Exploring Europa - Ocean Worlds of the Outer Solar System

Where is the best place to find living life beyond Earth? It may be a small, ice-covered moon of Jupiter or Saturn that harbors some of the most habitable real estate in our Solar System. Life loves liquid water and these moons have lots of it! Dr.Kevin Hand, Deputy Chief Scientist for Solar System Exploration at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory explains the science behind how these oceans exist and what we know about the conditions on these worlds. Dr. Hand focuses on Jupiter’s moon Europa, which is a top priority for future NASA missions and shows how the exploration of Earth’s ocean is helping our understanding of the potential habitability of worlds.

Duration: 01:23:35

via NASA.

The Mystery Of The Moon Is Finally Solved

For 55 years, scientists have not fully understood how the moon was formed, and why the far side and the near side look drastically different. Now, they believe they finally have solved this mystery, and Trace is here to tell you all about it.

via DNews.

Are black holes stopping star formation in elliptical galaxies?

via spacefans:

Hello Space Fans! Welcome to this week’s episode of Space Fan News!

Scientists using the Chandra X-Ray Observatory have found evidence that black holes may be disrupting pockets of cool gas that would normally form stars in elliptical galaxies.

Also, geophysicists at the University of Hawaii at Manoa are using ion microprobes to study water content in Moon rocks to better understand its formation. 

Sources for this week’s episode:


Mars Weathercam Helps Find Big, New Crater

Scientists using NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter found a fresh meteor-impact crater, and by golly it’s big. It’s the largest ever located anywhere by using before-and-after pictures. Using the initial pictures, scientists could nail down the time of impact to just 24 hours between March 27-28, 2012. Using the higher resolution cameras on MRO, scientists spotted not only the crater but possible landslides that occurred as a result of the impact. Deputy Project Scientist Leslie Tamppari explains.

via NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Dawn Mission: Scientists Unlock Vesta’s Mysteries

Unlocking Vesta’s mysteries are two of Dawn mission’s participating scientists: Brett Denevi studies Vesta’s regolith, the relatively fluffy surface layer, made of dust and rocky debris leftover by impacts; and Paul Schenk explores Vesta’s craters, especially their weird shapes—often caused by that shifting regolith—and the tales they tell of Vesta’s history! Brett and Paul will show how their investigations of Vesta’s weird and wonderful craters and pits tell the tale of the giant asteroid’s history, as well as share the special role participating scientists have on NASA missions.

Duration: 58:41

via Dawn Mission EPO.

Learning Space №47 - Geology with CUPCAKES

This week, we’ll be talking with Jess Krim about a super-fun demonstration for science class. There will be cupcakes… There is a cupcake sitting on my desk right now that I cannot eat. Find out why in a few minutes!

Duration: 50:53

via Astrosphere Vids.

What Are These Hollows on Mercury?

Emily Lakdawalla from the planetary society describes one of the mysteries that’s currently fascinating her. There are strange structures on Mercury which have been called “hollows”. What might they be?

via Universe Today.

BAM! 38,000 MPH Space Rock Slams Into Moon

An estimated 4 foot-wide, 880 lbs asteroid hit the moon on September 11th, 2013. It had explosive force of 15 tons of TNT. Spanish telescopes that are part of Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System (MIDAS) recorded the explosion. (looped)

via Video From Space.

Titan as You’ve Never Seen it Before: The Cassini Mission to Saturn

Saturn’s moon Titan is the only place in our solar system other than Earth known to have a surface dotted with stable bodies of liquid, which take the form of hydrocarbon lakes and seas. With the success of additional flybys of Titan this year by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft and the development of a new way of analyzing data from the radar mapper, Cassini’s science team has put together the most complete multi-image mosaic yet of Titan’s northern land of lakes and views of the region in 3-D. The new results have given Cassini scientists a better understanding of this Earth-like region and its history.

Duration: 41:33

via American Geophysical Union.

Rotating Globe of Ganymede Geology

Animation of a rotating globe of Jupiter’s moon Ganymede, with a geologic map superimposed over a global color mosaic. The 37-second animation begins as a global color mosaic image of the moon then quickly fades in the geologic map.


via U.S. Geological Survey.

Playing Tag With an Asteroid

What’s the best way get a sample of an asteroid? Play tag with it! That’s the plan for OSIRIS-REx, a NASA spacecraft that will approach the asteroid Bennu in 2018. The collection will be done with an instrument on board called the Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism, or, TAGSAM. Learn how it works in this video.

This video is public domain and can be downloaded at: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a010000/a011400/a011435/index.html

via NASA explorer.

Disk Detective: Search for Planetary Habitats

A new NASA-sponsored website, DiskDetective.org, lets the public discover embryonic planetary systems hidden among data from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission.

The site is led and funded by NASA and developed by the Zooniverse, a collaboration of scientists, software developers and educators who collectively develop and manage the Internet’s largest, most popular and most successful citizen science projects.

WISE, located in Earth orbit and designed to survey the entire sky in infrared light, completed two scans between 2010 and 2011. It took detailed measurements of more than 745 million objects, representing the most comprehensive survey of the sky at mid-infrared wavelengths currently available. Astronomers have used computers to search this haystack of data for planet-forming environments and narrowed the field to about a half-million sources that shine brightly in the infrared, indicating they may be “needles”: dust-rich circumstellar disks that are absorbing their star’s light and reradiating it as heat.

Planets form and grow within these disks. But galaxies, interstellar dust clouds, and asteroids also glow in the infrared, which stymies automated efforts to identify planetary habitats.

Disk Detective incorporates images from WISE and other sky surveys in the form of brief animations the website calls flip books. Volunteers view a flip book and then classify the object based on simple criteria, such as whether the image is round or includes multiple objects. By collecting this information, astronomers will be able to assess which sources should be explored in greater detail.

The project aims to find two types of developing planetary environments. The first, known as Young Stellar Object disks, typically are less than 5 million years old, contain large quantities of gas, and are often found in or near young star clusters. For comparison, our own solar system is 4.6 billion years old.

The other type of habitat is called a debris disk. These systems tend to be older than 5 million years, possess little or no gas, and contain belts of rocky or icy debris that resemble the asteroid and Kuiper belts found in our own solar system. Vega and Fomalhaut, two of the brightest stars in the sky, host debris disks.

Through Disk Detective, volunteers will help the astronomical community discover new planetary nurseries that will become future targets for NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope.

This video is public domain and can be downloaded at: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?11436

via NASA explorer.

Why Europa?

Forget Mars, the place we really want to go looking for life is Jupiter’s moon Europa. Dr. Mike Brown, a professor of planetary science at Caltech, explains what he finds so fascinating about this icy moon, and the potential we might find life swimming in its vast oceans.

via Universe Today.

Opportunity: 10 Years on Mars - Science

Two Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, landed on the Red Planet in January, 2004, on a 90-day mission. Spirit’s mission lasted 2,269 days (over 6 years) and ended in 2010. Ten years after landing, the Opportunity rover continues to explore. The rover’s science team explains how Opportunity traversed the Red Planet, examined the diverse environment and sent back data that transformed our understanding of Mars.

via JPL.

Opportunity: 10 Years on Mars - Operating A Rover

There are no vehicle repair stations on Mars. The Opportunity rover landed on the Red Planet in January 2004 for a 90-day mission. Ten years later it’s still going strong despite not being serviced by human hands in over a decade. The engineering team discusses the demands of driving a rover millions of miles away, keeping it alive in the extreme Martian elements and doing long-distance repairs.

via JPL.