NASA is readying a new spacecraft, the Europa Clipper, for a journey to explore the giant water moon of Jupiter. Europa is believed to have oceans of liquid water deeper than any found on Earth, which are heated by bending and flexing as it orbits its massive companion. The spacecraft, due for launch in 2023, will carry instruments to measure the composition and condition of the oceans of Europa, as well as that world’s atmosphere, surface, and magnetic field. Astronomers believe that Europs may be one of the most likely places in the solar system to find alien life,Read More NASA Readies Europa Clipper for First In-Depth Study of Jupiter’s Water Moon Europa
Titan is the second-largest moon in the solar system, and the only one known to possess a thick atmosphere. Since it was first studied in detail by the Voyager 1 spacecraft in 1980, astronomers have wondered how the atmosphere of the largest moon of Saturn developed. Now, researchers have developed a theory that comets, which are rich in organic materials, may have deposited vast quantities of carbon-based chemicals just beneath the surface of Titan, where they were baked, releasing the nitrogen and methane seen in the atmosphere of Titan today.Read More Is Titan Baking its Own Atmosphere? Origin of Mysterious Gases Revealed
The rings of Saturn are disappearing, new research has determined. Particles of rock and ice which make up this magnificent system of rings are falling into the atmosphere of the planet, draining the system of material. Astronomers estimate the rings will be completely gone in just 100 million years, so see them before they disappear forever!Read More Saturn is Losing its Rings – See them Before They’re Gone!
The Voyager 2 spacecraft reached the heliopause at the edge of the solar system on December 5th. As it passed this border where particles and magnetic fields from the Sun give way to material existing between the stars, the spacecraft became the second object made by humans to enter interstellar space. Voyager 1, its twin robotic explorer, reached the heliopause in 2012. Both craft were launched in 1977. Voyager 2 still has a long way to go before it reaches the edge of the solar system, which it is expected to exit in around 30,000 years.Read More Voyager 2 Heads Out of the Solar System – What’s Next for this Intrepid Robotic Explorer?