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May 16, 2014 5:21 PM by Meteorologist Valerie Abati

News From Jupiter and Mars

Scientists are discovering and learning new things about the planets in our solar system.

JUPITER

First off is Jupiter.  The biggest storm in our solar system is shrinking.  Jupiter's red spot, which at one time was big enough to hold 3 Earth's, has now shrunk to less than half it's size.  The storm seems to be shrinking by as much as 580 miles per year.

When first discovered in 1800, the storm was oval in shape and more than 25,000 miles wide.  Now it's circular and less than half that size at just over 10,000 miles.  If it continues shrinking at this pace, the storm could be gone in 17 years.

MARS

And to our neighboring planet, Mars.  The US's goal is to land a manned spacecraft on the surface of the red planet in the 2030's.  In order to do this, NASA must next study the planet's weather.

NASA plans to send it's next rover to Mars in 2016.  It's mission will be to study the wind and gusts in the martian atmosphere.  This will be a critical piece of the puzzle because until now, NASA has only landed small, light-weight rovers on the surface.  But a manned mission will require a much heavier spacecraft.

There are currently 2 rover's on Mars.  Both of them are studying the habitability of planet's surface.

 

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