Category Archives: Background Science

ISON : The Comet of The Century

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By now, I’m sure you will have all heard of ISON (No, it’s not a new gadget from Apple), the sun grazing comet that is being hailed as the comet of the century. Even if the name isn’t familiar to you, … Continue reading

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MAVEN; Where Did Mars’ Atmosphere Go?

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The MAVEN space probe launched today with the goal of unraveling the puzzle of how Mars lost most of it’s atmosphere and liquid water. It is the first space probe dedicated to purely studying Mars’ upper atmosphere, and will shed … Continue reading

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On the Final Frontier: The Voyager Interstellar Mission

Our SEAES undergraduates undertaking a 3 and 4 year degree programme in Earth and Planetary Science complete a 3rd year ‘Planetary Articles’ module, where they are asked to communicate a planetary topic of their choice in a popular science style to a … Continue reading

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Astronomical Answers! – Why hasn’t ET phoned home?

Keeping up with the theme of the unanswerable paradoxes I’ve been asked to explain Fermi’s Paradox. Now, I wasn’t really asked a specific question in this request – and to the submitter of this particular topic, I would definitely not … Continue reading

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Astronomical Answers! – The bright night sky paradox…

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Welcome to the second installment of Astronomical Answers! I can honestly say, you don’t like giving me easy questions to answer- this week I’m going to try explain why the night sky is dark. Or, more precisely, I was asked … Continue reading

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Astronomical Answers! – Poor Pluto…

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This marks the start of a new series of posts, Astronomical Answers; I’ve been asking people for awhile now about the kinds of questions they have about planetary science and space in general. I’ve got a decent collection of questions … Continue reading

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Thank Zoo for the data

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This post will be about two things: firstly, giving a big thank you to all those who have helped our project over the past few months; and secondly, providing a summary of where we are going next. For those unfamiliar … Continue reading

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NASA’s Genesis Mission: Nitrogen

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Last time we talked oxygen; this week it is nitrogen’s turn. Analysing the isotopic composition of nitrogen in the solar wind was the second highest priority science objective of the Genesis mission. Nitrogen has two stable isotopes: 14N and 15N. … Continue reading

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NASA’s Genesis Mission: Oxygen

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Following on from my last post highlighting the scientific objectives of NASA’s Genesis mission, today I’m going to focus on oxygen. Analysing the isotopic composition of oxygen in the solar wind was the highest priority science objective of the Genesis … Continue reading

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NASA’s Genesis Mission: The Science

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Last year I wrote a few posts about NASA’s Genesis mission, explaining some of the background to the mission and why we need to know more about the original composition of the material our Solar System formed from. I wrote … Continue reading

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