Europa’s Icy Crust May Be Warmer Than We Thought

All the worlds may be ours except Europa but that only makes the ice-covered moon of Jupiter all the more intriguing. Beneath Europa’s thin crust of ice lies a tantalizing global ocean of liquid water somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 kilometers deep—which adds up to more liquid water than is on the entire surface of the Earth. Liquid…

An Ocean Beyond Earth: Europa Awaits

It’s no secret that Earth’s ocean is filled with life, much of it still a mystery or totally unknown to science. But what about the ocean on other worlds? I’m not talking about sci-fi planets or suspected alien Earths around other stars, but right here in our own solar system, where an ocean even deeper than ours lies…

Europa Is Covered In Bacon. That Is Why We Must Go.

Whether you’re a trend-loving hipster, a breakfast lover, or just fan of meat products in general, you’d have to agree that it does look like a giant piece of bacon* running across the image above. And while the color and shape seems about right, the size and temperature is a bit off — that’d be…

The Brightest Lights: 12 Awesome Space Stories of 2013

What a year for space exploration! With 2013 coming to a close I thought I would look back on some of the biggest news in space that I’ve featured here on Lights in the Dark. Rather than a “top ten” list, as is common with these year-end reviews, I’m going to do more of a…

Jupiter’s Moon Europa Has Jets Like Enceladus!

“Attempt no landings there?” Ok, FINE. We’ll just fly a spacecraft through Europa’s newly-discovered plumes and get a taste of its underground ocean that way! Because it has them, and so we could. This was the big news from NASA, ESA, and Hubble researchers today: Jupiter’s ice-covered moon Europa (yes, the one from 2010) has…

Europa Has Water and H2O Too

According to research by NASA astronomers using the next-generation optics of the 10-meter Keck II telescope, Jupiter’s ice-encrusted moon Europa has hydrogen peroxide (aka H2O2)  across much of the surface of its leading hemisphere, a compound that could potentially provide energy for life if it has found its way into the moon’s subsurface ocean. “Europa has the…

Evidence of Lakes Beneath Europa’s Ice

New research on Jupiter’s ice-covered moon Europa indicates the presence of a subsurface lake buried beneath frozen mounds of huge jumbled chunks of ice. While it has long been believed that Europa’s ice lies atop a deep underground ocean, these new findings support the possibility of large pockets of liquid water being much closer to…

Breaking the Ice

Here’s a look at the frozen crater Cilix, a rare ice-filled dent in the scoured and resurfaced face of Europa. Taken by the Galileo spacecraft in 1998, this image has been reassembled from raw data and color-calibrated by Gordan Ugarkovic to highlight the surface detail of this fascinating frozen cueball of a moon. Covered by…