Using ESA's Herschel space observatory, astronomers have discovered vast comet belts surrounding two nearby planetary systems known to host only Earth-to-Neptune-mass worlds. The comet reservoirs could have delivered life-giving oceans to the innermost planets.
A team of scientists studied the hydrogen in water from the Martian interior and found that Mars formed from similar building blocks to that of Earth, but that there were differences in the later evolution of the two planets. This implies that terrestrial planets, including Earth, have similar water sources - chondritic meteorites.
The mantles of Earth and other rocky planets are rich in magnesium and oxygen. Due to its simplicity, the mineral magnesium oxide is a good model for studying the nature of planetary interiors. New work from a team led by Carnegie's Stewart McWilliams studied how magnesium oxide behaves under the extreme conditions deep within planets and found evidence that alters our understanding of planetary evolution.
Astronomers have gotten a first look at the aftermath of Saturn's 'Great Springtime Storm' thanks to the heat-seeking capabilities of the international Cassini spacecraft and two ground-based telescopes. Even though the cosmic event is hidden to the naked eye, a giant oval vortex continues to exist long after the visible effects of the storm have subsided.
The search for a mysterious subatomic particle can certainly involve some enormous tools, not to mention a multitude of scientists. The effort to find the elusive "Higgs boson" includes over 5,800 scientists from 56 countries. It's a subatomic particle that gives other particles, such as quarks and electrons, their mass.
A study using a unique new instrument on the world's largest optical telescope has revealed the likely origins of especially bright supernovae that astronomers use as easy-to-spot "mile markers" to measure the expansion and acceleration of the universe.