Goodbye Kepler, Hello TESS: New Satellite in the Search for Distant Planets

Imagined view from Kepler-10b, a planet that orbits one of the 150,000 stars that the Kepler spacecraft is monitoring. NASA/Kepler Mission/Dana Berry, CC BY When NASA first started planning the Kepler mission, no one knew if the universe held any planets outside our solar system. Thousands of exoplanets later, the search enters a new phase. By Dr. Jason Steffen / 04.09.2018 Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy[…]

Stephen Hawking: A Life of Success against All Odds

By Dr. Martin Rees / 03.14.2018 Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics University of Cambridge Soon after I enrolled as a graduate student at Cambridge University in 1964, I encountered a fellow student, two years ahead of me in his studies, who was unsteady on his feet and spoke with great difficulty. This was Stephen[…]

Water Has Been Discovered on Mars and May Accelerate Human Exploration

Huge ice sheets discovered on Mars could mean human exploration of the planet is closer than scientists had thought. (Science Photo Library RF/Getty Images) Scientists believe the ice layers and water are the result of accumulated snow. By Alexa Lardieri / 01.12.2018 Large sheets of ice have been discovered just below Mars’ surface, leading scientists to[…]

Incredible Photos of Jupiter from NASA’s Jupiter Probe

Image from NASA By Azriel ReShel / 11.09.2017 All photos credit NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran Witness the Beauty of this Great Gas Giant NASA’s Juno probe has sent thrilling images of Jupiter back to Earth, the largest planet in the solar system. The fresh close-up images of Jupiter share unbelievable views of a hidden world. This is[…]

A Look Back at Cassini’s Incredible Mission to Saturn before Final Plunge into the Planet

An illustration of Cassini diving between Saturn and the planet’s innermost ring. NASA/JPL-Caltech By Dr. Tanya Hill / 09.04.2017 Honorary Fellow, University of Melbourne Senior Curator, Astronomy Museums Victoria The Cassini space probe mission came to an end this month when the probe made its final destructive plunge in to Saturn. It spent the past thirteen years studying the planet,[…]

Life on Earth is Used to Gravity – So What Happens to Our Cells and Tissues in Space?

Look ma, no gravity! / NASA By Andy Tay / 03.09.2017 PhD Candidate in Bioengineering University of California, Los Angeles There’s one force whose effects are so deeply entrenched in our everyday lives that we probably don’t think much about it at all: gravity. Gravity is the force that causes attraction between masses. It’s why[…]

Solar System with Seven Planets, Three Earth-Like: Here’s What They Could be Like

Artist’s impression of what the view might be like from the surface of the exoplanet TRAPPIST-1f. NASA/JPL-Caltech By Dr. David Rothery / 02.22.2017 Professor of Planetary Geosciences The Open University There have been many discoveries of potentially habitable planets orbiting stars other than our own over the last few years. Now things are getting even[…]

SmallSat Revolution: Tiny Satellites Poised to Make Big Contributions to Essential Science

Tiny CubeSats are ready to be our eyes in the skies. Earth Background: NASA; HARP Spacecraft: SDL; Montage: Martins, UMBC By Dr. J. Vanderlei Martins / 01.26.2017 Professor of Physics University of Maryland, Baltimore County Tiny satellites, some smaller than a shoe box, are currently orbiting around 200 miles above Earth, collecting data about our[…]

Remembering Gene Cernan

“We leave as we came, and, God willing, we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind.” — Cernan’s closing words on leaving the moon at the end of Apollo 17 Eugene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, died Monday, Jan. 16, surrounded by his family. Photo gallery of Eugene Cernan[…]

NASA Turns Eyes to Stellar and Supermassive Black Holes, Neutrons Stars, and Pulsars

01.03.2017 NASA has selected a science mission that will allow astronomers to explore, for the first time, the hidden details of some of the most extreme and exotic astronomical objects, such as stellar and supermassive black holes, neutron stars and pulsars. Objects such as black holes can heat surrounding gases to more than a million[…]

It’s Been a Turbulent Start, but Juno is Now Delivering Spectacular Insights into Jupiter

Jupiter’s South Pole, as seen by NASA’s Juno spacecraft on August 27 2016. Credit: NASA/SwRI/MSSS, processed by R. Tkachenko By Dr. Leigh Fletcher / 12.05.2016 Royal Society Research Fellow University of Leicester There was much excitement when the Juno spacecraft successfully arrived at Jupiter in July, after a five-year journey through the solar system. A[…]

Revolutions in Understanding the Ionosphere, Earth’s Interface to Space

Earth’s limb at night, seen from the International Space Station, with air glow visual composited into the image. / NASA By Sarah Frazier / 12.14.2016 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Scientists from NASA and three universities have presented new discoveries about the way heat and energy move and manifest in the ionosphere, a region of[…]

NASA’s First Flight With Crew Will Mark Important Step on Journey to Mars

12.01.2016 When astronauts are on their first test flight aboard NASA’s Orion spacecraft, which will take them farther into the solar system than humanity has ever traveled before, their mission will be to confirm all of the spacecraft’s systems operate as designed in the actual environment of deep space. After an Orion test campaign that includes[…]

From Monterey Bay to Europa

JPL’s Steve Chien with several of the underwater drones used in a research project earlier this year. Chien, along with his research collaborators, are developing artificial intelligence for these drones. / Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech If you think operating a robot in space is hard, try doing it in the ocean. Saltwater can corrode your robot and[…]

Supermoons are Big and Bright, but Not as Rare as the Hype Would Suggest

Enjoy the full moon’s glow. mstollenwerk By Dr. Christopher Palma / 11.08.2016 Senior Lecturer and Associate Department Head for Undergraduate Programs in Astronomy and Astrophysics Pennsylvania State University As an observational astronomer who teaches students about the behavior of the moon, I’m thankful for anything that inspires people to go out and look at the[…]

NASA Small Satellites Set to Take a Fresh Look at Earth

NASA is about to launch six new next-generation Earth-observing small satellites — some as small as a loaf of bread. These tiny spacecraft are helping to foster creative and cost-effective approaches to studying our planet. / Credits: NASA Beginning this month, NASA is launching a suite of six next-generation, Earth-observing small satellite missions to demonstrate[…]

Measuring a Day

Wikimedia Commons 11.03.2016 Humans sometimes struggle to adjust to Daylight Saving Time, but just measuring the exact length of a Saturn day is one of the big challenges for scientists on NASA’s Cassini mission. Over more than a decade in Saturn orbit, Cassini’s instruments have wrestled with confusing measurements to determine the planet’s precise rotation rate.[…]