Nearly There: NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Being Readied for Sept. 8 Launch

An artist's rendering of OSIRIS-REx at asteroid 101955 Bennu. Image Credit: NASA

An artist’s rendering of OSIRIS-REx at asteroid 101955 Bennu. Image Credit: NASA

The last decade has proven to be watershed years for deep space exploration. While the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft proved a small lander could be set down upon a rocky comet, other missions including NASA’s Curiosity rover, Dawn, and New […]

'Weird Object' Discovered Beyond Neptune: A Clue in the Quest for Planet Nine?

The newly discovered object called Niku is a real oddity (artist's conception). It is also part of a group of many such objects far past Neptune in the outer Solar System. Image Credit: ESO/L. Calçada/Nick Risinger

The newly discovered object called Niku is a real oddity (artist’s conception). It is also part of a group of many such objects far past Neptune in the outer Solar System. Image Credit: ESO/L. Calçada/Nick Risinger

For the most part, the Solar System seems to be a rather well-ordered place; the planets, dwarf planets, […]

Back to the Moon? New House Bill Defunds NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission

Artist's conception of the Asteroid Redirect Mission. The new House bill directs NASA to bypass this mission and return to the Moon instead, before going to Mars. Image Credit: NASA

Artist’s conception of the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM). The new House bill directs NASA to bypass this mission and return to the Moon instead, before going to Mars. Image Credit: NASA

Sending human astronauts to Mars is a dream shared by many, but there are still challenges to overcome and the question of just […]

New Horizons Obtains New Images and Science Data of Post-Pluto Kuiper Belt Object

Image from New Horizons showing the small KBO called 1994 JR1, taken in April 2016. Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Image from New Horizons showing the small KBO called 1994 JR1, taken in April 2016. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

The New Horizons mission to Pluto has been nothing less than incredible, giving us our first close-up views of this enigmatic dwarf planet and its moons. But the show isn’t over yet, as the New Horizons […]

Calling All Artists: Send Your Artwork to Asteroid Bennu on NASA's OSIRIS-REx Mission

Artist's conception of OSIRIS-REx preparing to take a sample from the surface of Bennu. Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Chris Meaney

Artist’s conception of OSIRIS-REx preparing to take a sample from the surface of Bennu. Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Chris Meaney

This coming September, a new NASA spacecraft, OSIRIS-REx, will be heading toward an asteroid to collect samples which will later be brought back to Earth. This is the first time for such a sample return mission to an […]

Asteroid Visitor, Asteroid Orbiter, Asteroid Lander: 20 Years Since the Launch of NEAR Shoemaker

Asteroid 433 Eros, visited by the Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR)-Shoemaker during 1998-2001. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years ago, today, on 17 February 1996, NASA’s Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR)—a name later adjusted to honor the planetary scientist Gene Shoemaker—rocketed away from Launch Complex (LC)-17B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., aboard a venerable Delta […]

Is 'Planet 9' Really a Second Massive Kuiper Belt?

The Kupier Belt is a massive collection of dwarf planet and asteroid-sized worlds orbiting far past Neptune. Is the hypothetical Planet 9 really a second such belt? Image Credit: T. Pyle (SSC)/JPL-Caltech/NASA

The Kuiper Belt is a massive collection of dwarf planet- and asteroid-sized worlds orbiting far past Neptune. Is the hypothetical Planet 9 really a second such belt? Image Credit: T. Pyle (SSC)/JPL-Caltech/NASA

The announcement of a possible large ninth planet in our Solar System way beyond Neptune last month caused a lot of excitement, […]

Data From New Horizons Reveals More Water Ice on Pluto Than Previously Thought

False-color, infrared maps of Pluto from New Horizons, showing regular detection method of water ice on the left and the more sensitive technique on the right. Image Credit: NASA/JHUIAPL/SwRI

False-color, infrared maps of Pluto from New Horizons, showing regular detection method of water ice on the left and the more sensitive technique on the right. Image Credit: NASA/JHUIAPL/SwRI

New Horizons has shown Pluto to be a diverse world, more so than many scientists had anticipated, with tall mountain ranges, vast glaciers, a blue-colored […]

Has 'Planet X' Finally Been Found? A Cautionary Tale

Artist's conception of Planet Nine. Image Credit: Image: Caltech/R Hurt (IPAC)

Artist’s conception of Planet Nine. The new evidence is the best so far that a massive planet exists far past Neptune in the outer Solar System. Image Credit: Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)

For a long time now, there have been theories and rumors regarding the possible existence of another planet in our Solar System, far […]

Pluto's Large Nitrogen Ice 'Sea' Probably Formed from Giant Impact, Scientists Say

The vast ice plains of Sputnik Planum on Pluto. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

The vast ice plains of Sputnik Planum on Pluto. The basin, now filled with nitrogen ice, was probably created by a huge impact. Photo Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Instead of being little more than a frozen and unchanging rocky iceball, Pluto has been revealed to be a complex and dynamic little world, with mountains, valleys, vast icy […]