A recent study published in Nature presents a groundbreaking discovery that Saturn’s moon, Mimas, commonly known as the “Death Star” moon due to its similarities with the iconic Star Wars space station, possesses an internal ocean underneath its rocky crust. This study was conducted by an international team of researchers and holds the potential to help planetary geologists better understand the conditions for a planetary body to possess an internal ocean, which could also possess the conditions for life as we know it. While Mimas was photographed on several occasions by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, including a close flyby in February 2010, what was the motivation behind this recent study regarding finding an internal ocean on Mimas?Continue reading “Saturn’s “Death Star Moon” Mimas Probably has an Ocean Too”
Saturn’s ocean moon, Enceladus, is attracting increasing attention in the search for life in our Solar System. Most of what we know about Enceladus and its ice-covered ocean comes from the Cassini mission. Cassini ended its exploration of the Saturn system in 2017, but scientists are still working through its data.
New research based on Cassini data strengthens the idea that Enceladus has the chemicals necessary for life.Continue reading “Enceladus has All the Raw Materials for Life”
Most planets and moons in the Solar System are clearly dead and totally unsuitable for life. Earth is the only exception. But there are a few worlds where there are intriguing possibilities of life.
Chief among them is Jupiter’s moon Europa, and the JWST just discovered carbon there. That makes the moon and its subsurface ocean an even more desirable target in the search for life.Continue reading “The JWST Just Found Carbon on Europa, Boosting the Moon’s Potential Habitability”
Is it time to head back to Neptune and its moon Triton? It might be. After all, we have some unfinished business there.
It’s been 30 years since NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft flew past the gas giant and its largest moon, and that flyby posed more questions than it answered. Maybe we’ll get some answers in 2038, when the positions of Jupiter, Neptune, and Triton will be just right for a mission.Continue reading “NASA Thinks it’s Time to Return to Neptune With its Trident Mission”