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 […]

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 […]

Mission to Jupiter: 25 Years Since the Launch of Galileo (Part 2)

Atlantis roars into orbit on 18 October 1989 to deploy the Galileo spacecraft on its mission to Jupiter. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years ago, next week, shuttle mission STS-34 and the crew of Atlantis rocketed into orbit to launch NASA’s Galileo spacecraft on a lengthy odyssey to Jupiter. As described in yesterday’s AmericaSpace history […]

Mission to Jupiter: 25 Years Since the Launch of Galileo (Part 1)

Emblazoned with the script-like “Galileo” lettering and the block “NASA” letters, the spacecraft represented a marriage of romance and adventure with science and technology for STS-34’s Shannon Lucid. Photo Credit: NASA

When the Galileo spacecraft drifted out of Shuttle Atlantis’ payload bay on the evening of 18 October 1989—25 years ago, next week—on the […]

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 […]

Arianespace Launches First Pair of Fully Operational Galileo Satellites—ANOMALY UPDATE

Derived from a vehicle which has accomplished more than 1,800 launches since the mid-1960s, the Soyuz vehicle is one of the world’s most reliable rockets. Photo Credit: Arianespace

Following a 24-hour postponement, caused by poor weather conditions in the vicinity of the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana, Arianespace has launched its ninth Soyuz […]

Europe's Answer to GPS: Galileo Program Set for Full Operational Capability With Thursday Launch of Doresa and Milena

Attached to their Swedish-built payload dispenser, the Galileo FOC-1 twins are prepared for launch. Photo Credit: Arianespace

Less than three years since it became the first non-Russian organization to deliver a Soyuz booster into orbit from a location outside the borders of Russia or the former Soviet Union, Arianespace—the Paris, France-headquartered provider of commercial […]

Cassini Image May Reveal Historic Birth of Icy Saturn Moon

From NASA/JPL: “The disturbance visible at the outer edge of Saturn’s A ring in this image from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft could be caused by an object replaying the birth process of icy moons.” Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

The Cassini spacecraft, a flagship-class mission that is a cooperative project between NASA, the European Space […]

Panspermia on the Moons of Jupiter? New Study Finds It Possible, While Another Finds Evidence of Clay-Like Minerals on Europa

New studies strengthen the case for the possibility of life, carried by asteroids or comets on places like Europa. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Ted Stryk.

Even though Mars receives most of the spotlight today when it comes to searching for places in the Solar System—besides Earth—where life might have arisen, there are many in the scientific […]

Carbon Worlds May Be Waterless, Finds NASA Study

This artist’s concept illustrates the fate of two different planets: the one on the left is similar to Earth, made up largely of silicate-based rocks with oceans coating its surface. The one on the right is rich in carbon — and dry. Chances are low that life as we know it, which requires liquid […]