Now that we’re done with the planets, asteroid belt, and comets, we’re heading to the outskirts of the solar system. Out past Neptune are vast reservoirs of icy bodies that can become comets if they get poked into the inner solar system. The Kuiper Belt is a donut shape aligned with the plane of the solar system; the scattered disk is more eccentric and is the source of short period comets; and the Oort Cloud which surrounds the solar system out to great distances is the source of long-period comets. These bodies all probably formed closer into the Sun, and got flung out to the solar system’s suburbs by gravitational interactions with the outer planets.
Astronaut Mike Massimino explores the incredible new alien planets being found daily by astronomers; using the latest science, he investigates everything from worlds that appear to eat light to planets that resemble Earth in shocking ways.
Generations of astronomers have attempted to solve the mysteries of Jupiter, the most fierce and extreme planet in the Solar System and now experts reveal new evidence that could unlock the secrets of why this planet is so strange.
Is there another Earth out there with liquid oceans, rocky continents and life like us? Astronomers seek the answer with spectroscopy, direct imaging and telescopes. They hope to find evidence of atmospheres, magnetospheres and signs of life.