People often ask me to produce one of my scale-comparison montages featuring the small moons of the outer solar system. I'd love to do that, but Galileo's best images of Jupiter's ringmoons lack detail compared to Cassini's images from Saturn.
Now that I have a reasonable-resolution global color view of Pluto, I can drop it into one of my trademark scale image montages, to show you how it fits in with the rest of the similar-sized worlds in the solar system: the major moons and the biggest asteroids.
Over the last several years, engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Applied Physics Laboratory have rethought the entire approach to exploring Europa. NASA now has a concept that's affordable.
NASA has been vague about when the new mission to Europa will launch. There's a reason for that, and it's not just orbital mechanics.
NASA just announced the science instruments that will be used to understand the enigmatic ocean moon of Europa. The mission is planned to launch sometime in the early 2020s.
NASA officials have asked their European counterparts if they would like to propose contributing a small probe to NASA's Europa mission planned for the mid-2020s.
What is the solar system moon with the densest atmosphere? Most space fans know that the answer is Titan. A few of you might know that Triton's is the next densest. But what's the third? Fourth? Do any other moons even have atmospheres? In fact, they do; and one such atmosphere has just been discovered.
The road to lower costs outer planet missions has been paved by NASA’s first two New Frontiers missions, the $700M New Horizons mission to Pluto and the $1.1B Juno mission to Jupiter. But can the cost of a mission to the outer solar system be cut to $450M, the limit for a Discovery mission?
A newly published paper confirms a subsurface ocean at Ganymede. An ocean there was already suspected from its magnetic field and predicted by geophysics; new Hubble data confirms it, and even says it is in the same place we thought it was before. Such consistency is rare enough in planetary science to be worth celebration.
Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/11/26 11:54 CST
See Bill Nye, Europa scientist Kevin Hand, and Mars scientist Michael Meyer speak at a special event on Capitol Hill on December 2nd.
Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/11/20 08:14 CST
Rep. John Culberson, an outspoken supporter of Europa exploration, will assume leadership of an influential congressional committee that funds NASA.
Jason Perry brings us a report on recent ground-based observations that shed new light on the most powerful of Io’s volcanic eruptions.
Watch Bill Nye and Special Guests in The Lure of Europa
Video from The Planetary Society's recent congressional event
Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/08/04 09:21 CDT
We've posted the full video of our Washington, D.C. event exploring the lure of Europa, the moon of Jupiter with more liquid water than the Earth.
A Reluctant Dance Towards Europa
or, Why A Credible Europa Mission is Likely to Cost ~$2B
For the last two years, NASA has been the shy partner refusing to get on the dance floor, and Congress has been the aggressive partner insisting on a dance now. The dance is the continuing attempt by Congress to have NASA commit to a mission to explore Europa, and NASA’s attempts to delay a mission well into the 2020s.
Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/04/11 02:28 CDT
Explore the icy moons of the Jupiter System and tour the Saturnian system in this video of class 8 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.
Fifteen years ago, Society members and passionate space advocates like you helped save the Pluto mission. Now we can do the same for missions to Europa and Mars.
Join over 27,600 people who have completed their petition and consider a donation to support advocacy efforts.