All Good Things: Countdown Begins Toward Cassini's 'Grand Finale' Around Saturn

Artist's concept of Cassini's final orbits between the Saturn's innermost rings and the planet's cloud tops. This set of orbits will consist the last leg of Cassini's mission, called 'The Grand Finale', which will culminate with a plunge on Saturn's atmosphere on September 2017. Image Credit: Image Credit: NASA/JPL

Artist’s concept of Cassini’s final orbits between the Saturn’s innermost rings and the planet’s cloud tops. This set of orbits will consist the last leg of Cassini’s mission, called “The Grand Finale,” which will culminate with a plunge on Saturn’s atmosphere in September 2017. Image Credit: Image Credit: NASA/JPL

It has become something of […]

Cassini Data May Help Locate 'Planet Nine' and Reveals Methane Fog on Titan

Artist's conception of the possible "Planet Nine," orbiting much farther from the Sun than even Pluto. Image Credit: Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)

Artist’s conception of the possible Planet Nine, orbiting much farther from the Sun than even Pluto. The Cassini spacecraft may be able to help find it. Image Credit: Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)

The Cassini spacecraft has been orbiting Saturn for many years now, studying the massive planet and its moons in unprecedented detail. Now, Cassini […]

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 […]

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 […]

NASA's FYI 2017 Budget Request May Delay SLS Europa Mission Several Years

We are finally going back to Europa, but it may be a little later than planned. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute

We are finally going back to Europa, but it may be a little later than originally planned. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute

The recently announced new mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa, a highly anticipated return to this ocean world, may face a launch delay from 2022 to the late 2020s. The news comes amid the release […]

NASA Developing New 'Chemical Laptop' to Search for Evidence of Alien Life

The "Chemical Laptop" being designed by NASA to help search for evidence of alien life elsewhere in the Solar System. Photo Credit: NASA

The “Chemical Laptop” being designed by NASA to help search for evidence of alien life elsewhere in the Solar System. Photo Credit: NASA

One of NASA’s primary objectives, and the one which most excites the general public, is the search for evidence of life elsewhere, whether in our own Solar System or on some […]

A Moon Falling Apart: Grooves on Phobos Are a Sign of its Eventual Catastrophic Fate

The unusual grooves on Phobos' surface, such as those on the left side of this image, are now thought to be caused by tidal stress. The large crater Stickney is in the upper portion of the image. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

The unusual grooves on Phobos’ surface, such as those on the left side of this image, are now thought to be caused by tidal stress. The large crater Stickney is in the upper portion of the image. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

Phobos is the largest of Mars’ two tiny moons, but 50 million […]

A Colorful World: New Images of Pluto Show Blue Skies and Red Water Ice

The blue skies of Pluto, as seen in this image from New Horizons. Pluto is backlit by the Sun, revealing the multilayered hazes in the atmosphere. Soot-like particles in the atmosphere scatter sunlight in a way that the atmosphere appears blue, similar to what happens on Earth. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

The blue skies of Pluto, as seen in this image from New Horizons. Pluto is backlit by the Sun, revealing the multilayered hazes in the atmosphere. Soot-like particles in the atmosphere scatter sunlight in a way that the atmosphere appears blue, similar to what happens on Earth. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

As new images and […]

Pluto In All Its Glory: Stunning New Panorama From New Horizons Shows Mountains, Glaciers, and Hazes

Stunning new panorama of Pluto backlit by the Sun, showing the icy plains, rugged mountains and hazes in the atmosphere. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Stunning new panorama of Pluto backlit by the Sun, showing the icy plains, rugged mountains, and hazes in the atmosphere. The image was taken only 15 minutes after closest approach by New Horizons. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

New images of Pluto from the New Horizons spacecraft were released today … and they are spectacular. The views […]

Back to the Ice Giants: Proposed New Mission Would Re-Visit Uranus or Neptune (or Both!)

Uranus (left) and Neptune (right). These two ice giants and their many moons are awaiting further exploration. Image Credit: NASA

Uranus (left) and Neptune (right). These two ice giants and their many moons are awaiting further exploration. Image Credit: NASA

The outer Solar System has been a busy place lately, with the ongoing Cassini mission at Saturn and New Horizons’ recent spectacular flyby of Pluto. Literally in-between those two worlds, however, it has been […]