Science News

Earth and Planets Laboratory Goes to Mars Again

Carnegie on Mars Perseverance Touchdown

Last week, NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover made it safely to Mars. Now, the fun begins! 

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"FarFarOut" officially added to count of dwarf sized planets in distant Solar System

(Photo credit: Roberto Molar Candanosa, Scott S. Sheppard from Carnegie Institution for Science, and Brooks Bays from University of Hawaiʻi.)

A team of researchers including Carnegie astronomer Scott Sheppard discovered the most distant object ever observed in our Solar System. The object is officially named 2018 AG37 but is nicknamed "FarFarOut" for just how far away from the Sun it is orbiting—about 132 AU, where 1 AU is the distance between the Earth and Sun. At that distance, it takes an entire millennium to orbit the Sun.

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Can super-Earth interior dynamics set the table for habitability?

Illustration of mimicing planet formation in the lab

New research led by Carnegie’s Yingwei Fei provides a framework for understanding the interiors of super-Earths--rocky exoplanets between 1.5 and 2 times the size of our home planet--which is a prerequisite to assess their potential for habitability.  Planets of this size are among the most abundant in exoplanetary systems.  The paper is published in Nature Communications.

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Asteroid discovered by Carnegie’s Scott Sheppard right before it zooms past Earth

Diagram showing the 2020 YE5 asteroid's Near Earth Trajectory

While surveying the sky for distant objects, astronomer Scott Sheppard discovered a new asteroid a little closer to home. Asteroid 2020 YE5 poses no immediate risk, but it will come very close to Earth. The asteroid will zoom past only 437,691 km away from Earth, almost as close as our own Moon. It will be at its nearest on Friday, January 22 at around 9:08 AM EST (14:08 UTC). According to Sheppard, someone with a good backyard telescope could catch a glimpse. 

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Why Carnegie scientists are excited to study the asteroid samples from Ryugu

Ryugu Samples from Hayabusa2, chambers  A and C

“Dirt” from the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu arrived on Earth in the wee hours of the morning on December 6, 2020, courtesy of the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) mission Hayabusa2. The capsule of Ryugu rocks is both the second and largest sample ever successfully recovered from an asteroid, and scientists at the Carnegie Science Earth and Planets Laboratory (EPL) can’t wait to pounce on it! 

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