Solar System

Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series: Chasing New Horizons – Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto

This Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series event has passed, but a video of the lecture can be found here. Drs. Alan Stern and David Grinspoon will give a free, illustrated, non-technical talk. In July 2015, humanity’s fastest spacecraft, “New Horizons,” flew by Pluto, revealing details of its surprisingly active surface and atmosphere for the first time.  Come hear the mission’s Principal…

Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series: Rubble Piles in the Sky: The Science, Exploration, and Danger of Near-Earth Asteroids

This Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series event has passed, but a video of the lecture can be found here. Dr. Michael Busch, of the SETI Institute, will give a free, illustrated, non-technical talk Near-Earth asteroids are a population of small bodies whose orbits around the Sun cross or come near our planet’s orbit.  They turn out to be unusual physical environments: rubble piles, with…

Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series: When Mars Was Like Earth: Five Years of Exploration with NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover

This Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series event has passed, but a video of the lecture can be found here. Dr. Ashwin Vasavada, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will give a free, illustrated, non-technical talk. More than five years after its dramatic arrival at Mars, the car-sized Curiosity rover continues to reveal Mars as a once-habitable planet. Early in Mars' history, rivers and…

Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS): 50th Annual Meeting

DPS 50th Annual Meeting The Division for Planetary Sciences is a division of the American Astronomical Society devoted to Solar System research. Program schedule to be announced.

Spacefest IX: The Event for Space Enthusiasts

Spacefest is THE event for space enthusiasts of any stripe – Astronomy, Human Space Exploration, Robotic Space Exploration, Commercial Space Development or Space History Enthusiast. For the Professional and Amateur. Pascal Lee, SETI Institute Planetary Scientist: "Humans to Mars: From Vision to Reality" Seth Shostak, SETI Institute Fellow and Senior Scientist: "Light Signals from ET" Other…
Saturn's Rings  credit: NASA

New Film, "In Saturn’s Rings", is a Unique Tour of the Universe

In Saturn’s Rings is a trip through space. Narrated by LeVar Burton, Stephen van Vuuren’s new documentary film uses millions of images of Earth, the Milky Way, and the Moon that were captured by Hubble, Cassini, and other NASA space telescopes to offer a grand tour of the universe. Nathalie Cabrol, SETI Institute Senior Research Scientist and Director of the Carl Sagan Center, along with her…
Mars surface

New Studies of Clay Formation Provide Clues about Early Martian Climate

Monday, February 05 2018 - 10:00 am, PST February 5, 2018, Mountain View, CA -- New research published in Nature Astronomy seeks to understand how surface clay was formed on Mars despite its cold climate. The climate on early Mars has presented an enigma for planetary scientists because surface features such as valley networks indicate abundant liquid water was present and the clay minerals…
Pluto Features

Why is it so cold on Pluto?

It’s cold on Pluto. Very cold. During the New Horizons flyby of Pluto in 2015 we learned that the temperature is colder than previously thought, -203 ºC. Now a new paper in Nature, co-authored by SETI Institute scientist Hiroshi Imanaka and lead author, Xi Zhang, University of Santa Cruz, explains that haze is the cause of Pluto’s cold temperature. The research team found that Pluto’s atmosphere…
flyby

Do You Have the Perfect Nickname for New Horizons’ Next Flyby Target?

Mountain View, CA – Today NASA announced a new naming campaign for the next flyby target of the New Horizons spacecraft. At the moment, the target is officially known as “(486958) 2014 MU69”, or “MU69” for short. Hosted by the SETI Institute, Frontier Worlds (frontierworlds.seti.org) is a new website that invites the public to nominate possible nicknames, vote, and track the progress of the…
Pluto Features

Pluto features given first official names

It’s official: Pluto’s “heart” now bears the name of pioneering American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto in 1930. And a crater on Pluto is now officially named after Venetia Burney, the British schoolgirl who in 1930 suggested the name “Pluto,” Roman god of the underworld, for Tombaugh’s newly-discovered planet. Tombaugh Regio and Burney crater are among the first set of official…