A volcanic eruption on Jupiter’s moon Io. Credit: NASA/JPL/DLR It’s been 30 years since NASA last visited Venus, with the Magellan orbiter in 1990. Now, two new missions have been selected to explore the deadly atmosphere, crushing pressures and volcanic landscape. The process dates back to February 2020, when NASA announced that four missions were to […]

This illustration, updated as of December 2020, depicts NASA’s Europa Clipper spacecraft. The mission, targeting a 2024 launch, will investigate whether Jupiter’s moon Europa and its internal ocean have conditions suitable for life. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech Jupiter’s moon Europa has an icy crust covering a vast, global ocean. The rocky layer […]

“Clyde’s Spot” on Jupiter imaged by Juno on April 15, 2021. Image data: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS. Image processing by Kevin M. Gill © CC BY­­. During its 33rd low pass over the cloud tops of Jupiter on April 15, 2021, NASA’s Juno spacecraft captured the intriguing evolution of a feature in the giant planet’s atmosphere known […]

NASA’s Galileo spacecraft caught Jupiter’s moon Io, the planet’s third-largest moon, undergoing a volcanic eruption. Locked in a perpetual tug of war between the imposing gravity of Jupiter and the smaller, consistent pulls of its neighboring moons, Io’s distorted orbit causes it to flex as it swoops around the gas […]

The SwRI-led Ultraviolet Spectrograph (UVS) orbiting Jupiter aboard NASA’s Juno spacecraft allowed scientists to discover faint aurora features likely triggered by charged particles coming from the edge of Jupiter’s massive magnetosphere. This occurrence, shown in the false color series of images recorded 30 seconds apart (red panels), displays the characteristically […]

NASA’s Europa Clipper, depicted in this illustration that was updated in December 2020, will swoop around Jupiter on an elliptical path, dipping close to its moon Europa on each flyby to collect data. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech Jupiter’s moon Europa may have the potential to harbor life. The spacecraft will use multiple […]

ANIMATION Jovian jet streams above the cloud tops measured using the aftermath of comet collision. Working with a team led by French astronomers, Southwest Research Institute scientists helped identify incredibly powerful winds in Jupiter’s middle atmosphere for the first time. The team measured molecules exhumed by the 1994 impact of comet […]

ANIMATION Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), in which the European Southern Observatory (ESO) is a partner, a team of astronomers have directly measured winds in Jupiter’s middle atmosphere for the first time. By analyzing the aftermath of a comet collision from the 1990s, the researchers have revealed incredibly powerful […]

What’s Up for March? Mars and friends in the evening, and a brilliant pair of planets returns… In the first week or so of March, you’ll find Mars near the Pleiades star cluster high in the west in the few hours after sunset. NASA’s Perseverance rover successfully landed on Mars on February […]