AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch SMAP on a Delta II 7320 rocket from Vandenberg AFB, CA
scheduled for:
30 Jan 15 14:20:42 GMT
30 Jan 15 6:20:42 PST
30 Jan 15 9:20:42 Eastern

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Kepler Discovers Three Super-Earth Exoplanets Orbiting Nearby Star

Cartoon illustration depicting how the three newly-found planets’ shadows (right side) can be seen as eclipses from Earth (left side) as they transit in front of their star. Image Credit: K. Teramura, UH IfA.

Last week was a good one for exoplanet enthusiasts, with yet more news relating to how other worlds are now […]

‘Long Lost' British Beagle 2 Mars Lander Found Intact by NASA Mars Orbiter

Beagle 2 Lander Observed by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter This annotated image from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows a bright feature interpreted as the United Kingdom’s Beagle 2 Lander, which was never heard from after its expected Dec. 25, 2003, landing. The image was taken by the orbiter’s HiRISE camera on Dec. 15, 2014. Credit: […]

Curiosity Gets Crystal-Rich Martian rock at ‘Mojave’ as First Drill Target of 2015

This view from the wide-angle Hazard Avoidance Camera on the front of NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover shows the rover’s drill in position for a mini-drill test to assess whether a rock target called “Mojave” is appropriate for full-depth drilling to collect a sample. It was taken on Jan. 13, 2015. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

A crystal-rich […]

Has Curiosity Found Evidence for Ancient Microbial Life on Mars? Maybe, Says Noted Geobiologist

Curiosity image from Yellowknife Bay, where the potential microbial mat features were first seen in sandstone rocks. Gillespie Lake Member is the series of flat rocks in the central-left area of the image. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

There is a report about Mars which has been getting a lot of attention the past few weeks (in […]

Kepler Confirms Over 1,000 Exoplanets, Finds More Potentially Habitable Worlds

Illustration of the eight newly verified exoplanets which are less than twice the size of Earth and orbit within their stars’ habitable zones. Image Credit: NASA/JPL

Even after problems threatened to end the Kepler space telescope’s mission for good last year, the planet-hunting observatory has continued to help astronomers discover thousands of exoplanets orbiting […]

Two New Exoplanet Findings Bring Us Closer to Discovering Other Earth-Like Worlds

Artist’s conception of a super-Earth ocean world, with another gas giant planet rising over the horizon. Image Credit: David A. Aguilar/CfA

When it comes to exoplanets, the most exciting for many people are, of course, the ones which may be the most Earth-like, since these are regarded as the most likely to possibly support some form […]

New Study Suggests Europa Is Far Less Geophysically Active Than Previously Thought

An artist’s impression of Jupiter and its moon Europa, based on actual visible light images. Last year, a team of astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope, had reported the detection of signs of water vapour being vented off Europa’s south pole. A new study comes to challenge this interpretation, by presenting evidence that Europa’s […]

Tilted Aquaplanets Might Still be Habitable, Study Suggests

Artist’s conception of an ocean-covered aquaplanet. Image Credit: Christine Daniloff/MIT

With so many exoplanets now being discovered on a regular basis by astronomers, the focus has turned to what number of them might be habitable for some kind of life. For life as we know it at least, that depends on a number of […]

Rosetta Team Focusing on Upcoming Comet and Lander Science, Planning Ultra Close Flyby

From the location where it came to rest after bounces, the Philae lander of the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission captured this view of a cliff on the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The feature is called “Perihelion Cliff.” The image is from the lander’s CIVA camera. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

The team guiding Europe’s history-making Rosetta […]

Kepler Finds 'Super-Earth' Exoplanet in First Discovery of New Mission

Artist’s conception of super-Earth HIP 116454b. Image Credit: David A. Aguilar (CfA)

The Kepler space telescope has found its first new exoplanet, a “super-Earth,” of its secondary mission phase. The discovery adds to a current tally of 996 confirmed exoplanets and 4,183 planetary candidates already found by the revolutionary planet-hunting telescope.

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