Category: surface

The puzzling, fascinating surface of Jupiter…

The puzzling, fascinating surface of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa looms large in this newly-reprocessed color view, made from images taken by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft in the late 1990s. This is the color view of Europa from Galileo that shows the largest portion of the moon’s surface at the highest resolution.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute

High-resolution images of Pluto taken by NAS…

High-resolution images of Pluto taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft.

The plains on Pluto’s surface are composed of more than 98 percent nitrogen ice, with traces of methane and carbon monoxide. Nitrogen and carbon monoxide are most abundant on the anti-Charon face of Pluto (around 180° longitude, where Tombaugh Regio’s western lobe, Sputnik Planitia, is located), whereas methane is most abundant near 300° east. The mountains are made of water ice. Pluto’s surface is quite varied, with large differences in both brightness and color. Pluto is one of the most contrastive bodies in the Solar System, with as much contrast as Saturn’s moon Iapetus. The color varies from charcoal black, to dark orange and white. Pluto’s color is more similar to that of Io with slightly more orange and significantly less red than Mars. Notable geographical features include Tombaugh Regio, or the “Heart” (a large bright area on the side opposite Charon), Cthulhu Macula, or the “Whale” (a large dark area on the trailing hemisphere), and the “Brass Knuckles” (a series of equatorial dark areas on the leading hemisphere). Sputnik Planitia, the western lobe of the “Heart”, is a 1,000 km-wide basin of frozen nitrogen and carbon monoxide ices, divided into polygonal cells, which are interpreted as convection cells that carry floating blocks of water ice crust and sublimation pits towards their margins; there are obvious signs of glacial flows both into and out of the basin. It has no craters that were visible to New Horizons, indicating that its surface is less than 10 million years old.

source | images: NASA/JPL

Reprocessed Galileo image of Europa’s …

Reprocessed Galileo image of Europa’s frozen surface by Ted Stryk (NASA/JPL/Ted Stryk)

As of November 2014, these are all of the pl…

As of November 2014, these are all of the planetary, lunar and small body surfaces where humanity has either lived, visited, or sent probes to.

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Characteristics of the moons of Saturn

Saturn has 62 natural satellites. Here are some features of some of its moons, with mountains,…

Images of Mars seen by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)…

Images of Mars

seen by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) using the HiRise instrument.

Credit: Image credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona