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Water in the Solar System: Water, Water, Everywhere!
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13 Jun 2014 Cracks in Pluto's Moon Could Indicate it Once Had an Underground Ocean
If the icy surface of Pluto's giant moon Charon is cracked, analysis of the fractures could reveal if its interior was warm, perhaps warm enough to have maintained a subterranean ocean of liquid water, according to a new NASA-funded study.
1 May 2014 Ganymede May Harbor Club Sandwich of Oceans and Ice
The largest moon in our solar system, a companion to Jupiter named Ganymede, might have ice and oceans stacked up in several layers like a club sandwich, according to new NASA-funded research that models the moon's makeup.
28 Apr 2014 NASA Seeks External Concepts for Mission to Oceanic Jovian Moon
NASA has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to science and engineering communities for ideas for a mission to Europa that could address fundamental questions of the enigmatic moon and the search for life beyond Earth. The RFI's focus is for concepts for a mission to Europa that costs less than $1 billion, excluding the launch vehicle that can meet as many of the science priorities as possible recommended by the National Research Council's 2011 Planetary Science Decadal Survey for the study of Europa.
3 Apr 2014 NASA Space Assets Detect Ocean inside Saturn Moon
NASA's Cassini spacecraft and Deep Space Network have uncovered evidence Saturn's moon Enceladus harbors a large underground ocean of liquid water, furthering scientific interest in the moon as a potential home to extraterrestrial microbes. Researchers theorized the presence of an interior reservoir of water in 2005 when Cassini discovered water vapor and ice spewing from vents near the moon's south pole. The new data provide the first geophysical measurements of the internal structure of Enceladus, consistent with the existence of a hidden ocean inside the moon.
19 Mar 2014 NASA Orbiter Finds New Gully Channel on Mars
A comparison of images taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in November 2010 and May 2013 reveal the formation of a new gully channel on a crater-wall slope in the southern highlands of Mars. These before-and-after images are available online at http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mro/multimedia/images/?ImageID=6087.
27 Jan 2014 Herschel Telescope Detects Water on Dwarf Planet
Scientists using the Herschel space observatory have made the first definitive detection of water vapor on the largest and roundest object in the asteroid belt, Ceres. Plumes of water vapor are thought to shoot up periodically from Ceres when portions of its icy surface warm slightly.
12 Dec 2013 Hubble Space Telescope Sees Evidence of Water Vapor Venting off Jupiter Moon
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has observed water vapor above the frigid south polar region of Jupiter's moon Europa, providing the first strong evidence of water plumes erupting off the moon's surface. Previous scientific findings from other sources already point to the existence of an ocean located under Europa's icy crust. Researchers are not yet fully certain whether the detected water vapor is generated by erupting water plumes on the surface, but they are confident this is the most likely explanation.
23 Sep 2013 NASA Rover Inspects Pebbly Rocks at Martian Waypoint
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has resumed a trek of many months toward its mountain-slope destination, Mount Sharp. The rover used instruments on its arm last week to inspect rocks at its first waypoint along the route inside Gale Crater. The location, originally chosen on the basis of images taken from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, paid off with investigation of targets that bear evidence of ancient wet environments.
27 Aug 2013 NASA-Funded Scientists Detect Water on Moon's Surface that Hints at Water Below
NASA-funded lunar research has yielded evidence of water locked in mineral grains on the surface of the Moon from an unknown source deep beneath the surface. Using data from NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument aboard the Indian Space Research Organization's Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, scientists remotely detected magmatic water, or water that originates from deep within the Moon's interior, on the surface of the Moon.
14 Aug 2013 Mars Rover Opportunity Working at Edge of 'Solander'
NASA's Mars rover Opportunity is studying the area of contact between a rock layer formed in acidic wet conditions long ago and an even older one that may be from a more neutral wet environment.
31 Jul 2013 NASA's Cassini Spacecraft Reveals Forces Controlling Saturn Moon Jets
The intensity of the jets of water ice and organic particles that shoot out from Saturn's moon Enceladus depends on the moon's proximity to the ringed planet, according to data obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The finding adds to evidence that a liquid water reservoir or ocean lurks under the icy surface of the moon. This is the first clear observation the bright plume emanating from Enceladus' south pole varies predictably.
17 Jul 2013 Evidence for a Martian Ocean
Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have discovered evidence for an ancient delta on Mars where a river might once have emptied into a vast ocean. This ocean, if it existed, could have covered much of Mars's northern hemisphere -- stretching over as much as a third of the planet. Although the new findings are far from proof of the existence of an ancient ocean, they provide some of the strongest support yet, says Roman DiBiase, a postdoctoral scholar at Caltech and lead author of the paper.
6 Jun 2013 The Floodwaters of Mars
Dramatic flood events carved this impressive channel system on Mars covering 1.55 million square kilometres, shown here in a stunning new mosaic from ESA's Mars Express. The mosaic, which features the spectacular Kasei Valles, comprises 67 images taken with the spacecraft's high-resolution stereo camera and is released during the week of the 10th anniversary of the spacecraft's launch to the Red Planet. Kasei Valles is one of the largest outflow channel systems on Mars -- from source to sink, it extends some 3000 km and descends by 3 km in altitude.
3 Jun 2013 Water on the Moon Video
Since the 1960s, scientists have suspected that frozen water could survive in cold, dark craters at the moon's poles. While previous lunar missions have detected hints of water on the moon, new data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter pinpoints areas near the south pole where water is likely to exist.
30 May 2013 Pebbly Rocks Testify to Old Streambed on Mars
Detailed analysis and review have borne out researchers' initial interpretation of pebble-containing slabs that NASA's Mars rover Curiosity investigated last year: They are part of an ancient streambed. The rocks are the first ever found on Mars that contain streambed gravels. The sizes and shapes of the gravels embedded in these conglomerate rocks -- from the size of sand particles to the size of golf balls -- enabled researchers to calculate the depth and speed of the water that once flowed at this location.
17 May 2013 Mars Rover Opportunity Examines Clay Clues in Rock
NASA's senior Mars rover, Opportunity, is driving to a new study area after a dramatic finish to 20 months on "Cape York" with examination of a rock intensely altered by water. The fractured rock, called "Esperance," provides evidence about a wet ancient environment possibly favorable for life.
12 Apr 2013 Where Are the Best Windows Into Europa's Interior?
The surface of Jupiter's moon Europa exposes material churned up from inside the moon and also material resulting from matter and energy coming from above. If you want to learn about the deep saltwater ocean beneath this unusual world's icy shell -- as many people do who are interested in possible extraterrestrial life -- you might target your investigation of the surface somewhere that has more of the up-from-below stuff and less of the down-from-above stuff. New analysis of observations made more than a decade ago by NASA's Galileo mission to Jupiter helps identify those places.
18 Mar 2013 Curiosity Mars Rover Sees Trend in Water Presence
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has seen evidence of water-bearing minerals in rocks near where it had already found clay minerals inside a drilled rock. Last week, the rover's science team announced that analysis of powder from a drilled mudstone rock on Mars indicates past environmental conditions that were favorable for microbial life. Additional findings presented today (March 18) at a news briefing at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, Texas, suggest those conditions extended beyond the site of the drilling.
7 Mar 2013 NASA Helps See Buried Mars Flood Channels In 3-D
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has provided images allowing scientists for the first time to create a 3-D reconstruction of ancient water channels below the Martian surface.
5 Mar 2013 A Window into Europa's Ocean Right at the Surface
If you could lick the surface of Jupiter's icy moon Europa, you would actually be sampling a bit of the ocean beneath. A new scientific paper details the strongest evidence yet that salty water from the vast liquid ocean beneath Europa's frozen exterior actually makes its way to the surface.
21 Feb 2013 Water in Moon Rocks Challenges Lunar Formation Theory
Scientists have recently discovered small traces of water from samples brought back from the Moon by the Apollo 15 mission that took place in the 1970?s. Prevailing theories hold that the Moon was created when a Mars-sized body crashed into the young Earth and broke off debris that eventually coalesced into a new entity. In the process, much of the water would have evaporated into space, leaving Earth's satellite very dry. But the new study has found that the Moon may have once had a watery landscape, turning older theories about the Moon upside down.
20 Jan 2013 Gorgeous Images: Ancient River on Mars?
The Mars Express has long been taking pictures of what appears to be an ancient riverbed on Mars. In fact, Reull Vallis was one of the first objects on the Red Planet that Mars Express ever imaged back in 2004 when the spacecraft arrived in orbit. The latest images show the sinuous river-like feature that stretches for nearly 1,500 km across the Martian landscape. Planetary scientists seem to be fairly unanimous that, from orbit, this appears to be a riverbed. There is a system of tributaries and side channels that all appear to flow into the huge Hellas Basin.
20 Jan 2013 Martian Crater May Once Have Held Groundwater-Fed Lake
A NASA spacecraft is providing new evidence of a wet underground environment on Mars that adds to an increasingly complex picture of the Red Planet's early evolution. The new information comes from researchers analyzing spectrometer data from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which looked down on the floor of McLaughlin Crater. The Martian crater is 57 miles (92 kilometers) in diameter and 1.4 miles (2.2 kilometers) deep. McLaughlin's depth apparently once allowed underground water, which otherwise would have stayed hidden, to flow into the crater's interior.
15 Jan 2013 Curiosity Update, Sol 157: Glenelg Isn't Just a Test Site Anymore; It's a Scientific "Candy Store"
The rock at Glenelg turns out to be a sequence of diverse sedimentary rocks that seem to have been deposited by liquid water, then turned into rock, which was, some time later, saturated again with liquid water, leaving concretions and gypsum veins in their wake. Water, water, everywhere, and at multiple times in history, in multiple depositional environments! It's exactly the kind of stuff Curiosity was sent to Mars to study.
8 Dec 2012 Ancient Caverns on Mars May Have Captured Floodwaters
An international research team led by the Planetary Science Institute has found evidence that indicates that approximately 2 billion years ago enormous volumes of catastrophic flood discharges may have been captured by extensive systems of caverns on Mars.
27 Sep 2012 Curiosity Finds Old Streambed on Mars
NASA's Curiosity rover mission has found evidence a stream once ran vigorously across the area on Mars where the rover is driving. There is earlier evidence for the presence of water on Mars, but this evidence -- images of rocks containing ancient streambed gravels -- is the first of its kind.
26 Sep 2012 Vesta Got Special Delivery of Hydrated Minerals
Observations of the giant asteroid Vesta by NASA's Dawn mission suggest that hydrated materials were delivered to it mainly through a buildup of small particles during an epoch when the solar system was rich in dust. This is a radically different process from the way hydrated materials have been deposited on the moon and may have implications for the formation of terrestrial planets, including the delivery of the water that formed Earth's ocean.
20 Sep 2012 NASA Dawn Spacecraft Sees Hydrated Minerals on Giant Asteroid
Pothole-like features mark some of Vesta's surface where volatiles (easily evaporated materials), likely water, released from hydrated minerals boiled off. While Dawn did not find actual water ice at Vesta, there are signs of hydrated minerals delivered by meteorites and dust evident in the giant asteroid's chemistry and geology.
14 Sep 2012 NASA Mars Rover Opportunity Reveals Geological Mystery
NASA's long-lived Mars rover Opportunity has returned an image of the Martian surface that is puzzling researchers. Spherical objects concentrated at an outcrop Opportunity reached last week differ in several ways from iron-rich spherules nicknamed "blueberries" the rover found at its landing site in early 2004 and at many other locations to date. Opportunity is investigating an outcrop called Kirkwood in the Cape York segment of the western rim of Endeavour Crater. The spheres measure as much as one-eighth of an inch (3 millimeters) in diameter. The analysis is still preliminary, but it indicates that these spheres do not have the high iron content of Martian blueberries.
28 Jun 2012 Titan's Underground Ocean
Data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft have revealed Saturn's moon Titan likely harbors a layer of liquid water under its ice shell.
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Last Updated: 16 Apr 2014