Solar System

We live in an amazing planetary system. From the yawning Valles Marineris on Mars and the subsurface ocean hiding beneath the ice crust of Jupiter’s moon Europa, to the eerily Earth-like terrain of Saturn’s moon Titan, the solar system brims with wonders. And let’s not forget the Sun, with its mysteriously hot corona and its solar flares.

Here you’ll find the latest news from our ongoing exploration of the solar system. Whether it be stunning pictures from NASA’s Curiosity rover or new revelations about planets’ history and formation, we bring you authoritative reports on the coolest and most important developments in planetary science and heliophysics.

Rosetta’s lander Philae is safely on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, as these first two CIVA images confirm. One of the lander’s three feet can be seen in the foreground. The image is a two-image mosaic. The full panoramic from CIVA will be delivered in this afternoon’s press briefing at 13:00 GMT/14:00 CET.
Credits: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

Rosetta Update: Philae Landed in a Hole

The exact location of Philae’s landing site remains unknown, though the site’s topography might allow the lander to operate longer than planned. Meanwhile, Rosetta is detecting organics and heavy elements even when Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko is far from the Sun.

Hayabusa 2 spacecraft

Hayabusa 2 is Asteroid Bound

Japan's second asteroid-sample mission launched successfully on December 3rd after weather delays. If successful it will reach asteroid 1999 JU3 in 2018, explore for 18 months, and then return to Earth with souvenirs.

1996 PW's comet-like orbit

Eight Billion Asteroids in the Oort Cloud?

A fresh look at a nagging problem — asteroids moving in comet-like orbits — concludes that asteroids must make up about 4% of the vast, distant Oort Cloud of comets. When a telescope atop Hawaii's Haleakala swept up a fast-moving object in August 1996, astronomers didn't know what to make of it. Designated 1996...