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Solar system News

Life on Mars? Curiosity Rover finds biologically useful nitrogen

Pasadena - NASA scientists using instrumentation on board NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover have discovered nitrogen on the Martian surface for the first time.

Radar 'unclothes' planet Venus

Green Bank - As a planet, Venus, shrouded in thick clouds of carbon dioxide, doesn’t lend itself to visual observation. To lift the veil on Earth’s nearest planetary neighbor, spacecraft such as NASA’s Magellan probe use radar to penetrate Venus' clouds.

What you need to know about this breakthrough treatment of arthritis

British scientists have hailed the results of a new, experimental stem cell treatment for osteoarthritis as "astonishing."

When Mars had an ocean

Garching Bei M - Mars once hosted an ocean containing more water than the Arctic ocean. Not only that but this primitive Martian Sea covered a greater proportion of Mars’ surface than the Atlantic Ocean does on Earth.

When an iron rain fell on Earth

Not much is known about Earth’s “inner space” —its core — although scientists agree on one thing, much of the core consists of iron. But just how much iron is there remains the subject of debate.

Two unknown Earth-sized planets may be part of Solar System

Scientists tracking the orbits of objects on the extreme edge of our solar system believe that there is a good chance that two planets, at least as large as Earth may exist out there.

Dwarf planet is possible new source of life in our solar system

A potential new source of alien life in our own solar system will be explored by a NASA probe in March 2015. Scientists think that the so-called "dwarf planet," Ceres, could have the right conditions for life to exist and may even be habitable for humans.

NASA's Voyager 1 is riding a huge cosmic tsunami

NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft, the first and only object made by humanity to reach interstellar space is still riding a cosmic tsunami it hit in February, 2014.

NASA announces live coverage of European comet landing

Pasadena - NASA television will provide live coverage of the European Space Agency’s comet lander mission scheduled to touchdown on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Wednesday, Nov.12.

Saturn’s weird wobbly moon, Mimas

Ithaca - Saturn’s moon Mimas is already an oddity, being the most cratered object in the Solar System and likened to the Death Star of Star Wars fame. But new research this week points to Mimas being even weirder than previously thought.

Tectonics on Jupiter’s moon Europa — another similarity to Earth

Moscow - Planetary geologists report evidence that Jupiter’s moon Europa shows signs of plate tectonics, shaping and moulding the moon’s surface similar to geological activity on Earth.

ESA's Rosetta probe enters orbit at Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet

Paris - The European Space Agency’s (ESA) comet-chaser mission, already 10 years in transit, has rendezvoused with its target the 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko comet. The ESA Rosetta probe enters orbit around the comet today, Wednesday.

Saturn jumps in for a photobomb of the moon

Sydney - In a rare moment of celestial fun, the sixth planet from the sun decided to drop in for a photobomb of Earth's moon on Monday night.

NASA's Mars 2020 rover to unlock more Martian secrets

Washington - NASA’s successor to the Mars Curiosity rover will head to the red planet in 2020 carrying a payload of scientific instruments that will explore Mars as never before.

Divining sources of water on the Moon

Honolulu - Recent research that reviewed hundreds of chemical analyses of Moon rocks suggests regional variations in the amount of water in the Moon’s interior.

New radar images reveal what lies beneath Moon's surface

Charlottesville - A joint effort using the resources of two of the world’s largest radio telescopes has revealed previously unseen features deep below the surface of the Moon.

Fireball meteor explodes above Ontario and New York State

Peterborough - From Ontario to New York State, last Sunday, many people reported seeing a possible meteor streaking across the sky before exploding in a blinding fireball near Toronto.

Ice, liquid found on Jupiter's moon Ganymede, may harbor life

Think Mars is the ultimate life-harboring planet in our solar system? Think again. Recent findings from NASA indicate there may be life on not one, but two of Jupiter’s moons.

Galactic dark matter may account for Earth being hit by comets

Cambridge - Earth coming under bombardment by comets could be a regular astronomical event, suggest two Harvard University researchers in a recently published research paper.

Killer nuclear-level asteroids from space — but help is at hand

Seattle - How often do asteroids hit Earth? You may suppose such events occur more often in movies than real life, but you’d be wrong. This week, three astronauts revealed that Earth’s been pummelled 26 times by asteroids since the turn of the millennium.

Early risers can catch spectacular 'Blood Moon' lunar eclipse

Sky watchers across much of North America will get the chance to witness a total lunar eclipse for several hours on Tuesday, April 15 — but only if they rise early.

NASA's asteroid sample mission gets go-ahead

Littleton - An innovative NASA space mission with the ambitious aim of collecting samples from an asteroid in 2018 was given the green light, Wednesday.

Mercury getting smaller, say scientists

The smallest planet in the solar system is getting even smaller, according to findings by planetary geologists led by Paul Byrne of the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

IRIS eye on the sun spots biggest solar flare since 2013 launch

Greenbelt - At end January, NASA’s IRIS mission, which gathers data on the sun’s atmosphere, spotted its strongest solar flare since IRIS launched in summer 2013.

Mars Orbiter spots Star Trek logo in dunes on Mars

Tucson - This spooky image of dunes seemingly treading across the surface of Mars was acquired by the HiRISE camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Dec. 30, 2013.

Asteroid mission offers (nominal) immortality for all

Tucson - NASA and the Planetary Society have issued a global invitation to individuals to have their names etched on a microchip that will be on board a spacecraft launching in 2016. The spacecraft will rendezvous with the asteroid Bennu two years later.

European satellite Gaia will map 1 billion stars

Cayenne - The European Space Agency launched a new satellite, Thursday, which is expected to "boldly go where no satellite has gone before," providing the most accurate three-dimensional map of our part of the Milky Way.

Chance to spy Comet Lovejoy after comet ISON fizzles out

Kailua - Following the disappointment of Comet ISON, whose icy consistency melted away after its 730,000-mile brush with the sun, sky-watchers have the chance to catch a glimpse of Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) as it makes its solar approach.

Space debris from Monday's China moon launch wrecks houses

Xichang - Parts of China’s Long March rocket, launched on Monday to take China’s first moon rover into orbit, fell to Earth causing extensive damage to two houses.

Get set for comet Ison, comet of the century

Kingston Upon Hull - In January Digital Journal reported about comet ISON, discovered by Russian scientists in September 2012 and expected to be visible from Earth in 2013, so much so that it would be visible to the naked eye. That event is rapidly approaching.
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Artist s impression of Curiosity rover on the Martian surface
Artist's impression of Curiosity rover on the Martian surface
NASA/JPL-Caltech
Europa  Jupiter s ice covered satellite  as seen by the Galileo spacecraft. Europa is about 3 160 ki...
Europa, Jupiter's ice covered satellite, as seen by the Galileo spacecraft. Europa is about 3,160 kilometers (1,950 miles) in diameter, or about the size of Earth's moon. The image was taken on September 7, 1996, at a range of 677,000 kilometers.
Wikimedia Commons
The ESA and NASA Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) captured these images of the Sun spitting out...
The ESA and NASA Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) captured these images of the Sun spitting out a coronal mass ejection (CME) on March 15, 2013, from 3:24 to 4:00 a.m. EDT. This type of image is known as a coronagraph, since a disk is placed over the Sun to better see the dimmer atmosphere around it, called the corona.
ESA&NASA/SOHO
The orbits of planets in the Gliese 581 system are compared to those of our own solar system. The Gl...
The orbits of planets in the Gliese 581 system are compared to those of our own solar system. The Gliese 581 star has about 30 percent the mass of our Sun, and the outermost planet is closer to its star than the Earth is to the Sun. The 4th planet, G, is a planet that could sustain life.
Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation
The Solar System  including the objects in question during the IAU s recent planet definition debate...
The Solar System, including the objects in question during the IAU's recent planet definition debate : Ceres, Pluto-Charon, and Eris.
The International Astronomical Union/Martin Kornmesser
An artist s concept of the Oort cloud. Note that the distance scale is logarithmic. Compared to the ...
An artist's concept of the Oort cloud. Note that the distance scale is logarithmic. Compared to the size of planetary orbits, the Oort cloud is very far away. If the Sun passed within 2 light years of another sun-like star, the stars' Oort clouds would overlap and their comets would intermingle.
Image credit: ESO
Valles Marineris on Mars
Valles Marineris on Mars
ESA DLR Mars Express
The Mare Mare Serenitatis or Sea of Serenity on the Moon as it really is below layers of dust accumu...
The Mare Mare Serenitatis or Sea of Serenity on the Moon as it really is below layers of dust accumulated over billions of years.
Bruce Campbell (Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum); Arecibo/NAIC; NRAO/AUI/NSF
Viewed at 261 000 miles (419 000 kilometers) from Saturn  the vortex of a massive polar hurricane ar...
Viewed at 261,000 miles (419,000 kilometers) from Saturn, the vortex of a massive polar hurricane around Saturn's north pole.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
When the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft arrives at asteroid Bennu  it will study the asteroid from a distance...
When the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft arrives at asteroid Bennu, it will study the asteroid from a distance before swooping down and grabbing a sample. On board of the craft will be the names of everybody participating in the "Messages to Bennu!" campaign.
NASA/University of Arizona
An artist’s impression shows how Mars may have looked about four billion years ago. The young plan...
An artist’s impression shows how Mars may have looked about four billion years ago. The young planet Mars would have had enough water to cover its entire surface in a liquid layer about 140 metres deep, but it is more likely that the liquid would have pooled to form an ocean occupying almost half of Mars’s northern hemisphere, and in some regions reaching depths greater than 1.6 kilometers.
ESO/M. Kornmesser/N. Risinger (skysurvey.org)
Monday s launch of the Chang e-3 lunar mission took place at 1:30 am local time  from the Xichang Sa...
Monday's launch of the Chang'e-3 lunar mission took place at 1:30 am local time, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Sichuan Province,
Xinhua Official Chinese News Agency
Artist s impression of ESA s Rosetta comet chaser and lander
Artist's impression of ESA's Rosetta comet chaser and lander
Wikimedia Commons - By Rosetta_philae NASA derivative work
A hydrocarbon river near the north pole of Saturn moon Titan  photo taken by the Cassini spacecraft ...
A hydrocarbon river near the north pole of Saturn moon Titan, photo taken by the Cassini spacecraft on Sept. 26, 2012. The river valley stretches more than 200 miles from its ‘source’ to a large hydrocarbon sea.
NASA/JPL
A projection of the radar data of Venus collected in 2012. Striking surface features -- like mountai...
A projection of the radar data of Venus collected in 2012. Striking surface features -- like mountains and ridges -- are easily seen. The black diagonal band at the center represents areas too close to the Doppler “equator” to obtain well-resolved image data.
B. Campbell, Smithsonian, et al., NRAO/AUI/NSF, Arecibo
Artist’s illustration shows a planetary scale impact on the Moon
Artist’s illustration shows a planetary scale impact on the Moon
W.K. Hartmann via LLNL
Ceres in solar system
Ceres in solar system
UCIrvine
Dunes in an ancient Martian valley  Mawrth Vallis  remarkably similar in shape to the Star Trek logo...
Dunes in an ancient Martian valley, Mawrth Vallis, remarkably similar in shape to the Star Trek logo, appear to march across the surface of Mars.
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
V838 Mon  a star with an expanding gas shell  purported as photographic evidence of Nibiru
V838 Mon, a star with an expanding gas shell, purported as photographic evidence of Nibiru
NASA
Based on new evidence from Jupiter s moon Europa  astronomers hypothesize that chloride salts bubble...
Based on new evidence from Jupiter's moon Europa, astronomers hypothesize that chloride salts bubble up from the icy moon's global liquid ocean and reach the frozen surface where they are bombarded with sulfur from volcanoes on Jupiter's innermost large moon
NASA / JPL / Artist's concept