News From Space

Using radar data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, recently published research presents a new scenario to explain why some methane-filled lakes on Saturn’s moon Titan are surrounded by steep rims that reach hundreds of feet high. The model suggests that explosions of warming nitrogen created basins in the moon’s crust. Titan is the only planetary body […]
After months grappling with the rugged reality of asteroid Bennu’s surface, the team leading NASA’s first asteroid sample return mission has selected four potential sites for the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft to “tag” its cosmic dance partner. Since its arrival in December 2018, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has mapped the entire asteroid […]
NASA’s Curiosity rover has come a long way since touching down on Mars seven years ago. It has traveled a total of 21 kilometers (13 miles) and ascended 368 meters (1207 feet) to its current location. The rover is far from done, having just drilled its 22nd sample from the Martian surface. It has a few more years before […]
A newly discovered comet has excited the astronomical community this week because it appears to have originated from outside the solar system. The object — designated C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) — was discovered on August 30, 2019, by Gennady Borisov at the MARGO observatory in Nauchnij, Crimea. The official confirmation that comet C/2019 Q4 is an interstellar comet has not yet been […]
Rather than leaving home young, as expected, stellar siblings prefer to stick together in long-lasting, string-like groups, finds a new study of data from ESA’s Gaia spacecraft. Exploring the distribution and past history of the starry residents of our galaxy is especially challenging as it requires astronomers to determine the ages of stars. This is […]
Scientists analyzing the treasure trove of images taken by ESA’s Rosetta mission have turned up more evidence for curious bouncing boulders and dramatic cliff collapses. Rosetta operated at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko between August 2014 and September 2016, collecting data on the comet’s dust, gas and plasma environment, its surface characteristics and its interior structure. As part of the analysis […]
An icy ocean world in our solar system that could tell us more about the potential for life on other worlds is coming into focus with confirmation of the Europa Clipper mission’s next phase. The decision allows the mission to progress to completion of final design, followed by the construction and testing of the entire […]
ESA’s X-ray space telescope XMM-Newton has detected never-before-seen periodic flares of X-ray radiation coming from a distant galaxy that could help explain some enigmatic behaviors of active black holes. XMM-Newton, the most powerful X-ray observatory, discovered some mysterious flashes from the active black hole at the core of the galaxy GSN 069, about 250 million light years away. On […]
Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins departed from the Moon 50 years ago, but one of the experiments they left behind continues to return fresh data to this day: arrays of prisms that reflect light back toward its source, providing plentiful insights. Along with the Apollo 11 astronauts, those of Apollo 14 and 15 left arrays behind […]