Jupiter

  • Europa: Living World or Frozen Wasteland?
    Within our solar system, Jupiter's moon Europa is on the short list of potentially habitable worlds. It's a bizarre place, believed to contain a globe-spanning ocean covered by a thick layer of ice, and to be pummeled by intense radiation from Jupiter's magnetosphere.
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  • Io’s Lava Lakes Like Early Earth?
    Jupiters volcanic moon, Io, spews pillars of salt into its atmosphere, at the rate of about two tons per second. The layers of purgatory brew up often enough to make Io by volcanically active body in the solar system. A single volcano on Io may
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  • Is Europa Corrosive?
    Scientists planning the Jupiter Icy Moon Orbiter met recently to discuss the prospects for finding life on Jupiter's moon, Europa. This icy world however may have enough sulfuric acid mixed in to qualify as a good battery-- but a poor prospect for microbial life as
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  • Megawatts to Jupiter?
    A proposed NASA mission to Jupiter for 2011 --called the Jupiter Icy Moon Orbiter--will be the first in a series of interplanetary probes that rely on nuclear electricity. Unlike the Cassini mission slated to orbit Saturn this July, the Jupiter mission would use megawatts to
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  • Firing Up for Jupiter
    An ambitious probe in the planning stages for investigating Jupiter's moons passed an important engine test this month. Using an electrical kickstart from what is called an ion engine provides the kind of efficient, but slow impulse, that can back up plans for much
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  • Finding JIMO
    As a follow-on to the recently ended Galileo mission to Jupiter, the next goal seems to be investigating its icy moons--Io, Ganymede, Callisto and Europa. A subsurface ocean and tidal heating may make possible at least two of the three requirements for life, namely water
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  • Europa: Frozen Ocean in Motion
    Few places in our solar system can offer more intriguing conditions for primitive life than Jupiter's moon Europa. Covered by a vast ice-sheet, Europa cloaks its subterranean ocean but evidence of a briny, electrically-conductive sea may provide at least two of the conditions needed
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  • Europa and Undersea Divers
    From working on Europa research to diving the Atlantic for vent microbes, the SETI Institute's Kevin Hand is getting out there. His handiwork recently was contributed to the exploration voyage of James Cameron, while the Academy Award director hunted for extreme lifeforms.
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  • Olympian Close-Ups
    As the Cassini spacecraft flew by Jupiter on its way to Saturn and its moon, Titan, its camera caught the most detailed view of Jupiter yet. A mosaic of images stitched together showed the unusual cloud activity that make the gas giant such an unusual
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  • Io: Moon On Fire
    For those wishing to tour another solar system, Jupiter is a close simulation; the Jovian family of moons offers some of the most stunning photo opportunities available. To trace the story of the Jovian family requires a good lens, since the four inner
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  • Galileo’s Spyglass
    Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute examines the revolution that the astronomer Galileo brought to the world by discovering moons around another planet. This changed what otherwise had persisted as a worldview since Aristotle placed Earth in the center of it the universe.
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  • High Tide on Europa
    Cynthia Phillips, an expert on Europa image analysis from SETI Institute, discusses the remarkable way that the Galilean satellites-get their warmth. The moons are heated by eccentric orbits. Called tidal heating, this source of energy has interesting implications for whether liquid water could exist so
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  • The End of Galileo
    On Sunday afternoon, the Galileo spacecraft crashed into the planet Jupiter. The spacecraft has redefined our understanding of Jupiter, the moons orbiting that gas giant planet, and the possibility of life elsewhere in our solar system.
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  • Galileo Joins Jupiter, Literally
    The spectacular journey of Jupiter-orbiting spacecraft, Galileo, ended by crashing into planet's atmosphere. Partly because of successful mapping of Europa's frozen ocean, Galileo couldn't be left unattended to, or it might risk contamination of solar system's prospects for habitability.
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  • Fascination with Distant Worlds
    On September 21, the Galileo space probe will dive into the atmosphere of Jupiter. Its trek to the giant planet has revealed stunning images of the Jovian moons, in particular one of its frozen satellites, Europa. Cynthia Phillips of The SETI Institute provides an account
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