News from Space

                              NASA has changed the perspective of science, building satellites to study Earth’s surface. Deep below that surface, where it’s harder for satellites to see, is another story — but robotic technology might change that. NASA roboticists are exploring moulins, places where […]
                            NASA ground controllers have begun checking out and commissioning a shoebox-sized spacecraft that the agency purposely built to show that CubeSat platforms could be cost-effective, reliable, and capable of gathering highly robust science. The Dellingr spacecraft will begin science operations once […]
Artistic impression of the Moon, looking over the Imbrium Basin, with lavas erupting, venting gases, and producing a visible atmosphere. Credit: NASA MSFC. Looking up at the Moon at night, Earth’s closest neighbor appears in shades of gray and white; a dry desert in the vacuum of space, inactive and dead for billions of years. […]
This inner slope of a martian crater has several of the seasonal dark streaks called “recurrent slope lineae” (RSL) that a November 2017 report interprets as granular flows, rather than darkening due to flowing water. The image is from the HiRISE camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UA/USGS. Dark features on Mars previously considered […]
Artist’s concept of Japan’s Mars Moons eXploration (MMX) spacecraft, carrying a NASA instrument to study the martian moons Phobos and Deimos. Credit: JAXA/NASA. NASA has selected a science instrument for an upcoming Japan-led sample return mission to the moons of Mars planned for launch in 2024. The instrument, a sophisticated neutron and gamma-ray spectrograph, will […]
A rover crawls over a slope in Spain’s Canary Island of Lanzarote, also known as the island of a thousand volcanos. This rover is taking part in a test campaign that brings together geology, high-tech survey equipment, and space exploration. Credit: ESA–H. Stevenin. A mini-rover, tools once used on the Moon, and lasers for three-dimensional […]
Artist’s concept of interstellar asteroid 1I/2017 U1 (‘Oumuamua) as it passed through the solar system after its discovery in October 2017. The aspect ratio of up to 10:1 is unlike that of any object seen in our own solar system. Credits: European Southern Observatory/M. Kornmesser. Astronomers recently scrambled to observe an intriguing asteroid that zipped […]
This image shows dwarf planet Ceres as seen by NASA’s Dawn mission. The map overlaid at right shows in Ceres’ gravity field measured by Dawn. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA. Minerals containing water are widespread on Ceres, suggesting the dwarf planet may have had a global ocean in the past. What became of that ocean? Could Ceres still […]
Asteroid 2012 TC4 appears as a dot at the center of this composite of 37 individual 50-second exposures obtained on August 6, 2017 by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope located in the Atacama Desert region of Chile. The asteroid is marked with a circle for a better identification. The individual images have been shifted […]
Heat from friction could power hydrothermal activity on Saturn’s moon Enceladus for billions of years if the moon has a highly porous core, according to a new modeling study by European and U.S. researchers working on NASA’s Cassini mission. The study, published today in the journal Nature Astronomy, helps resolve a question scientists have grappled […]
The super-Earth exoplanet 55 Cancri e, depicted with its star in this artist’s concept, likely has an atmosphere thicker than Earth’s but with ingredients that could be similar to those of Earth’s atmosphere. Twice as big as Earth, the super-Earth 55 Cancri e was thought to have lava flows on its surface. The planet is so close to its […]
This artist’s rendering shows a large exoplanet causing small bodies to collide in a disk of dust. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. There’s no map showing all the billions of exoplanets hiding in our galaxy — they’re so distant and faint compared to their stars, it’s hard to find them. Now, astronomers hunting for new worlds have established a […]
Swift’s Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope imaged the kilonova produced by merging neutron stars in the galaxy NGC 4993 (inset box) on August 18, 2017, about 15 hours after gravitational waves and the gamma-ray burst were detected. The source was unexpectedly bright in ultraviolet light. It faded rapidly and was undetectable in UV when Swift looked again on August 29. This false-color […]