LPI Earth and Space Science Newsletter
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Planet in Habitable Zone around Nearest Star
Astronomers have found a planet a little more massive than Earth orbiting the closest star to our solar system, Proxima Centauri. It has a temperature suitable for liquid water on its surface, and may be the closes possible planet for life outside of our solar system.
Mystery of Ceres Missing Craters
The Dawn mission studying the dwarf planet Ceres has mapped small craters but shows Ceres is missing the expected large craters for an object its size. Scientists suspect that Ceres' icy layers may contain salts that have smoothed out its features over time, or perhaps icy volcanism may have buried older craters.
New Gullies on Mars Not from Liquid Water
New findings using data from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show that gullies on modern Mars are likely not being formed by flowing liquid water. There data show no evidence of the minerals that would form from liquid water present in these cullies; they may be formed from freezing and thawing carbon dioxide frost instead.
Enceladus' Ice Crust Thinner than Expected
A new study indicates that the shell of ice around Enceladus is thinner than previously believed, particularly at its poles. It may be as thin as 1 mile, making it the thinnest known ice shell of the ocean-covered moons. This makes the ocean of water more accessible, for future exploration.