Just Passing By: the Globe of Earth Imaged by OSIRIS-REx

Here’s our beautiful blue marble as seen by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft on Sept. 22, 2017 from a distance of 106,000 miles (170,000 km). It had just completed a gravity-assist flyby of Earth—a little 19,000 mph “once around the block” that gave the spacecraft an 8,500-mile-an-hour speed boost necessary to adjust its course toward Bennu, the…

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…

Cassini Uncovers Even More Evidence for Enceladus’ Hidden Ocean

It’s been suspected for nearly a decade that Saturn’s 315-mile-wide moon Enceladus harbors a hidden ocean beneath its frozen crust, thanks to observations by the Cassini spacecraft of icy plumes spraying from its southern pole, and now scientists have even more evidence supporting its existence: Doppler measurements of the moon’s gravity taken during Cassini’s flybys show variations…

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…

Dione to Join the List of Moons with Underground Oceans?

Earth may display its seas on its surface for all the Universe to see, but further out in the Solar System liquid oceans are kept discreetly under wraps, hidden beneath cratered surfaces of ice and rock. And while Saturn’s moon Enceladus sprays its salty subsurface ocean out into space, other moons are less ostentatious —…

50 Unbelievable Facts About Earth: an Infographic

Do you know how long a tardigrade can survive in space? How much gold is in seawater? How long it’s been since it rained in Antarctica’s Dry Valleys? There are a whole lot of amazing facts about our planet and this infographic has 50 of them (and while seemingly unbelievable, they’re all true!) See the…

Enceladus is Spraying Its Salty Sea Out Into Space

Thanks to Cassini we’ve known about the jets of icy brine spraying from the south pole of Saturn’s moon Enceladus for about 8 years now, but this week it was revealed at the 44th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference outside Houston, Texas that Enceladus’ jets very likely reach all the way down to the sea — a salty…

More Evidence for Titan’s Underground Ocean

As Titan travels around Saturn during its 16-day elliptical orbits, it gets rhythmically squeezed by the gravitational pull of the giant planet — an effect known as tidal flexing. Now, if this cloud-covered moon were mostly composed of rock, the flexing would be in the neighborhood of around 3 feet (1 meter.) But based on measurements…

The Dragon Returns!

This morning, at 4:49 a.m. CDT, after 5 days, 16 hours and 5 minutes attached to the International Space Station, SpaceX’s Dragon craft was released and made its return to Earth. It splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 10:42 a.m. CDT, about 530 miles southwest of Los Angeles, off the coast of Baja California….