Archive | Planetary Science

The Viking Orbiter, releasing the lander. Image credit: NASA

Ep. 257: Viking Orbiters

Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity get all the news now, but it was NASA’s Viking Missions that gave us our first close up view of the surface of Mars. These twin missions, both made of orbiter and lander set the stage for the exploration of Mars, demonstrating that we could actually reach the surface of Mars, […]

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Surface of Io

Ep. 221: Geomorphology

When we look around our planet, we see a huge variety in landforms: mountains, valleys, plateaus, and more. Continents rise and fall over the eons, providing geologists with a history of the planet’s evolution. The study of these changes is known as geomorphology, and the lessons we learn here on Earth apply to the other […]

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Plate Tectonics

Ep. 142: Plate Tectonics

The surface of the Earth feels solid under your feet, but you’re actually standing on a plate of the Earth’s crust. And that plate is slowly shifting across the surface of the Earth. Over geologic timescales, plate tectonics has totally resurfaced our planet, bringing continents together, and tearing them apart. We know we have plate […]

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The surface of Io, resurfaced by volcanoes.

Ep. 141: Volcanoes, Hot and Cold

You’re familiar with volcanoes, eruptive vents where hot magma escapes the Earth’s interior – sometimes with disastrous effects. But did you know that volcanoes have shaped many of the planets and moons in the Solar System, not just our own Earth? And just in the last few years astronomers have discovered there are cold volcanoes […]

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