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 […]

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 […]

Artist’s rendering showing a cutaway view into the interior of Saturn’s moon Enceladus. A plume of ice particles, water vapor, and organic molecules sprays from fractures in the moon’s south polar region. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech Buried beneath 20 kilometers of ice, the subsurface ocean of Enceladus—one of Saturn’s moons—appears to be churning […]

Interior water ocean worlds like Saturn’s moon, Enceladus, are prevalent throughout the universe. New research from Southwest Research Institute suggests that layers of rock and ice may shield life within such oceans, protecting it from impacts, radiation and other hazards and concealing it from detection. Layers of rock and ice […]

The Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper aboard the Juno spacecraft captured these images of Jupiter’s moon Ganymede on 26 December 2019. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM Jupiter’s moon Ganymede is the largest planetary satellite in the solar system. It’s also one of the most intriguing: Ganymede is the only moon with its own magnetic […]

This figure illustrates a cross-section of Enceladus, showing a summary of the processes SwRI scientists modeled in the Saturn moon. Oxidants produced in the surface ice when water molecules are broken apart by radiation can combine with reductants produced by hydrothermal activity and other water-rock reactions, creating an energy source […]

This artist’s conception of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa shows a hypothesized cryovolcanic eruption, in which briny water from within the icy shell blasts into space. A new model of this process on Europa may also explain plumes on other icy bodies. Credit: Justice Blaine Wainwright A new model shows how […]

This composite image shows an infrared view of Saturn’s moon Titan from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, captured in 2015. Several places on the image, visible through the moon’s hazy atmosphere, show more detail because those areas were acquired near closest approach. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/University of Idaho New research on nine […]