Jupiter is a gigantic ball of churning gas clouds, and that makes it hard to see what’s in the middle. It’s believed to be a relatively small, rocky core, but data from the Juno probe found that it’s less dense and more spread out than expected. Now, astronomers believe they have an answer – a huge ancient planet, with 10 times the mass of Earth, crashed into the gas giant in the early days of the solar system.
There’s a galaxy of products commemorating Apollo 11’s 50th anniversary, from coins to cushions, tumblers to tote-bags. But for those who really want to wear their astro-hearts on their sleeve (or wrist), the Trappist-1 NASA edition might just send them over the moon.
NASA has announced a plan to explore the surface of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.
The space agency made the announcement in a media teleconference Thursday afternoon, detailing its vision of a robotic rotorcraft dubbed Dragonfly that will collect samples and measure soil composition in search for signs of habitability.
The enormous, icy moon is said to be the most Earth-like world in the solar system, and previous findings by the Cassini mission suggest it holds some of the ingredients necessary for the emergence of life.
Earth is a famously wet planet, but where all that water came from in the first place remains a mystery. The most commonly-accepted theory is that comets and asteroids delivered it via impacts during the early days of Earth, and now a NASA study has found new evidence to support that idea. Observations of a comet that whizzed by close to Earth a few months ago show that it contains “ocean-like” water – and this may apply to other previously-dismissed comets too.
Two years ago as the Cassini probe made its daring final plunge into the atmosphere of Saturn, it flew past for a closer look at a few of the gas giant’s inner moons. Now a NASA team has analyzed the data and uncovered some intriguing new details about these tiny worlds, including how they’re busily scooping up material from Saturn’s rings and growing into weird shapes.
NASA has released images from the Hubble Space Telescope showing an asteroid that is tearing itself apart. Located 214 million mi (344 million km) from the Sun, the 2.5-mile-wide (4-km) asteroid (6478) Gault is spinning so fast that it is self-destructing and throwing off debris tails half a million miles (800,000 km) long.