More evidence that Europa’s ocean is similar to Earth’s

Artist's illustration of how water from Europa's underground ocean can reach the surface. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech
Artist’s illustration of how water from Europa’s underground ocean can reach the surface.
Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

As one of the few places in the solar system other than Earth known to have an ocean, Europa has become one of the most fascinating worlds that we know of. This moon of Jupiter is small, but enticing – beneath its frozen surface of ice is a global ocean of water, making it a primary focus of study, especially in terms of the search for life elsewhere.

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Cassini views Venus from Saturn’s shadow

Cassini's view of Venus, as seen from Saturn. Venus is the bright speck shining through Saturn's rings, which are backlit by the sun in this image. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Space Science Institute
Cassini’s view of Venus, as seen from Saturn. Venus is the bright speck shining through Saturn’s rings, which are backlit by the sun in this image. Click for larger version.
Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Space Science Institute

The Cassini spacecraft has been orbiting Saturn for a long time now, taking stunning images of the giant planet and its rings and moons. Some new images, released today, show a different world though, far across the solar system and much closer to the sun -Venus.

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Is this the first photo of a planet being born?

Near-infrared image from the Very Large Telescope showing the still-forming protoplanet, the bright blob, near its star (which has been blocked out by the telescope to reduce the star's bright light). Credit: ESO
Near-infrared image from the Very Large Telescope showing the still-forming protoplanet, the bright blob, near its star (which has been blocked out by the telescope to reduce the star’s bright light). Credit: ESO

Astronomers have taken the first photo of what is thought to be a giant planet still in the process of forming near its star.

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Inspiration Mars: manned flyby mission planned for 2018

Artist's conception of the Inspiration Mars spacecraft during its flyby of Mars. Credit: Inspiration Mars Foundation
Artist’s conception of the Inspiration Mars spacecraft during its flyby of Mars.
Credit: Inspiration Mars Foundation

The long-held dream of sending humans to Mars may have moved closer to becoming reality – the Inspiration Mars Foundation announced today its plans to send two American astronauts to the Red Planet in 2018.

Read MoreInspiration Mars: manned flyby mission planned for 2018