planets

The long, shallow grooves lining the surface of Phobos are likely early signs of the structural failure that will ultimately destroy this moon of Mars. Orbiting a mere 3,700 miles (6,000 kilometers) above the surface of Mars, Phobos is closer to its planet than any other moon in the solar system. Mars’ gravity is drawing… Read more

Scientists believe there’s a large salty ocean below the surface on Jupiter’s moon Europa, but haven’t been sure where to look for it. Now NASA has suggested a mission to find it and think it may be within the scarred, jumbled areas that make up the moon’s so-called “chaos terrain.” Says Mike Brown, professor of… Read more

Scientists have predicted a new phase of superionic ice, a special form of ice that could exist on Uranus and Neptune, in a theoretical study performed by a team of researchers at Princeton University. “Superionic ice is this in-between state of matter that we can’t really relate to anything we know of — that’s why… Read more

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has begun returning its best-ever views of the northern extremes of Saturn’s icy, ocean-bearing moon Enceladus. The spacecraft obtained the images during its Oct. 14 flyby, passing 1,142 miles (1,839 kilometers) above the moon’s surface. Mission controllers say the spacecraft will continue transmitting images and other data from the encounter for the… Read more

The dwarf planet Ceres may be something of a cosmic dartboard: Projectiles that slam into it tend to stick. That’s the conclusion scientists reached after using NASA’s Vertical Gun Range, a cannon with a 14-foot barrel that can launch projectiles at up to 16,000 miles per hour. They fired pebble-sized bits of basalt and aluminum… Read more