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Space exploration News

NASA Dawn mission reveals dwarf planet Ceres with crystal clarity

Pasadena - The latest images of Ceres, taken by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, show sections of this mysterious dwarf planet in breathtaking detail.

NASA is going to light up the night sky with vapor tracers

NASA will be putting on a light show Wednesday night using a barium and strontium lasers to test the viability of some new rocket tech, and to get a glimpse at naturally occurring ion flows.

NASA confirms discovery of exoplanet 21 light years away

Pasadena - NASA announced in a press release on July 30th that they had found the closest rocky planet outside our solar system. It's only 21 light years away.

Martian meteorites provide intriguing hints of life on Mars

Aberdeen - A further clue in the search for life on Mars has emerged after a team of scientists discovered traces of methane in Martian meteorites.

NASA’s Cassini's last fly-by of Saturn’s weird moon Hyperion

Pasadena - NASA’s Cassini spacecraft makes what will be its last close approach to Saturn’s oddly shaped moon, Hyperion, today, Sunday, May 31.

Sounding out Mars: NASA starts trials for next lander mission

Pasadena - Trials have now started on NASA’s next piece of Mars wizardry, a stationary lander scheduled to head off to the Red Planet, March 2016.

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.

Hubble telescope's high def images of iconic Pillars of Creation

Greenbelt - After a stuttering start before repairs to an out-of-focus lens enabled astronomers to realise the Hubble Space Telescope’s full potential, Hubble has returned a multitude of spectacular images, allowing us to see the Universe as never before seen.

NASA working to make Venus atmosphere humanity's next home

It isn't the rocky cold surface of Mars that could be humanity's next home. A NASA project wants to make Venus's atmosphere humanity's next home.

Astronomers could soon find squished out exoplanets

Fairfax - A group of American researchers suggest astronomers could soon discover exoplanets — planets orbiting other stars — so deformed by gravity that they appear stretched out.

'Beam me to Mars' event celebrates 50 years of Mars exploration

Man's exploration of Mars started on Nov. 5, 1964 with the launch of the ill-fated Mariner 3 spacecraft. When it died after almost nine hours in flight, Mariner 4 was launched on Nov. 28. It was the first spacecraft to successfully make a flyby of Mars.

ESA selects name for landing site on 'smelly' comet

Berne - The projected landing site where the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta comet lander is due to make comet-fall next week now has a name.

Russia announces 'full-scale Moon exploration' by early 2030s

Moscow - Officials with the Russian Federal Space Agency have announced plans to begin full-scale Moon exploration within the next 15 to 20 years.

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.

Rosetta comet probe team narrows landing site to five locations

The European Space Agency's Rosetta Comet mission has chosen five likely landing sites for its Philae's lander on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The lander is scheduled to descend down to the comet's nucleus in November.

Astronomy: Radio waves key to tracking down elusive exomoons

Arlington - Hardly a week passes these days without scientists and astronomers reporting on the discovery of a new exoplanet — a planet outwith our solar system.

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.

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.

Astronomy: Most precise measurement of exoplanet to date

Pasadena - Aided by two NASA telescopes, astronomers have made the most precise calculation yet of the size of an exoplanet — a planet outwith our solar system.

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.

Astronomers solve decades old celestial archaeology mystery

Leicester - New research from an international team of astronomers from the UK's University of Leicester and the University of Arizona sheds light on how stars reaching the end of their useful life and collapsing in on themselves become polluted.

Mars One and Uwingu join in launching Mars Crater Naming Project

Mars One, a not-for-profit foundation working to establish the world's first human settlement on the planet Mars, has partnered with Uwingu, a company with the primary mission of creating a personal connection between the world and space exploration.

We may go to Jupiter by 2025 and find life there

NASA hopes to launch a mission to Jupiter's moon Europa, the solar system's most likely heavenly body to hold alien life, by 2025.

ESA's new Plato planet hunter will examine a million star systems

Warwick - The European Space Agency announced Wednesday that a new space-based observatory to search for planets orbiting alien stars will form the third plank of the ESA’s medium-class (M-class) science missions.

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.

China: Chang'e 3 and 'Jade Rabbit' landing 'a complete success'

Beijing - China has declared its Chang'e -3 lunar landing “a complete success” after the exploration robot Yutu (Jade Rabbit) and its mother ship photographed each other and sent the images to Earth.

India's Mars Orbiter leaves Earth orbit heading for Red Planet

Bangalore - India’s Mangalyaan Mars Orbiter spacecraft left Earth orbit early Sunday, at the start of a 300-day trek, covering 680 million kilometers (425 million miles), to Mars.

Remarkable footage of Red Planet marks 10 years of Mars Express

Cologne - As the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter approaches the tenth anniversary of arrival in orbit at the Red Planet, the ESA has assembled a fascinating topographical ‘fly-by’ of Mars.

Op-Ed: NASA, plutonium and a tale of systemic mistakes

Sydney - Plutonium 238 is the fuel for Voyager as it leaves the solar system, and for many other space missions. The trouble is that the fuel is out of fashion, not being made for years, and the remaining stock is already mortgaged for other uses.
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Panoramic View From  Rocknest  Position of Curiosity Mars Rover:
A mosaic of images taken by the Mas...
Panoramic View From 'Rocknest' Position of Curiosity Mars Rover: A mosaic of images taken by the Mast Camera on NASA Mars rover Curiosity while the rover was working at a site called "Rocknest" in October & November 2012.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems
A false-color image from NASA s Cassini mission highlights the storms at Saturn s north pole. The ey...
A false-color image from NASA's Cassini mission highlights the storms at Saturn's north pole. The eye of a hurricane-like storm appears dark red while the fast-moving hexagonal jet stream framing it is a yellowish green.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI
Illustration of CheMin dual-cell geometry. Exploded view of dual-cell assembly showing windows  tuni...
Illustration of CheMin dual-cell geometry. Exploded view of dual-cell assembly showing windows, tuning-fork assembly, and piezodriver (left). Assembled cell, ready for testing in testbed (right).
JPL NASA
This annotated image depicts four of the five potential landing sites for the Rosetta mission s Phil...
This annotated image depicts four of the five potential landing sites for the Rosetta mission's Philae lander.
NASA/JPL-Caltech / Image by ESA/Rosetta/MPS
Artist s impression of the stationary NASA Mars lander  known by the acronym InSight  studying the i...
Artist's impression of the stationary NASA Mars lander, known by the acronym InSight, studying the interior of Mars. The InSight mission (for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) is scheduled to launch in March 2016, landing on Mars 6 months later.
NASA/JPL-Caltech
An artist s impression of exoplanet GJ 1214b. Researchers used the Hubble Space Telescope to reveal ...
An artist's impression of exoplanet GJ 1214b. Researchers used the Hubble Space Telescope to reveal cloudy weather on alien world.
NASA, ESA, & G. Bacon/STScI, STScI-PRC14-06
The heliospheric current sheet results from the influence of the Sun s rotating magnetic field on th...
The heliospheric current sheet results from the influence of the Sun's rotating magnetic field on the plasma in the interplanetary medium (solar wind). The wavy spiral shape has been likened to a ballerina's skirt.
NASA - Werner Heil
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
This image is an artist s conception of the binary system WISE J104915.57-531906 with the Sun in the...
This image is an artist's conception of the binary system WISE J104915.57-531906 with the Sun in the background
Credit: Janella Williams, Penn State University.
Envisat image features a cloud-free France acquired this image on 15 August 2009.
Envisat image features a cloud-free France acquired this image on 15 August 2009.
European Space Agency
The range of Hasselblad cameras used on Apollo missions to the moon. The Hasselblad to be auctioned ...
The range of Hasselblad cameras used on Apollo missions to the moon. The Hasselblad to be auctioned, used on the Apollo 15 mission is similar to that shown bottom right.
NASA/Lunar and Planetary Institute.
This rendering shows the size of GJ 1214b and another  larger exoplanet compared to Earth and Neptun...
This rendering shows the size of GJ 1214b and another, larger exoplanet compared to Earth and Neptune. Researchers used the Hubble Space Telescope to reveal cloudy weather on the alien world of GJ 1214b.
NASA & ESA
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
Diagramatic showing location of Horsehead Nebula in relation to surrounding objects
Diagramatic showing location of Horsehead Nebula in relation to surrounding objects
ESA / Herschel
Artist s impression of possible wandering exoplanet designated CFBDSIR2149
Artist's impression of possible wandering exoplanet designated CFBDSIR2149
European Southern Observatory
Artists impression of Kepler Space Telescope
Artists impression of Kepler Space Telescope
NASA/JPL
A schematic of a plasma torus around an exoplanet  which is created by the ions injected from an exo...
A schematic of a plasma torus around an exoplanet, which is created by the ions injected from an exomoon's ionosphere into the planet's magnetosphere.
University of Texas at Arlington
The diagram shows the locations of star systems closest to our Sun along with dates of discovery.The...
The diagram shows the locations of star systems closest to our Sun along with dates of discovery.The binary system WISE J104915.57-531906 is the third nearest system to the Sun, and the closest one found in a century.
Credit: Janella Williams, Penn State University.
This image of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko shows the diversity of surface structures on the comet...
This image of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko shows the diversity of surface structures on the comet's nucleus. It was taken by the Rosetta spacecraft's navigation camera on August 7, 2014. At the time, the spacecraft was 65 miles (104 kilometers) away from the 2.5 mile (4 kilometer) wide nucleus.
NASA/JPL-Caltech / Image by ESA/Rosetta/MPS
An artist’s impression of a stretched rocky planet in orbit around a red dwarf star. So close to t...
An artist’s impression of a stretched rocky planet in orbit around a red dwarf star. So close to the star, there is a difference in the strength of the gravitational field on each side of the planet, stretching it significantly.
Royal Astronomical Society - Shivam Sikroria.