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Our top 6 questions in astronomy and astrophysics

A closer look at astronomy and astrophysics

At the Earth and Planets Laboratory (EPL), the astronomy and astrophysics team explores space to find distant planets and understand their (and our!) origins. In this article, we’ve distilled this work into our top six research questions (with a couple of extras sprinkled in.) Each question is complex and connected to the others in a way that requires EPL scientists to collaborate across research interests to answer. 

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February 2021 | Letter from the Directors

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A mission to Mars, new objects in our Solar System, and a Save the Date for our upcoming neighborhood lectures!

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Join us for a closer look at the Earth and Planets Lab

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Each month we will highlight the big questions in each research area, update you on one of our big projects, and introduce you to some of the folks who drive our work. 

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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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Postdoc Spotlight: Yanhao Lin Explores the Deep Earth Water Cycle

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Yanhao Lin finished up his postdoctoral position at the Earth and Planets Laboratory (EPL) in February 2021. While he was at EPL, Lin worked with Deputy Director Mike Walter to research how volatiles—chemical elements found in a planet’s interior like carbon dioxide and water—affect the interior dynamics of planets like the Moon, Mars, and Earth.  

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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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