Ceres: An ocean world in the asteroid beltLiquid water, once thought unique to Earth, may be common on icy worlds throughout the solar systemRemnants of an ancient water ocean are buried beneath the icy crust of dwarf planet Ceres — or, at least, lingering pockets of one. That’s the tantalizing find presented August 10 by scientists working on NASA’s Dawn mission. Their research was laid out in a series of papers published in Nature.By far, Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt, which girdles the inner planets between Mars and Jupiter. But unlike its rockier neighbors, Ceres is a giant ice ball. It holds more water than any world in the inner solar except for Earth. That knowledge had long led some astronomers to suspect Ceres may have once had a subsurface ocean, which is part of the reason NASA sent the Dawn spacecraft there.However, some models predicted that Ceres' ocean would have frozen long ago, forming the world’s thick, icy crust.
This lake on Mars was drying up 3.5 billion years agoNASA's Mars Curiosity rover found evidence that a lake in Gale Crater evaporated billions of years ago, likely as a period of climate change hit the planet
Mars’ Gale Crater once held a lake of liquid water.
Could 2021 be NASA’s biggest year yet?Take a sneak peek at our agenda: https://go.nasa.gov/31JrSyi
How moon dust will put a ring around MarsPhobos, a moon of Mars, is destined to be shredded, changing the Red Planet forever.
Someday, Mars’ moon Phobos will slip past a certain point in its degrading orbit and get ripped apart by tidal forces, forming a ring. This illustration depicts Phobos midway through that process, overlooking the Red Planet.
Uranus and Neptune are called ice giants because they are smaller and compositionally different from Jupiter and Saturn, the gas giants. Jupiter and Saturn are composed of mostly hydrogen and helium, with large mantles of metallic hydrogen (which acts like a metal, due to the pressure and temperature within these planets) and only small cores of rock and ice. This is why they are called gas giants: They are mostly gaseous, with very little rock and ice.
Uranus (left) and Neptune are classified as ice giant planets because their rocky, icy cores are proportionally larger than the amount of gas they contain. The gas giants — Jupiter and Saturn — contain far more gas than rock or ice.
When Betelgeuse goes supernova, what will it look like from Earth?Astronomers simulated what humans will see on Earth when the star Betelgeuse explodes as a supernova sometime in the next 100,000 years.
A plume of gas nearly the size of our solar system erupts from Betelgeuse's surface in this artist's illustration of real observations gathered by astronomers using the Very Large Telescope in Chile.
Astronomers spy phosphine on Venus, a potential sign of lifeOn Earth, the toxic gas is produced by microbial life. Could the same be true on Venus? Now, the debate begins.
The surface of Venus is a hellscape. However, some layers of its clouds sport surprisingly hospitable temperatures and pressures. And now, researchers have discovered a unique chemical signature that may be indicative of microbial life.
Moon Village: Humanity's first step toward a lunar colony?The science — and science fiction — of lunar construction tells us a lot about what a future Moon city might be like.
A mockup of ESA's aspirations for its future Moon Village.
Salty lakes found beneath Mars' surfaceNew research adds fresh evidence for salty lakes below the Red Planet's south pole.
The potential underground salt lake reported by the Mars Express spacecraft in 2018 is located near the planet's permanent south polar ice cap.