Pale Red Dot: Astronomers Discover Potentially Habitable Exoplanet Orbiting Nearest Star

Artist's conception of what Proxima b might look like. It is just slightly more massive than Earth and orbits in its star's habitable zone. Temperatures might allow liquid water to exist on its surface. A potentially habitable world, it is also now the closest known exoplanet. Image Credit:
ESO/M. Kornmesser

Artist’s conception of what Proxima b might look like. It is just slightly more massive than Earth and orbits in its star’s habitable zone. Temperatures might allow liquid water to exist on its surface. A potentially habitable world, it is also now the closest known exoplanet. Image Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

Astronomers today announced one […]

NASA's Europa Mission Facing Possible Budget Cuts in 2017

Artist's conception of the Europa Clipper spacecraft near Europa. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Artist’s conception of the Europa Clipper spacecraft near Europa. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

For a long time now, there has been growing interest in sending a mission back to Jupiter to better study one moon in particular: Europa. Previous missions such as Voyager and Galileo showed us this world up close for the first time, […]

Viking Remembered: Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the First Search for Life on Mars

Painting of a Viking lander on Mars, prior to launch. Image Credit: Charles Bennett/Lockheed Martin (Martin Marietta)

Iconic painting of a Viking lander on Mars, prior to launch. The sampling arm reaches into the foreground. Image Credit: Charles Bennett/Lockheed Martin (Martin Marietta)

July 20, 1976, will be forever remembered by space enthusiasts. On that day, Viking 1 became the first U.S. spacecraft to land on another planet—in this case, Mars (the USSR Venera […]

Astronomers Image Massive Exoplanet in Triple-Star System

Artist's conception of the star system HD 131399, with the planet HD 131399Ab in the foreground. Image Credit: Credit:
ESO/L. Calçada/M. Kornmesser

Artist’s conception of the star system HD 131399, with the planet HD 131399Ab in the foreground. Image Credit:ESO/L. Calçada/M. Kornmesser

Over the past couple decades, astronomers have been discovering a seemingly endless variety of exoplanets orbiting other stars. Some are rather similar to planets in our own Solar System, while others are more like […]

Does Pluto Have a Subsurface Ocean? New Research Says Probably

The discovery of huge faults on Pluto provides evidence for a possible liquid water ocean beneath the ice crust. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

The discovery of huge faults on Pluto provides evidence for a possible liquid water ocean beneath the ice crust. Photo Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

So-called “waterworlds” have been found to be surprisingly common in the Solar System—small icy moons which have ice crusts but oceans of liquid water below the surface. These include Jupiter’s moons Europa and […]

New Worlds Galore: Kepler Space Telescope Confirms 1,284 More Exoplanets

Artist's conception of the many different exoplanets which have been discovered by Kepler so far. Image Credit: NASA/W. Stenzel

Artist’s conception of the many different exoplanets that have been discovered by Kepler so far. Image Credit: NASA/W. Stenzel

For several years now the Kepler Space Telescope, as well as other telescopes, has been discovering an increasing number of exoplanets, with over 2,000 such confirmed worlds found so far (and nearly 5,000 candidates). Today, NASA […]

Evidence from Curiosity Rover Shows Mars Once Had Oxygen-Rich Atmosphere

Mars' atmosphere is thin, dry and cold now, but it used to be thicker and contained a lot more oxygen. Image Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

Mars’ atmosphere is thin, dry, and cold now, but it used to be thicker and contained a lot more oxygen. Image Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

Mars’ atmosphere is thin and cold, composed primarily of carbon dioxide along with other trace gases and some water vapor. Evidence has continued to mount, however, that the rarified atmosphere […]

Ten Years at Mars: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Celebrates a Decade of Discovery

Illustration of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) as it entered orbit ten years ago. Image Credit: NASA/JPL

Illustration of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) as it entered orbit ten years ago. Image Credit: NASA/JPL

The Martian rover Opportunity has become famous for its amazing longevity, but it is not the only one; orbiting spacecraft also usually enjoy long lifespans, and today the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is celebrating its 10th year exploring Mars from […]

New Study Suggests Mars' Ancient Surface Shifted and Tilted Due to True Polar Wander

A view of Mars showing the expansive Valles Marineris (center), which is the largest canyons system in the entire Solar System. Three of the four giant shield volcanoes that constitue the massive Tharsis region are seen at far left. A new study by an international team of planetary scientists has provided evidence that the formation of Tharsis had profound effects in the shaping of Mars' geomorphology and climate, ultimately tilting the surface by as much as 20 degrees relative to planet's axis of rotation. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

A view of Mars showing the expansive Valles Marineris (center), which is the largest canyons system in the entire Solar System. Three of the four giant shield volcanoes that constitue the massive Tharsis region are seen at far left. A new study by an international team of planetary scientists has provided evidence that the […]

Hubble Space Telescope Analyzes Atmosphere of Super-Earth Exoplanet for First Time

Artist's  conception of 55 Cancri e. Image Credit: ESA/Hubble, M. Kornmesser

Artist’s conception of 55 Cancri e, a searingly hot, carbon-rich world. Image Credit: ESA/Hubble, M. Kornmesser

Exoplanets are now being discovered by the thousands, but most are so far away that determining anything specific about their composition or atmosphere is currently very difficult. But technology keeps advancing, and scientists are now starting to be […]