News From Space

The largest, most advanced rover NASA has sent to another world touched down on Mars on February 18, 2021, after a 203-day journey traversing 472 million kilometers (293 million miles). Confirmation of the successful touchdown was announced in mission control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California at 3:55 p.m. EST (12:55 p.m. PST). The Mars 2020 mission launched July 30, 2020, […]
On February 10, 2021, Breakthrough Watch, the global astronomical program looking for Earth-like planets around nearby stars, announced a new observing technique with unprecedented sensitivity to image exoplanets directly. Their initial observations also resulted in the detection of a weak signal in Alpha Centauri A’s habitable zone, part of the star system nearest to Earth. The technological achievements […]
Where did Earth’s nitrogen originate? Rice University scientists show one primordial source of the indispensable building block for life was close to home. The isotopic signatures of nitrogen in iron meteorites reveal that Earth likely gathered its nitrogen from both the region beyond Jupiter’s orbit and the dust in the inner protoplanetary disk. Nitrogen is […]
On May 10, 2021, NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft will say farewell to asteroid Bennu and begin its journey back to Earth. During its October 20, 2020, sample collection event, the spacecraft collected a substantial amount of material from Bennu’s surface, likely exceeding the mission’s requirement of 60 grams (2 ounces). The spacecraft is scheduled […]
Mini-Neptunes and super-Earths up to four times Earth’s size are the most common exoplanets orbiting stars beyond our solar system. Until now, super-Earths were thought to be the rocky cores of mini-Neptunes whose gassy atmospheres were blown away. In a new study published in The Astrophysical Journal, astronomers from McGill University show that some of […]
More than three billion years ago, seasons in Gale Crater probably felt something like those in Iceland. A Rice University study focuses on the ancient martian crater, with scientists comparing data from the Curiosity rover to places on Earth where similar geologic formations have experienced weathering in different climates. Out of several sites, Iceland’s basaltic […]
A team of astronomers have confirmed a planetoid that is almost four times farther from the Sun than Pluto, making it the most distant object ever observed in our solar system. The planetoid, which has been nicknamed “Farfarout,” was first detected in 2018, and the team has now collected enough observations to pin down its […]
Two scientists from the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and Sorbonne University working at the Institute of Celestial Mechanics and Ephemeris Calculation (Paris Observatory – PSL/CNRS) have just shown that the influence of Saturn’s satellites can explain the tilt of the rotation axis of the gas giant. Their work, published on January 18, 2021, […]
The core mass of the giant exoplanet WASP-107b is much lower than what was thought necessary to build up the immense gas envelope surrounding giant planets like Jupiter and Saturn, according to a Canadian-led team of astronomers, including McGill University Professor Eve Lee. This intriguing discovery by Caroline Piaulet of the Université de Montréal under […]