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, […]

Saturn's Massive Phoebe Ring Even Larger Than Previously Thought

Image of the Phoebe ring taken in 2009, overlaid in tan colors. The ring is much larger than Saturn's other more visible rings and is also tilted with respect to the other rings. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/U

Image of the Phoebe ring taken in 2009, overlaid in tan colors. The ring is much larger than Saturn’s other more visible rings and is also tilted with respect to the other rings. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/U. Virginia

Saturn is truly the “Lord of the Rings” and one of the most majestic places in the […]

Hubble Reveals Fascinating and Chaotic Properties of Pluto's Moons

Using a set of archival data that were taken with the Hubble Space Telescope. astronomers were able to conduct the most comprehensive and detailed study to date of Pluto’s four smaller moons, Nix, Hydra, Kerberos and Styx. This artist’s illustration shows the scale and comparative brightness of these small satellites, as discovered by Hubble […]

To Europa! NASA Announces Science Instruments for New Mission to Ocean Moon

The cracked icy surface of Europa. Could the ocean below support life? The Europa Clipper mission will try to answer that question. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Ted Stryk

An exciting new development in planetary exploration was announced today: NASA has chosen the science instruments which will be included in a new mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa. […]

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 […]

Astronomers Find First Evidence of Possible Volcanic Activity On a Super-Earth Exoplanet

Artist’s conception of super-Earth exoplanet 55 Cancri e, before and after volcanic activity on its day side. The surface may be partially molten. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt

Discovering new exoplanets has become rather routine in the last few years, but determining just what conditions exist on any of them is naturally more difficult, since […]

Shedding New Light On the Solar System: Celebrating 25 Years of Hubble Science (Part 1)

A photograph of the Hubble Space Telescope. taken by the crew of the STS-109 mission, following the successful completion of the fourth Hubble servicing mission in 2002. The iconic orbiting observatory, which celebrates 25 years of successful operation this month, has completely revolutionised our view of the Cosmos. Image Credit: NASA/STScI

“All truths are […]

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 […]

Jupiter Might Be Responsible for Our Unusual Solar System, Study Suggests

A montage of Jupiter and its volcanic moon Io, as seen by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft on its way to Pluto. The results of a new study indicate that the massive gas giant fundamentally altered the evolution of the early Solar System, by destroying any “Super-Earth”-type planets that may have formed, while opening the […]