Balancing Cost and Science: NASA Examines Less Expensive Mission Design for Europa Lander

Artist’s conception of the Europa lander. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The push for a return mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa has been gaining steam in the last few years, with NASA now planning for Europa Clipper, which would make repeated close flybys to study the moon’s interior ocean and the exciting potential for life. There […]

A New Look at 'Ocean Worlds': James Webb Space Telescope Will Target Europa and Enceladus

An example of possible spectroscopy results from one of Europa’s water vapor plumes. Image Credit: NASA-GSFC/SVS/Hubble Space Telescope/Stefanie Milam/Geronimo Villanueva

NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will be used to study two of the most fascinating moons in our Solar System – Europa and Enceladus, also known as “ocean worlds” since both have […]

Landing on an Ocean Moon: NASA Unveils New Plan to Search for Life on Europa

Artist’s conception of the proposed Europa lander, with sampling arm extended. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

For decades now, Europa has beckoned – this moon of Jupiter which is frozen on the outside but hides a global ocean on the inside – has so far only been visited by spacecraft during brief flybys. Scientists and the […]

Voyager Spacecraft Continue Their Interstellar Journey With Help from Hubble Space Telescope

Artist’s illustrationn of Voyager 1 looking back on the Solar System. Image Credit: NASA/ESA/G. Bacon (STScI)

There have been many incredible planetary missions over the past several decades, from as close as our Moon to the outer reaches of the Solar System. Right now, there are robotic explorers at Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Ceres, and […]

Geysers on Europa? Hubble Space Telescope Finds More Evidence for Water Vapor Plumes

Composite image showing the possible water vapor plumes near the south pole of Europa, at about the 7 o’clock position. The image of Europa, from the Galileo and Voyager missions, is superimposed on the Hubble data. Image Credit: NASA/ESA/W. Sparks (STScI)/USGS Astrogeology Science Center

Intriguing new findings about Jupiter’s moon Europa were announced today […]

NASA's Europa Mission Facing Possible Budget Cuts in 2017

Artist’s conception of the Europa Clipper spacecraft near Europa. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

For a long time now, there has been growing interest in sending a mission back to Jupiter to better study one moon in particular: Europa. Previous missions such as Voyager and Galileo showed us this world up close for the first time, […]

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. 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 […]

Back to the Moon? New House Bill Defunds NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission

Artist’s conception of the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM). The new House bill directs NASA to bypass this mission and return to the Moon instead, before going to Mars. Image Credit: NASA

Sending human astronauts to Mars is a dream shared by many, but there are still challenges to overcome and the question of just […]

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

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, 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 […]