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Space exploration 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.

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.

Op-Ed: Jupiter’s moons give better chances in finding life than Mars

A new mission called JUICE may give better chances in finding life elsewhere in the Solar System as actual living organisms, compared to the desiccated and irradiated remnants of long dead microbes that scientists hope to find on the Red Planet

ESA’s new Biomass satellite to measure Earth’s precious resources

The European Space Agency (ESA) announced Monday, the selection of ‘Biomass’ as the subject of its seventh Earth Explorer mission. The planned satellite will measure, to great accuracy, biomass and carbon stored in the world’s forests.

Cassini spacecraft's startling images of massive Saturn hurricane

NASA has released some of the most breathtaking images yet from the Cassini-Huygens Saturn orbiter, showing a gigantic hurricane gyrating around Saturn’s north pole.

NASA’s PhoneSat mission using smartphones as low cost satellites

Wallops Island - Last Sunday NASA launched into Earth orbit three satellites in the shape of three smartphones likely to be the lowest cost satellites ever as part of NASA’s PhoneSat mission.

35 years on, is Voyager 1 bidding farewell to the Solar System?

On September 5 1977, NASA’s Voyager 1 left Cape Canaveral. Thirty-five years later, Voyager continues to transmit data back to Earth and may now, finally, have stepped beyond the perimeter of the Solar System.

Solar event gives prospect of spectacular auroras this weekend

Early yesterday morning NASA released details of an observed solar phenomenon, an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection with the potential to disrupt satellites and communications over the next one to three days.
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Space exploration Image

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
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
The ESA s Gaia satellite will measure the positions of a very large number of stars with unprecedent...
The ESA's Gaia satellite will measure the positions of a very large number of stars with unprecedented accuracy. The distances and motions of stars in the Milky Way will be determined with extraordinary precision, allowing astronomers to determine our Galaxy's 3-dimensional structure, space velocities of its constituent stars and, from these data, further our understanding of our Galaxy's origin and evolution.
European Space Agency - ESA Gaia Project
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
Comparing the size of the James Webb Space Telescope due for launch in 2018 with the Hubble Space Te...
Comparing the size of the James Webb Space Telescope due for launch in 2018 with the Hubble Space Telescope
Wikimedia Commons - Bobarino
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.
Untitled
NASA
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
Artists impression of Kepler Space Telescope
Artists impression of Kepler Space Telescope
NASA/JPL
A Falcon 9 rocket carrying a small science satellite for Canada is seen as it is launched from a new...
A Falcon 9 rocket carrying a small science satellite for Canada is seen as it is launched from a newly refurbished launch pad in Vandenberg Air Force Station
With permission by Reuters / Gene Blevins
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.
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
Happier days: A Sea Launch platform launch in 2009 putting an Italian SIRCAL satellite into geostati...
Happier days: A Sea Launch platform launch in 2009 putting an Italian SIRCAL satellite into geostationary orbit
Wikimedia Commons - via jurvetson on Flickr
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.
Ariane 5 solid booster is the main workhorse of the European Space Agency
Ariane 5 solid booster is the main workhorse of the European Space Agency
Tom Page
Panorama of the Swann Range of hills on lunar surface taken by Apollo 15 astronaut Jim Irwin with th...
Panorama of the Swann Range of hills on lunar surface taken by Apollo 15 astronaut Jim Irwin with the Hasselblad camera that is to be auctioned.
NASA
Herschel’s view of the Horsehead Nebula in the context of its surroundings. The image is a composi...
Herschel’s view of the Horsehead Nebula in the context of its surroundings. The image is a composite of the wavelengths of 70 microns (blue), 160 microns (green) and 250 microns (red), and covers 4.5x1.5 degrees. The image is oriented with northeast towards the left of the image and southwest towards the right.
ESA/Herschel/PACS, SPIRE/N. Schneider, Ph. André, V. Könyves (CEA Saclay, France) for the “Gould
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
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
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