News From Space

Following the completion of critical mirror alignment steps, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope team expects that Webb’s optical performance will be able to meet or exceed the science goals the observatory was built to achieve. On March 11, the Webb team completed the stage of alignment known as “fine phasing.” At this key stage in […]
When it’s fully assembled, NASA’s Europa Clipper will be as large as an SUV with solar arrays long enough to span a basketball court — all the better to help power the spacecraft during its journey to Jupiter’s icy moon Europa. And just about every detail of the spacecraft will have been handcrafted. The assembly […]
Despite being the closest planet to the Sun, some craters on Mercury’s poles contain ice. The deposits, which were first detected in the early 1990s, were thought to be thick layers of nearly pure water ice. A new study published in Planetary Science Journal was able to characterize the icy deposits in Mercury’s north pole […]
Caltech researchers used NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) to determine that surface water left salt minerals behind as recently as 2 billion years ago. Mars once rippled with rivers and ponds billions of years ago, providing a potential habitat for microbial life. As the planet’s atmosphere thinned over time, that water evaporated, leaving the frozen […]
Supermassive black holes millions to billions of times the mass of our Sun lie at the heart of most galaxies, and astronomers are eager to know how these behemoths came to be. While they think most resulted from at least one merger between two smaller supermassive black holes, scientists lacked the observations that could give […]
NASA has extended flight operations of the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter through September. In the months ahead, history’s first aircraft to operate from the surface of another world will support the Perseverance rover’s upcoming science campaign exploring the ancient river delta of Jezero Crater. Along the way, it will continue testing its own capabilities to support […]
NASA has selected two science missions — the Multi-slit Solar Explorer (MUSE) and HelioSwarm — to help improve our understanding of the dynamics of the Sun, the Sun-Earth connection, and the constantly changing space environment. These missions will provide deeper insights into our universe and offer critical information to help protect astronauts, satellites, and communications […]
Fast radio bursts are unpredictable, extremely short flashes of light from space. Astronomers have struggled to understand them ever since they were first discovered in 2007. So far, they have only ever been seen by radio telescopes. Each flash lasts only thousandths of a second, yet each one sends out as much energy as the […]
The count of confirmed exoplanets just ticked past the 5000 mark, representing a 30-year journey of discovery led by NASA space telescopes. Not so long ago, we lived in a universe with only a small number of known planets, all of them orbiting our Sun. But a new raft of discoveries marks a scientific high […]
NASA’s Psyche mission is almost ready for its moment in the Sun — a 2.4-billion-kilometer (1.5-billion-mile) solar-powered journey to a mysterious, metal-rich asteroid of the same name. Twin solar arrays have been attached to the spacecraft body, unfolded lengthwise, and then restowed. This test brings the craft that much closer to completion before its August […]
Launching with the Artemis I uncrewed test flight, NASA’s shoebox-sized Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) Scout will chase down what will be the smallest asteroid ever to be visited by a spacecraft. It will get there by unfurling a solar sail to harness solar radiation for propulsion, making this the agency’s first deep space mission of its […]
The moment that debris from destroyed planets impacts the surface of a white dwarf star has been observed for the first time by astronomers at the University of Warwick. They used X-rays to detect the rocky and gaseous material left behind by a planetary system after its host star dies as it collides and is […]