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Planetary Sciences News Archive


SciGuy Blog (Houston Chronicle), August 7, 2013 & Austin American-Statesman, September 8, 2013 Featuring: Don Blankenship For the first time scientists have done a complete study of a possible Europa lander mission. The work will be reported in the journal Astrobiology. I had the opportunity to speak with Don Blankenship, a University of Texas geophysicist who is…

Scientists at the University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Geophysics helped develop a blueprint for a possible future NASA lander mission to Europa, an icy moon of Jupiter that has a global ocean covered by an ice shell. Europa’s large reservoir of liquid water has long enchanted planetary scientists with the possibility of harboring…

Recap: “Hasta La Vesta” Online Event

On September 8, 2012, NASA’s Dawn mission held Hasta La Vesta, a celebration of the successful exploration of giant asteroid Vesta. As part of the event, Dawn mission scientists and engineers shared mission stories and answered questions in a live, interactive Google+ Hangout video event moderated by Dawn science team liaison, Dr. Britney Schmidt, research…

The European Space Agency recently announced that it will send a space probe to Jupiter and its large icy moons Callisto, Ganymede and Europa. Scientists at the University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Geophysics, including Don Blankenship, senior research scientist, are part of the science team designing and operating a radar instrument for the…

Lecture Recap: The Latest on Martian Ice

by Thomas Minor Jack Holt, research scientist at the Institute for Geophysics (UTIG), is currently researching Amazonian ice deposits on Mars, both at the polar caps and at the middle latitudes. Holt offered an update on his research in the Nov. 22, 2011 UTIG weekly seminar, “A New View of Ice on Mars: Viscous Fluid,…

Watch animation of how lakes form inside Europa’s icy shell. In a significant finding in the search for life beyond Earth, scientists from The University of Texas at Austin and elsewhere have discovered what appears to be a body of liquid water the volume of the North American Great Lakes locked inside the icy shell…

Wired, Jun. 21, 2011 Featuring: Lorena Moscardelli

Recently, there’s been a fair amount of interest and excitement about whether or not there is actually water on the moon. And it’s true, water has been detected on the moon’s surface through remote sensing. However, researchers at the University of New Mexico, UCLA, University of Texas at Austin and Los Alamos National Laboratory, have…

Martian Icecap, Now in 3-D

Earth, Universe Today, May 26-27, 2010 Featuring: Jack Holt & Isaac Smith

Scientists have reconstructed the formation of two curious features in the northern ice cap of Mars—a chasm larger than the Grand Canyon and a series of spiral troughs—solving a pair of mysteries dating back four decades while finding new evidence of climate change on Mars. In a pair of papers to be published in the…

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