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NASA Wants to Explore Europa On the Cheap

Casey Dreier • March 05, 2014

NASA announced today that their Europa mission concept studies will be for a sub-$1 billion spacecraft, a lower level than previously imagined for a mission to this watery moon.

Intro Astronomy Class 1: Tour of the Solar System

Bruce Betts • February 11, 2014

Take a tour of the Solar System in the video of class 1 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

Europa New Frontiers Mission? (Or why I like the Europa Clipper concept even more now)

Van Kane • January 07, 2014

Europa remains a top priority for a future mission to explore whether it could host life. While the Europa Clipper mission, remains the current front runner, a senior NASA manager has suggested that the agency may look at still lower cost options. Van Kane looks at what those options might be.

NASA’s New Planetary Mission Woes

Van Kane • December 27, 2013

NASA’s planetary science program depends on regular missions to solar system bodies to gather data. A combination of budget cuts and previous commitments to develop missions currently in the pipeline means that development of follow on missions may slow to a crawl. Van Kane looks at the current situation and NASA’s plans and then look at options the agency may consider if budgets remain tight into the next decade.

Destination: Europa!

Steve Vance • December 16, 2013

It's time to reassess Europa exploration, past, present and future. The Destination Europa! session at AGU, inspired by the eponymous website and movement, didn't take exactly that message as its theme, but it's what I got from the presentations. What an ELECTRIFYING meeting this has been for Europa exploration!

Europa: No Longer a "Should," But a "Must"

Casey Dreier • December 12, 2013

We've waited long enough, Europa cries out for exploration and discovery. It's time to heed that cry.

The Plumes of Europa

Leigh Fletcher • December 12, 2013

2013 has been a rather exciting year for Europa scientists. Today's exciting news: the Hubble Space Telescope discovery of water vapor plumes from the south pole of this icy moon.

Planetary Radio: Rise of the Europa Underground?

Mat Kaplan • November 26, 2013

This week's PlanRad talks to one of the creators of a new effort to build support for the Europa Clipper, a spacecraft that would tell us far more about what's going on under that icy moon's surface.

NASA's Europa Mission Concept Rejects ASRGs -- May Use Solar Panels at Jupiter Instead

Casey Dreier • September 05, 2013

The Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG) is no longer an option for powering a potential Europa mission. The ASRG uses Plutonium-238 to generate electricity, but is far more efficient than past RTGs.

Movie SciFi With Real Science? What a Concept!

Mat Kaplan • July 30, 2013

This week's Planetary Radio features the new indy film that relies on the best available science to create a thrilling and inspiring human mission to Jupiter's moon.

Scale comparisons of the solar system's major moons

Emily Lakdawalla • July 10, 2013

A few presentation slides with pretty pictures, sized to scale, of the large moons of the solar system.

One Ocean World Among Many

Jim Bell • June 03, 2013

I'm absolutely floored when I stop to think that our beautiful blue ocean is only one of perhaps a half dozen or more oceans on other worlds in our solar system, and only one of probably millions (or more) oceans on other Earth-like planets in our galaxy. Oceans abound!

Planetary Society Weekly Hangout: Reports from the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference

Emily Lakdawalla • March 28, 2013

On Thursday at noon PDT / 1900 UTC I'll report on some of my favorite findings from LPSC, and answer your questions about the latest planetary science.

LPSC 2013: License to Chill (or, the solar system's icy moons)

Emily Lakdawalla • March 27, 2013

Reports from the March 19 session at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference covering eight icy moons in the outer solar system: Ganymede, Europa, Dione, Rhea, Mimas, Tethys, Enceladus, and Miranda.

Instruments for the JUICE Jovian Mission

Van Kane • March 07, 2013

The European Space Agency (ESA) announced the list of instruments selected for its JUICE mission to explore the Jovian system for three years starting in the 2030 following a 2022 launch.

Sea Salt

Mike Brown • March 06, 2013

Ever wonder what it would taste like if you could lick the icy surface of Jupiter’s Europa? The answer may be that it would taste a lot like that last mouthful of water that you accidentally drank when you were swimming at the beach on your last vacation.

Voyager 1 revisited: Io and Europa transiting Jupiter

Björn Jónsson • January 22, 2013

What is the highest resolution global Jupiter mosaic that includes a satellite transit that can be assembled from Voyager images? Satellite transits are especially beautiful when the resolution is high enough for some details to be visible on the satellites so I decided to check this. And I was remarkably lucky.

What We're Fighting For

Casey Dreier • November 13, 2012

We're fighting for the restoration of NASA's planetary sciences budget to return to its 2012 level. What does that get us? New financial analysis from our sources in the scientific community provides us a glimpse.

A couple of gems from the archives

Emily Lakdawalla • September 10, 2012

We're still working on migrating content from the old to the new website. This week, that means I am looking, one by one, through some great amateur-processed space images.

In Honor of JUICE, a New View of Europa

Ted Stryk • May 07, 2012

To celebrate ESA's selection of the JUICE mission to Jupiter, Ted Stryk produced a new global view of Europa from Galileo data.

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