The Science of Pluto: The Sails of Charon (Part 2)

An artist’s concept of Charon (at front), with Pluto seen in the background. Equally as fascinating and exciting as Pluto, Charon has sported its own set of intriguing mysteries and unanswered questions, some of which include the exciting possibility for the existence of geyser-like surface eruptions, underground layers of liquid water, and even the […]

Sinkholes on Titan: New Study Shows How Hydrocarbon Lakes May Form by Earth-Like Erosion

Wider view of lakes and seas near Titan's north pole. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/USGS

Colored mosaic of lakes near Titan’s north pole. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/USGS

Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, has seas and lakes of liquid methane and ethane dotting its surface, but one question scientists have been trying to figure out is how the hollows in the ground, which hold the lakes, form to begin with. Now, a […]

New Study Suggests Pluto's Charon May Have Harbored Underground Oceans Long Ago

An artist's depiction of Pluto, as seen from the surface of its largest moon, Charon. Image Credit: NASA, ESA and G. Bacon (STScI)

An artist’s depiction of Pluto, as seen from the surface of its largest moon Charon. A recent study by a team of US astronomers argues that Charon might harbor frozen underground oceans of liquid water, the pressence of which could be inferred by surface geologic features that could be visible to the New Horizons […]

Alien Ocean: All Systems Go for New NASA Mission to Europa

Artist's conception of the Europa Clipper during a flyby of Europa. Image Credit: NASA

Artist’s conception of the Europa Clipper during a flyby of Europa. Image Credit: NASA

After many years of people hoping and waiting, NASA has announced that a new mission to Europa has successfully completed its first major review by the agency and now is entering the development phase, known as formulation. In other words, […]

'Ocean Worlds Exploration Program': New Budget Proposal Calls for Missions to Europa, Enceladus and Titan

Artist’s conception¬†of Europa’s interior, with water rising through cracks in the surface, depositing salts similar to sea salt on Earth. The ocean below may be a habitable environment for some kind of life. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The exploration of the outer Solar System has revealed a plethora of amazing worlds, the likes of which […]

Dark Material in Fractures on Europa's Surface Is Sea Salt, New Research Suggests

The darker-colored material within the fractures and elsewhere on Europa’s surface might be sea salt brought up from the ocean below. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Ted Stryk

For over a decade, scientists have been curious about the long fractures on Europa’s icy surface and the darker-colored material they contain, as well as other relatively young geological […]

Enceladus' Water Geysers May Be 'Curtain Eruptions' According to New Study

The water vapor jets on Enceladus are now thought to mostly be more like diffuse “curtains” rather than separate plumes. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/PSI

The water vapor geysers on Saturn’s moon Enceladus are one of the most fascinating phenomena in the Solar System; the jets spray far out into space in a dazzling display unseen […]

Discovery of Salty Aquifer Beneath Antarctica May Have Implications for Life on Mars

The SkyTEM sensor suspended beneath a helicopter over Blood Falls and the Taylor Glacier in Antarctica. Photo Credit: L. Jansan

Scientists have discovered a vast network of salty aquifers beneath the surface of Antarctica, thanks to an airborne imaging system used there for the first time. The finding may have interesting implications for the […]

Just Add Water: Scientists Explain Saturn's Powerful Thunderstorms

A giant storm in Saturn’s northern hemisphere, which now extends around the planet, as seen by the Cassini spacecraft. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Thunderstorms are a powerful force of nature, but the ones we experience on Earth are dwarfed by the ones on the gas giant planet Saturn. They are huge and can be larger […]

Spirit Rover: More Evidence for Ancient Hot Springs on Mars

View from the Spirit rover looking toward Husband Hill on the right, with the lighter-toned Home Plate rock outcrop below that. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Spirit rover may have finished its journey a long time ago, but there is still plenty of data to go through and analyze, and continued study of that data […]