The Atlantic

A Baby Planet Is Born

In a rare discovery, astronomers have spotted a world swirling into being around its star.
Source: ESO / A. Müllet et al.

In 2003, Donald Pettit, a NASA astronaut, sprinkled some salt into a ziplock bag for an experiment. Pettit was living on the International Space Station, about 200 miles above Earth. The station was just a few years old then, and astronauts were keen to see how stuff reacted in microgravity.

Pettit gave the bag a good shake. When he stopped, the salt crystals were suspended like tiny flakes. When Pettit shook the bag again, the clump refused to break apart.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The AtlanticPolitics
The Risk of Elizabeth Warren’s Dodging
She’s presented herself as the truth-teller, the straight-talker, the one who can break down complex economic ideas and bring nonprogressives along.
The AtlanticPolitics
What America Didn’t Anticipate About China
For too long, policy makers ignored the possibility that China could transform the U.S., rather than the other way around.
The AtlanticPolitics
The Atlantic Politics Daily: What Warren Won’t Say
Elizabeth Warren emerges as a front-runner with one particular hangup: admitting how to pay for Medicare for All.