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News

Your online destination for news articles on planets, cosmology, NASA, space missions, and more. You’ll also find information on how to observe upcoming visible sky events such as meteor showers, solar and lunar eclipses, key planetary appearances, comets, and asteroids.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Ancient Volcanos Point to Extensive Ice on Mars

Volcanoes erupted beneath an ice sheet on Mars billions of years ago, far from any ice sheet on the Red Planet today, new evidence from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter suggests. The research about these volcanoes helps show there was extensive ice...

Second ExoMars mission moves to next launch opportunity in 2020

On March 14, 2016, the Roscosmos State Corporation and the European Space Agency (ESA) launched the jointly developed ExoMars 2016 interplanetary mission, comprising of the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and the Schiaparelli lander, on a Proton rocket from ...
Monday, May 02, 2016

Three potentially habitable worlds found around nearby ultracool dwarf star

Astronomers using the TRAPPIST telescope at the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) La Silla have discovered three planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth. These worlds have sizes and temperatures similar to th...

Although boiling, water does shape martian terrain

At present, liquid water on Mars only exists in small quantities as a boiling liquid, and only during the warmest time of day in summer. Its role has therefore been considered insignificant until now. However, an international team has now shown that...
Friday, April 29, 2016

An asteroid got knocked into a cometary orbit long ago

Astronomers at the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy and the European Southern Observatory have found something where it shouldn’t be: an apparent asteroid following a comet’s path. The object, Comet 2014 S3, has an 860...

Powerful winds spotted from mysterious X-ray binaries

At X-ray wavelengths, the celestial sky is dominated by two types of astronomical objects: supermassive black holes, sitting at the centers of large galaxies and ferociously devouring the material around them, and binary systems, consisting of a stel...
Thursday, April 28, 2016

Fermi helps link cosmic neutrino to blazar blast

Nearly 10 billion years ago, the black hole at the center of a galaxy known as PKS B1424-418 produced a powerful outburst. Light from this blast began arriving at Earth in 2012. Now astronomers using data from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope a...
Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Astronomers Spy a Massive Supernova in a Nearby Galaxy

A giant star that exploded 30 million years ago in a galaxy near Earth had a radius prior to going supernova that was 200 times larger than our sun, according to astrophysicists at Southern Methodist University, Dallas. The sudden blast hurled materi...

SpaceX Reportedly Sets Its Sites on Mars 'As Soon as 2018'

UPDATE: In a blog post, NASA deputy administrator Dava Newman hints at a future SpaceX collaboration, saying, "In exchange for Martian entry, descent, and landing data from SpaceX, NASA will offer technical support for the firm’s plan to attemp...

Curiosity leaves rough terrain for smoother, science rich lakebed

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has nearly finished crossing a stretch of the most rugged and difficult-to-navigate terrain encountered during the mission's 44 months on Mars. The rover climbed onto the Naukluft Plateau of lower Mount Sharp in early Marc...
Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Cassini Finds a Lake On Titan That's Almost Completely Methane

Saturn's largest moon is covered in seas and lakes of liquid hydrocarbons – and one sea has now been found to be filled with pure methane, with a seabed covered by a sludge of organic-rich material, and possibly surrounded by wetlands. Of all ...

Astronomers Find a Moon Hiding Around Makemake in Hubble Data

In 2005, Caltech astronomers Mike Brown and Chad Trujillo discovered dwarf planet Makemake, currently believed to be the third largest object in the Kuiper Belt after Pluto and Eris. But at the time, astronomers believed it was alone out there on its...

Mars’ surface revealed in unprecedented detail

The surface of Mars, including the location of Beagle-2, has been shown in unprecedented detail by University College London (UCL) scientists using a revolutionary image stacking and matching technique. Exciting pictures of the Beagle-2 lander, the ...
Monday, April 25, 2016

Mission Manager Update: Kepler recovered and returned to the K2 mission

The Kepler spacecraft has recovered from a system failure and, as of Friday, April 22, is back on the job as the K2 mission searching for exoplanets — planets beyond our solar system. The team began the process of returning the spacecraft to s...

Could NASA’s asteroid mission visit a third world?

NASA’s Dawn mission has yielded some impressive results thus far, and it isn’t over yet. After launching in 2007, the probe orbited the asteroid Vesta for a year in 2011 before moving on to the dwarf planet Ceres. Now, according to a repo...
Friday, April 22, 2016

Brief history of earth imaging

We’ve had thousands of years to peek at other planets, but getting an outside view of Earth has only been possible for about the last 70 years. Most famously, the Apollo 17 mission captured the Blue Marble photo, a color-rich image encompassing...

Cosmic beacons reveal the Milky Way’s ancient core

An international team of astronomers led by Andrea Kunder of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) in Germany has discovered that the central 2,000 light-years within the Milky Way Galaxy hosts an ancient population of stars. These sta...
Thursday, April 21, 2016

Researchers Spy Traces of a Supernova In Earth-bound Cosmic Rays

Sometime in the last few million years, a not-so-far-off supernova sent charged particles known as cosmic rays out in all directions. The scattered, stripped nuclei of radioactive iron isotopes eventually made their way to Earth as part of a larger s...

Lone planetary-mass object found in family of stars

In 2011, astronomers announced that our galaxy is likely teeming with free-floating planets. In fact, these lonely worlds, which sit quietly in the darkness of space without any companion planets or even a host sun, might outnumber stars in our Milky...
Wednesday, April 20, 2016

NASA missions measure solar flare from 2 spots in space

Solar flares are intense bursts of light from the Sun. They are created when complicated magnetic fields suddenly and explosively rearrange themselves, converting magnetic energy into light through a process called magnetic reconnection — at le...
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