Sun’s

Starting Point: The Cruithne Report

It was a slow news week and somehow a report about poor standards of safety on