The Cassini probe zipped through the icy plumes of Enceladus Wednesday, looking for evidence that the moon's hidden sea is habitable. The search for life in the solar system is increasingly pointing to new and less-accessible destinations.
Even after giving birth to 100 million trillion Earth-mass planets in the habitable zones of host stars, the cosmos has the raw material to produce more than 10 times that number, according to a new study.
The Enceladus Life Finder mission, involving a small orbiter, would sample the Saturn moon's geyser-like plumes for evidence of habitability and perhaps life. New data point to a global ocean beneath Enceladus' icy crust.
Scientists have found evidence that human relatives perhaps 2 million years old used a burial chamber for the dead – a practice thought to be only 350,000 years old. It's one remarkable aspect of a remarkable find.
Later this week, mission scientists are expected to publicly unveil the first images in what is expected to be a 15-month flow of data from the New Horizons spacecraft, following its flyby of Pluto in July.