AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch MAVEN on a Atlas V 401 rocket from Cape Canaveral AFB, FL
scheduled for:
18 Nov 13 18:28:00 GMT
18 Nov 13 13:28:00 EST

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Living On the Edge: In the Realm of the Ice Giants (Part 5)

An artist’s concept of Neptune as seen from the surface of its largest moon Triton. Could this distant cold moon harbor an underground habitat for life in the outer reaches of the Solar System approximately 4.5 billion km from the Sun? Image Credit: Wikipedia

“Four happy days bring in Another moon; but O, [...]

Living On the Edge: The Mysterious Lakes of Titan (Part 4)

Titan’s colorful globe passes in front of Saturn and its rings, in this true color image taken in 2011 from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. The moon’s opaque atmosphere hides a fascinating surface that is rich in methane lakes, water ice, and organic compounds. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

“On Titan, the molecules that have [...]

Living On the Edge: The Icy Plains of Enceladus (Part 3)

Lit by reflected light from Saturn, Enceladus appears to hover above the gleaming rings with its well-defined ice particle jets spraying a continuous hail of tiny ice grains, in this image taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft in 2006 from a distance of 1.303 million kilometers. The 500-km-wide moon has excited the scientific community and [...]

Plate Tectonics May Increase Chances for Life on Europa

Europa, with its subsurface ocean, and now evidence for plate tectonics, is a primary goal of exploration in the search for alien life. Processed image copyright: Ted Stryk. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Ted Stryk

Jupiter’s moon Europa is a fascinating little world, but particularly so for one reason: water. It’s deep alien ocean underneath the surface [...]

Living On the Edge: Life Under the Ice (Part 1)

After drilling through the 800-meter-thick ice sheet that covers subglacial Lake Whillans in western Antarctica, a U.S. research team discovered a thriving microbial ecosystem on the lake floor that hasn’t been reached by sunlight possibly for up to a million years. The image shows the view down the bore hole as the drill melted [...]

Taking Aim With ExoLance: A New Way to Search for Life on Mars

“Got Life?”—the ExoLance logo. Image Credit: Explore Mars

Is or was there life on Mars? That is one of the biggest and most hotly debated questions in planetary science. The manner in which the evidence has been searched for is also a topic of much discussion. The Viking landers in the 1970s were the [...]

Bacteria Discovered in Lake of Oil: Implications for Extraterrestrial Life?

Pitch Lake in Trinidad, where life has been found inside water droplets within the oil deposits. Photo Credit: Martina Jackson/Wikimedia Commons

A recent discovery by scientists may have implications for possible extraterrestrial life: Bacteria have been found thriving in a lake of oil in Trinidad, again showing how life can exist in even the [...]

Curiosity Rover Celebrates Second Anniversary on Mars as It Approaches Mountain Goal

A “self-portrait” of the Curiosity rover in Yellowknife Bay, with part of Mount Sharp in the background. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Curiosity rover has been actively exploring Mars for two years now, and as it celebrated its second anniversary today, Aug. 5, it is also, after a lengthy journey, approaching its primary mission goal: the [...]

Behold Enceladus: Cassini Maps 101 Geysers on Tiny Saturn Moon

The geysers at the south pole of Enceladus, as seen by the Cassini spacecraft. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI

Saturn’s moon Enceladus is already known as one of the most intriguing places in our solar system, and now new findings from the Cassini spacecraft have been published, which will only add to our fascination with this little world.

[...]

Titan's Hidden Ocean Might Be as Salty as the Dead Sea

Illustration of what Titan’s interior is thought to look like, with a rigid ice shell above the salty water ocean below. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Saturn’s moon Titan is known for its methane seas, lakes, and rivers; surprisingly Earth-like in appearance yet distinctly alien at the same time. But there is also evidence for another [...]