News From Space

Direct geological evidence of recent volcanic activity has been observed on the surface of Venus for the first time. Scientists made the discovery after poring over archival radar images of Venus taken more than 30 years ago, in the 1990s, by NASA’s Magellan mission. The images revealed a volcanic vent changing shape and increasing significantly […]
Earth and Venus are rocky planets of about the same size and rock chemistry, so they should be losing their internal heat to space at about the same rate. How Earth loses its heat is well known, but Venus’ heat flow mechanism has been a mystery. A study that uses three-decade-old data from NASA’s Magellan mission has […]
A new study using NASA’s and German aerospace center DLR’s now-retired Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) has pieced together the first detailed, wide-area map of water distribution on the Moon. With clear, identifiable lunar features marked out by the water data, the study provides hints about how water may be moving across the Moon’s […]
On February 3, 2023, an asteroid more than three times as long as it is wide safely flew past Earth at a distance of about 1.8 million kilometers (1.1 million miles, or a little under five times the distance between the Moon and Earth). While there was no risk of the asteroid — called 2011 AG5 — […]
Since NASA launched the 2001 Mars Odyssey Orbiter to the Red Planet almost 22 years ago, the spacecraft has looped around Mars more than 94,000 times. That’s about the equivalent of 2.21 billion kilometers (1.37 billion miles), a distance that has required extremely careful management of the spacecraft’s fuel supply. This feat is even more […]
When NASA’s Curiosity rover arrived at the “sulfate-bearing unit” last fall, scientists thought they’d seen the last evidence that lakes once covered this region of Mars. That’s because the rock layers here formed in drier settings than regions explored earlier in the mission. The area’s sulfates — salty minerals — are thought to have been left behind […]
NASA’s Perseverance celebrated its second anniversary on the surface of Mars on February 18. Since arriving at Jezero Crater in 2021, the six-wheeled, nuclear-powered rover has been examining geologic features and collecting samples of the Red Planet that are central to the first step of the NASA-ESA (European Space Agency) Mars Sample Return campaign. Scientists […]
NASA’s Perseverance rover cored and stored the first sample of the mission’s newest science campaign on Thursday, March 30, 2023. With each campaign, the team explores and studies a new area. On this campaign, the rover is exploring the top of Jezero Crater’s delta. Perseverance has collected a total of 19 samples and three witness […]
NASA scientists have strong evidence that Jupiter’s moon Europa has an internal ocean under its icy outer shell — an enormous body of salty water swirling around the moon’s rocky interior. New computer modeling suggests the water may actually be pushing the ice shell along, possibly speeding up and slowing down the rotation of the moon’s […]
An asteroid roughly the size of Rome’s Colosseum — between 100 to 200 meters (300 to 650 feet) in length — has been detected by an international team of European astronomers using NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. Their project used data from the calibration of the Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI), in which the team serendipitously detected an interloping […]
Researchers observing with NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope have pinpointed silicate cloud features in a distant planet’s atmosphere. The atmosphere is constantly rising, mixing, and moving during its 22-hour day, bringing hotter material up and pushing colder material down. The resulting brightness changes are so dramatic that it is the most variable planetary-mass object known […]