astronomy

NPS

Cultures all over the world have marked the passage of the seasons in many ways. In the Southwest, the solstices and equinoxes have often been tracked by watching the sun on the horizon, on particular landmarks, or on the faces of rock.

Antonio Paris

Some scientists who study Mars also study Northern Arizona. That’s because our lava fields and water-carved canyons are similar to Martian terrain. It’s a good place to test out whether future colonists on Mars would be able to build houses out of local materials. That’s what astronomer Antonio Paris of St. Petersburg College in Florida is doing. He’s traveling the Colorado Plateau collecting soil samples to see if they’ll make good cement. He told KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny, if works here, it might also work on Mars.


NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

Scientists have discovered enormous white dunes made of methane ice on Pluto. They were found in high-resolution images taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports it’s a mystery how they formed.

NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

In the last few years, Pluto has gone from being a fuzzy dot in the sky to a geologically active world of mountains, canyons, and heart-shaped glaciers. That’s thanks to NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, which sailed by Pluto in 2015 to photograph it up close for the first time. The mission’s leader Alan Stern is currently on a book tour and visits Flagstaff today. He spoke with KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny from the road.


Milliken Lab/Brown University

Flagstaff planetary scientist Christopher Edwards has detected water all over the moon, which could mean new possibilities for space travel using the moon as a basecamp.


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