Water may be an inevitable result of the process that forms rocky planets

New research identifies an unexpected source for some of earth's water.

  • A lot of Earth's water is asteroidal in origin, but some of it may come from dissolved solar nebula gas.
  • Our planet hides majority of its water inside: two oceans in the mantle and 4–5 in the core.
  • New reason to suspect that water is abundant throughout the universe.
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What humanity will gain by going to Mars

The greatest space program spinoff? Human collaboration.

  • It might take going to another planet for different nations to finally, once and for all, learn how to get along with each other.
  • What will we eat on Mars? We can't live off of a diet of potatoes alone. There are huge problems to solve, but recent technologies like 3D printing might help things move a lot faster, and be a lot less dangerous.
  • Leland is a featured big thinker on season 2 of Mars on the National Geographic Channel. You can find out more information about the show here.
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Why humanity owes a lot to Jupiter

Our friendly neighborhood gas giant serves as a cosmic catcher's mitt.

NASA
  • In 1994, a comet struck Jupiter, exploding on the gas giant's surface in an incredibly violent fireball.
  • Such collisions are not uncommon for Jupiter. What is uncommon, however, are solar systems with planets like Jupiter.
  • Without Jupiter, life on Earth might have been obliterated by comets and asteroids before it even got a chance to begin. The fact that Jupiter-like planets are so rare might be one of the reasons why we haven't found intelligent life yet.
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NASA’s new podcast series takes you to Mars

Follow along as the InSight spacecraft crosses millions of miles to the red planet.

  • NASA's new 8-episode podcast series, On a Mission, is a ride-along for its InSight mission to Mars.
  • InSight will look beneath the Martian surface for a deeper understanding of its composition and history.
  • Each episode makes for a compelling half hour of listening.
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How ‘The Goblin’ may unravel the mystery of Planet Nine

Around Halloween in 2015, astronomers discovered 'The Goblin'. Now, it's leading us to what some call Planet X.

  • 'The Goblin' is a dwarf planet known more formally as '2015 TG387'. It was nicknamed The Goblin because of the 'TG' in its title, and because of the time of year it was discovered: Halloween.
  • The Goblin has an extreme orbit: far-flung and elongated. It takes 40,000 years to make a complete orbit around the Sun.
  • This cosmic anomaly is a clue. Astronomers hypothesize that The Goblin is being pulled into the gravitational field of a 'Super-Earth' planet in our solar system that is believed to exist but has never been seen: the mysterious Planet Nine or Planet X.