Recently in the Moons and Icy Worlds Category


For terrestrial exoplanets with thin atmospheres or no atmospheres, the surface contributes light to the reflected light signal of the planet.

Jupiter's Moons Could Be Warming Each Other

Jupiter's moons are hot. Well, hotter than they should be, for being so far from the Sun. In a process called tidal heating, gravitational tugs from Jupiter's moons and the planet itself stretch and squish the moons enough to warm them.

Inclination Damping On Callisto

Callisto is thought to possess a subsurface ocean, which will dissipate energy due to obliquity tides. This dissipation should have damped any primordial inclination within 1 Gyr - and yet Callisto retains a present-day inclination.

There is compelling evidence for subsurface water oceans among the three outer Galilean satellites, and evidence for an internal magma ocean in the innermost moon, Io. Tidal forces from Jupiter periodically deform these bodies, causing heating and deformation that, if measured, can probe their interior structures.

Icy satellites represent compelling astrobiological targets, but their rocky interiors must be better characterized.

Assuming our Solar System as typical, exomoons may outnumber exoplanets. If their habitability fraction is similar, they would thus constitute the largest portion of habitable real estate in the Universe.

Gas hydrates formed in oceans and permafrost occur in vast quantities on Earth representing both a massive potential fuel source and a large threat in climate forecasts. They have been predicted to be important on other bodies in our solar systems such as Enceladus, a moon of Saturn.

Ammonia, if present in the ice shells of icy satellites, could lower the temperature for the onset of melting to 176 K and create a large temperature range where partial melt is thermally stable.

Strategies to identify and explore ocean worlds in our solar system should focus on a range of targets, including confirmed and unconfirmed ocean worlds, according to a new paper by a team led by Planetary Science Institute Senior Scientist Amanda R. Hendrix.

A recently published study led by researchers at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology reveals Ganymede, an icy moon of Jupiter, appears to have undergone complex periods of geologic activity, specifically strike-slip tectonism, as is seen in Earth's San Andreas fault.