scratching the surface

Scratching the Surface: Glaciers on Mars

Nov 16, 2018
NASA/JPL

What appeared to be large boulders on Mars's rocky surface are actually dust-covered glaciers. While the large bodies of frozen water might not seem exciting, the frosty masses could tell us more about the posibilty of life-supporting water on the red planet. 

Caitlin Ahrens takes a look at the discovery of Martian glaciers and what it means for the planet's capacity to harbor life. 

Scratching the Surface: It's A Comet, It's An Asteroid... No, it's 'Oumuamua

Jul 16, 2018
European Southern Observatory/M. Kornmesser / NASA

In October 2017 the Pan Starrs telescope in Haleakala, Hawaii caught a glimpse of something unusual. Initially classified as a comet and then as an asteroid, the small (800 feet)  disc-shaped rock called 'Oumuamua tumbled into our orbit and became the first of a new class of interstellar objects.

Scratching the Surface: Lunar Lava Tubes

Jun 18, 2018

Here on Earth, lava has been all over the news lately. As volcanoes erupt, the firey, molten rock sinks into flat earth to create networks of tunnels- something scientists have discovered underneath Hawaii's volcanoes

Scratching the Surface: Fingerprint Terrains

May 14, 2018

Take a close look at the surface of Mars and you might mistake the images for the dusting of a crime scene. Alas, these troughs and ridges, known as "fingerprint terrain," are actually rows of circular mounds beneath the surface of Mars. 

How did they form? Good question. As usual, Caitlin Ahrens breaks down this touchy subject in today's episode. 

Scratching the Surface: Rogue Planets

Apr 10, 2018
NASA/JPL-Caltech

Welcome to Scratching the Surface with Caitlin Ahrens, the Pluto Manager at the University of Arkansas Center for Space and Planetary Science. 

What is a planet without a place to call home? Well, according to the International Astronomical Union- infamous for demoting Pluto- they are called sub-brown dwarfs officially. Don't let the name fool you, though, most of these "dwarfs" are about the size of Jupiter. 

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