Ancient Ice Found in a Frigid Lunar Crater

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has found water ice lining a deep crater located on the Moon’s south pole — as much as 22% of the surface material of the crater appears to be composed of ice, NASA and university scientists report.

Mighty Melanthius

The 662-mile-wide Tethys is one of the most heavily cratered worlds in the solar system, tied with sister moons Rhea and Dione. In this recent raw image captured by Cassini on April 14, we can see some of the moon’s larger craters, including Melanthius with its enormous central peak.

Signs of Surprisingly Recent Volcanic Activity in Tycho

A team of researchers at India’s Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) claims it has found evidence of relatively recent volcanic activity on the Moon, using data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Chadrayaan-1 spacecraft. According to the findings the central peak of Tycho crater contains features that are volcanic in origin, indicating that the Moon was geologically…

MESSENGER Gets It “Donne”

Named after the 17th-century English metaphysical poet, Mercury’s Donne crater was captured in this image by NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft. The 53-mile (83-km) -wide crater features a large, rounded central peak and numerous lobate scarps lining its floor. What are lobate scarps? Find out more here.

A Blue Monday on Mercury

This latest image from NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft, now in its extended mission around Mercury, shows a color view of a section of the first planet’s rugged and sun-blasted surface.

An Artistic Array of Rays

Named after a 12th century Chinese artist, Xiao Zhao is a young 15-mile (24-kilometer) wide crater on Mercury. Its broad, bright rays indicate its youthfulness, as the lighter material ejected by the initial impact has not yet had enough time to grow dark. “Young” is a relative term, of course. On Mercury that can still mean…

Mercury’s Curious Hollows

As part of a wealth of new information presented today by the MESSENGER science team, this image shows the interior of Sander Crater, located within Mercury’s vast Caloris Basin. Areas seen as bright spots in previous lower-resolution images have been revisited by MESSENGER once it entered orbit and began its science mission. The bright areas…

Rolling Stones in the Lake of Death

No, it’s not the title of a B-movie starring Keith Richards, it’s an image of lunar boulders resting in a line within a valley on the Moon. This valley, located in the central peak of Bürg crater, is filled with boulders ranging up to 70 feet across that have rolled downhill from either side. The…

Mars Express Gets the Delta Blues

ESA’s Mars Express orbiter has imaged yet more evidence of a watery past on Mars with what appears to be the remains of a river delta, seen here, located just within the 40-mile (65-km) -wide Eberswalde Crater. Formed over 3.7 billion years ago, Eberswalde Crater was in the top 4 list of possible landing sites…

Granular Flows in a Copernican Crater

Sometimes flows of material on the Moon are made of light-colored material, sometimes they’re made of dark-colored material. This is definitely an example of the latter! This is a small portion of a Narrow-Angle Camera image taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, showing detail of “low-reflectance” granular material sliding down the wall of a crater…

A Snowman on Vesta

Aptly nicknamed the “Snowman”, these three craters were imaged on August 6, 2011 by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft in orbit around the protoplanet Vesta. Located on Vesta’s northern hemisphere, the craters were first visible to researchers on July 23. Dawn has been in orbit around Vesta for one month now and has already returned many amazingly detailed…

Where The Craters Have No Name

The latest in a series of new images coming in almost daily from the MESSENGER spacecraft currently in orbit around Mercury, this is a look at an unnamed crater on Mercury’s southern hemisphere. The smooth crater floor is likely due to impact melt that formed during the collision that produced the crater. Also visible are…