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After Cassini: Exploring Water Worlds and Ice Giants

NASA JPL September 07, 2017 As the Cassini spacecraft nears the end of a long journey rich with scientific and technical accomplishments, it is already having a powerful influence on future exploration. In revealing that Saturn’s moon Enceladus has many of the ingredients needed for life, the mission has inspired a pivot to the exploration of “ocean worlds” that has ... Read More »

Collapsing Cliff Reveals Interior of Rosetta’s Comet

ESA March 21, 2017 Rosetta scientists have made the first compelling link between an outburst of dust and gas and the collapse of a prominent cliff, which also exposed the pristine, icy interior of the comet. Sudden and short-lived outbursts were observed frequently during Rosetta’s two-year mission at Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Although their exact trigger has been much debated, the outbursts ... Read More »

Where the Ice is on Ceres – New Findings

NASA JPL December 15, 2016 At first glance, Ceres, the largest body in the main asteroid belt, may not look icy. Images from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft have revealed a dark, heavily cratered world whose brightest area is made of highly reflective salts — not ice. But newly published studies from Dawn scientists show two distinct lines of evidence for ice ... Read More »

Gullies on Mars Probably Not Formed by Water

NASA JPL July 29, 2016 New findings using data from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show that gullies on modern Mars are likely not being formed by flowing liquid water. This new evidence will allow researchers to further narrow theories about how Martian gullies form, and reveal more details about Mars’ recent geologic processes. Scientists use the term “gully” for features ... Read More »

Cassini Finds Titan’s Highest Mountain

NASA JPL March 24, 2016 In a nod to extraterrestrial mountaineers of the future, scientists working on NASA’s Cassini mission have identified the highest point on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. Titan’s tallest peak is 10,948 feet (3,337 meters) high and is found within a trio of mountainous ridges called the Mithrim Montes. The researchers found that all of Titan’s highest ... Read More »

Scientists Find a Possible Ninth Planet in Our Solar System

NASA January 21, 2016 Caltech researchers have found evidence of a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system. The object, which the researchers have nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the sun on average than does Neptune (which orbits the sun ... Read More »

Enormous Ice Cloud Covers Titan’s South Pole

NASA November 11, 2015 New observations made near the south pole of Titan by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft add to the evidence that winter comes in like a lion on this moon of Saturn. Scientists have detected a monstrous new cloud of frozen compounds in the moon’s low- to mid-stratosphere – a stable atmospheric region above the troposphere, or active weather ... Read More »

Saturn’s Moon Enceladus Has a Global Ocean

NASA JPL September 15, 2015 A global ocean lies beneath the icy crust of Saturn’s geologically active moon Enceladus, according to new research using data from NASA’s Cassini mission. Researchers found the magnitude of the moon’s very slight wobble, as it orbits Saturn, can only be accounted for if its outer ice shell is not frozen solid to its interior, ... Read More »

Comet Jets Are Coming From Large Sinkholes

ESA July 1, 2015 A number of the dust jets emerging from Rosetta’s comet can be traced back to active pits that were likely formed by a sudden collapse of the surface. These ‘sinkholes’ are providing a glimpse at the chaotic and diverse interior of the comet. Rosetta has been monitoring Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko’s activity for over a year, watching how ... Read More »

Water is Everywhere in the Cosmos

NASA April 7, 2015 As NASA missions explore our solar system and search for new worlds, they are finding water in surprising places. Water is but one piece of our search for habitable planets and life beyond Earth, yet it links many seemingly unrelated worlds in surprising ways. “NASA science activities have provided a wave of amazing findings related to ... Read More »

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