solar system

What Would Happen If Earth and Mars Switched Places?

The orbits of the inner planets would go chaotic.

Last Saturday, at a workshop organized by the Foundation Questions Institute, Nobel laureate physicist Gerard ‘t Hooft gave a few informal remarks on the deep nature of reality. Searching for an analogy to the symmetries of basic physics, he asked the attendees to imagine what would happen to our solar system if you suddenly swapped […]

Are Mars and Titan Geologically Dead?

New evidence suggests yes, but planetary scientists go back and forth.

PASADENA—They say that null results never get published, either in science or in journalism. Well, I’m about to break that rule. Some of the most interesting results to come out of the Division for Planetary Sciences meeting this week concern non-discoveries. In recent years, planetary scientists have gotten excited by the prospect that Mars and […]

What Caused Saturn to Lurch?

Saturn’s rings are misaligned with the planet’s equator. Sometime in the 1980s, either the ring moved, or the planet did. A second dispatch from the annual planets meeting.

FAJARDO, Puerto Rico—I first heard about Matt Hedman’s talk while going out to dinner on Tuesday night. Best talk of the meeting, I was told. Everywhere I went yesterday, I kept hearing about this guy Matt Hedman. A former professor of mine chided me for missing his presentation. The problem with the Division for Planetary […]

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