Does Pluto Have a Subsurface Ocean? New Research Says Probably

The discovery of huge faults on Pluto provides evidence for a possible liquid water ocean beneath the ice crust. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

The discovery of huge faults on Pluto provides evidence for a possible liquid water ocean beneath the ice crust. Photo Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

So-called “waterworlds” have been found to be surprisingly common in the Solar System—small icy moons which have ice crusts but oceans of liquid water below the surface. These include Jupiter’s moons Europa and […]

Pluto Once Had Rivers and Lakes of Liquid Nitrogen, New Horizons Data Suggests

Artist's conception of Pluto's surface, with the distant Sun and largest moon Charon in the sky. The surface is frozen now, but evidence suggests that rivers and lakes of liquid nitrogen once flowed here. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Alex Parker

Artist’s conception of Pluto’s surface, with the distant Sun and largest moon Charon in the sky. The surface is frozen now, but evidence suggests that rivers and lakes of liquid nitrogen once flowed here. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Alex Parker

As has been discussed extensively now on AmericaSpace, New […]

Pluto Revealed: Five New Science Papers Highlight Discoveries by New Horizons

High-resolution view of Pluto from New Horizons. The large smoother area of ice is the western lobe of the “heart” feature. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

High-resolution view of Pluto from New Horizons. The large smoother area of ice in Sputnik Planum is the western lobe of the “heart” feature. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Pluto is a tiny world in the outer fringes of the Solar System; for many decades it was only a mere speck of light in even the […]

The Changing Bright Spots of Ceres: New Evidence for Geological Activity?

Artist’s conception based on a detailed map of the surface compiled from images taken from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft in orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres. New observations show that the bright spots change in brightness from day to night, suggesting that they change under the influence of sunlight as Ceres rotates, and may also indicate subsurface geological activity. Image Credit: ESO/L.Calçada/NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/Steve Albers/N. Risinger (skysurvey.org)

Artist’s illustration of the brights spots Occator crater and elsewhere, based on a detailed map of the surface compiled from images taken from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft in orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres. New observations show that the bright spots change in brightness from day to night, suggesting that they change under the influence of […]

Ten Years at Mars: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Celebrates a Decade of Discovery

Illustration of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) as it entered orbit ten years ago. Image Credit: NASA/JPL

Illustration of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) as it entered orbit ten years ago. Image Credit: NASA/JPL

The Martian rover Opportunity has become famous for its amazing longevity, but it is not the only one; orbiting spacecraft also usually enjoy long lifespans, and today the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is celebrating its 10th year exploring Mars from […]

Dawn Celebrates One Year at Ceres with Incredible New Images of 'Lonely Mountain'

View of Ahuna Mons from the low-altitude mapping orbit (LAMO). Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/PSI

View of Ahuna Mons from the low-altitude mapping orbit (LAMO). Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/PSI

It has been a year now since the Dawn spacecraft first reached the dwarf planet Ceres in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and during that time has shown Ceres to be a unique and complex little world. At […]

New Horizons Discovers Methane 'Snow' on Pluto's Mountain Peaks

Methane "snow" on mountain peaks in the Cthulhu region of Pluto. The image covers an area 280 miles (450 kilometers) long by 140 miles (225 kilometers) wide. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Methane “snow” on mountain peaks in the Cthulhu region of Pluto. The enhanced color version of the inset image is on the left and the false color version is on the right. The image covers an area 280 miles (450 kilometers) long by 140 miles (225 kilometers) wide. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

As the data […]

New Horizons Finds Evidence for Frozen Ocean Inside Pluto's Moon Charon

The canyons of Charon. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

The canyons of Charon, some of which dwarf the Grand Canyon on Earth. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

One of the most surprising discoveries in recent years in the outer Solar System is that there are small moons which have oceans inside them. Jupiter’s moon Europa and Saturn’s moon Enceladus are now known to have global […]

The 'Floating Hills' of Pluto: Icebergs In a Frozen Nitrogen Sea

Icebergs on Pluto: the large blocks of water ice float in a "sea" of nitrogen ice and are thought to have broken off from the rugged and mountainous highlands. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Icebergs on Pluto: The large blocks of water ice float in a “sea” of nitrogen ice and are thought to have broken off from the rugged and mountainous highlands. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Pluto is a tiny world and incredibly distant from the Sun, so it was a pleasant surprise for scientists last summer when […]

Data From New Horizons Reveals More Water Ice on Pluto Than Previously Thought

False-color, infrared maps of Pluto from New Horizons, showing regular detection method of water ice on the left and the more sensitive technique on the right. Image Credit: NASA/JHUIAPL/SwRI

False-color, infrared maps of Pluto from New Horizons, showing regular detection method of water ice on the left and the more sensitive technique on the right. Image Credit: NASA/JHUIAPL/SwRI

New Horizons has shown Pluto to be a diverse world, more so than many scientists had anticipated, with tall mountain ranges, vast glaciers, a blue-colored […]