A good time to visit a relative

Venus is often viewed as Earth’s sister planet, or perhaps more accurately its ugly sister. This familial comparison stems from their approximately equal mass and physical size. But compared to the relatively benign and hospitable surface conditions that prevail on Earth, Venus is the stuff of nightmares. The planet has a surface temperature of 464…

Is this the smartest space mission in the Solar System?

Let’s face it no one has a clue how Phobos formed. One theory says it’s a captured primitive asteroid. Well, it does look like one. Another theory claims it formed after a giant asteroid slammed into Mars. Really, it’s all very confusing. Anyway, JAXA is going to send a mission to clear up the mystery.…

Jupiter – not to blame after all?

It is now generally accepted that, from a geochemical perspective, our Solar System is lumpy. In fact it comes in two very distinct lumps. This was pointed out by Paul Warren in his 2011 paper. He showed that when various isotopes (e.g. 54Cr, 62Ni, 50Ti), measured in a wide range of extraterrestrial materials, are plotted…

Cool rocks from a cool place

I have just been reading Katie Joy’s most recent blog from Antarctica. It’s all good news. The search team have now collected this season’s 82nd meteorite specimen. An awesome achievement considering that this is just the second field season for the UK’s Antarctic meteorite initiative. Last season was really just a reconnaissance trip and even…