As one of the few places in the solar system other than Earth known to have an ocean, Europa has become one of the most fascinating worlds that we know of. This moon of Jupiter is small, but enticing – beneath its frozen surface of ice is a global ocean of water, making it a primary focus of study, especially in terms of the search for life elsewhere.
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The Cassini spacecraft has been orbiting Saturn for a long time now, taking stunning images of the giant planet and its rings and moons. Some new images, released today, show a different world though, far across the solar system and much closer to the sun -Venus.
The long-held dream of sending humans to Mars may have moved closer to becoming reality – the Inspiration Mars Foundation announced today its plans to send two American astronauts to the Red Planet in 2018.
The sun is a very dynamic place, a constantly churning ball of immense energy that can put on dazzling displays of flares, sunspots and the like. But did you know that it also rains there?
As we have explored the solar system, we have found evidence for different kinds of oceans. Earth of course has its water oceans, while some icy moons like Europa have subsurface water oceans and Saturn’s largest moon Titan has seas and lakes of liquid methane.
The Kepler space telescope has added another significant discovery to its growing list – the smallest exoplanet found so far (again) orbiting a sun-like star, it was announced on Wednesday.
Exoplanets are now being discovered on a regular basis, including ones that may be potentially habitable. But when even the nearest ones are so far away compared to the planets in our own solar system, how could they be studied for possible signs of life? Is that even possible?
There was more exciting exoplanet-related news this morning – a team of astronomers announced a new study today which estimates that there are likely about 4.5 billion “Earth-like” planets in our galaxy!
When searching for potentially habitable exoplanets, one of the key factors to take into consideration is the habitable zone, the region around a star where temperatures could allow liquid water to exist on the surface of any rocky planets that may orbit them.