Did a "Big Bang" in Our Solar System Create Venus as We Know It?

Venus_xray_2 Over the past several years the formation of our own solar system has been of high importance in scientific circles. Many scientists have focused their attention on the inner four planets, and found that we bounced around like a ball in a pinball machine in our early formative years.

Now an impact theory is arising as an explanation for the formation of our evil twin: Venus (xray image left).

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Jupiter as a Shield from Earth-impacting Comets & Asteroids Challenged

Jupiter_family_of_comets_3 Since 1941 many astronomers have thought of Jupiter as a protective big brother for planet Earth -a celestial shield, deflecting asteroids and comets away from the inner Solar System. This long-standing  belief that Jupiter acts as a celestial shield, deflecting asteroids and comets away from the inner Solar System, has been challenged by the first in a series of studies evaluating the impact risk to the Earth posed by different groups of object.

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Solar System's Most Massive Mysterious Sphere

Pioneer10jupiter_2Jupiter, the fifth planet from the Sun and by far the largest, is more than twice as massive as all the other planets combined (the mass of Jupiter is 318 times that of Earth).

The giant gas planet's enormous magnetosphere is the biggest thing in our entire solar system. Not only is it big enough to hold all of Jupiter's moons, it is ten times the diameter of the Sun. Even though it is, on average, five times farther away than the Sun, Jupiter's magnetic field reaches all the way to Saturn and would appear roughly twice the apparent size of the sun. If it could be seen at night, it would be as big in the sky as the full moon. Far from spherical, the magnetosphere extends a few million kilometers in the direction toward the Sun.

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Jupiter's Europa & the Search for

GalileanfamilyDid you know that Jupiter's moon, Europa, has a global ocean of liquid water with greater volume than Earth's oceans, and that astrobiologists consider it to be an excellent place to look for forms. The closest analogous environment on Earth is probably the hot springs in the deep ocean, which support a rich biota. The biota near Earth's ocean hot spring derive their energy from chemical processes that are, in turn, driven by heat from the Earth's interior. The primary ingredients for life are water, heat, and organic compounds obtained from comets and meteorites. Europa has had all three. Europa's water should have frozen long ago, but warming could be occurring due to the tidal tug of war with Jupiter and neighboring moons. Models of Europa's interior show that beneath a thin 3 mile crust of water ice, Europa may have oceans as deep as 30 miles or more. The visible markings on Europa could be a result of global expansion where the crust could have fractured, filled with water and froze. Source: NASA. Posted by Jason McManus.

-What Lies Beneath...

Press_photo_nature05356_1_1is showing scientists that it has an older, craggier face buried beneath its surface from probes by the Express MARSIS, the first sub-surface sounding radar used to explore a planet provide important new clues about the still mysterious geological history of Mars. Observations by MARSIS' "x-ray vision" strongly suggest that ancient impact craters lie buried beneath much of the smooth, low plains of the northern hemisphere of Mars. Image left shows subsurface echoes from Chryse Planitia plains.

Posted by Casey Kazan.

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