On Course to the Stars: James Webb Space Telescope Shaping Up for 2018 Launch

From ESA: “This image shows two polished test mirror segments being inspected by an optical engineer: one segment with the gold coating already applied, the other without. In the meantime, the coating of all 18 mirrors has been completed.” Photo Credit: NASA/C. Gunn

While the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) recently celebrated 25 years in […]

Gemini Planet Imager Finds Its First Exoplanet, a Methane-Rich 'Young Jupiter'

Discovery image of the exoplanet 51 Eridani b taken by the Gemini Planet Imager on December 21 2014. Image Credit:  J. Rameau (UdeM)/C. Marois (NRC Herzberg)

Discovery near-infrared image of the exoplanet 51 Eridani b taken by the Gemini Planet Imager on Dec. 21, 2014. The relative size of Saturn’s orbit is also shown for comparison. Image Credit: Gemini Observatory/J. Rameau (UdeM)/C. Marois (NRC Herzberg)

The Gemini Planet Imager, a new telescopic instrument designed to find, image, and study faint, young planets orbiting bright stars, has discovered its first exoplanet: a young Jupiter-like planet called 51 Eridani b which orbits […]

A Perfect Day for Sunbathing: A Year After Its Arrival, Rosetta Observes Comet 67P at Perihelion

From ESA: “This series of images of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko was captured by Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera on 12 August 2015, just a few hours before the comet reached the closest point to the Sun along its 6.5-year orbit, or perihelion.” The center image shows a significant outburst. Image Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

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Potential Landing Sites for Mars 2020 Rover Narrowed Down to Eight Locations

Map of the eight proposed landing sites for the Mars 2020 Rover. Image Credit: NASA/MOLA Science Team

NASA’s next Mars rover is due to launch in July or August 2020, and the number of potential landing sites has now been narrowed down by scientists to eight locations. Out of an initial list of 21 […]

New Study Traces Dark Near-Earth Asteroids Back to Oddball Asteroid Family

Time-lapse view of the asteroid Euphrosyne as seen by NASA's WISE spacecraft on May 17, 2010. WISE was later renamed to NEOWISE in 2013. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Time-lapse view of the asteroid Euphrosyne as seen by NASA’s WISE spacecraft on May 17, 2010. WISE was later renamed to NEOWISE in 2013. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Near-Earth asteroids, also known as Near Earth Objects (NEOs), are some of the best studied space rocks in the Solar System, primarily due to the fact that […]

Philae's First Science Results Highlight an Unexpected Cometary World

From ESA: "This well-lit image was acquired by Philae’s CIVA camera 4 at the final landing site Abydos, on the small lobe of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, on 13 November 2014. The image shows one of the CONSERT antennas in the foreground, which seems to be in contact with the nucleus." CIVA's seven cameras captured images of Philae's position at its final landing site, Abydos. Image Credit: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

From ESA: “Zooming in to a portion of the fractured cliff face imaged by CIVA camera 4 reveals brightness variations in the comet’s surface properties down to centimetre and millimetre scales. The dominant constituents are very dark conglomerates, likely made of organics. The brighter spots could represent mineral grains, perhaps even pointing to ice-rich […]

Muddy Mars: New Evidence for Liquid Water Flows Within Past Million Years

Illustration of debris flows inside Istok crater on Mars, which have provided evidence of large amounts of flowing water and mud in the past. The flows are very similar to ones on Earth in Arctic regions such as Iceland. Image Credit: Nature Communications

The fact that Mars used to have large amounts of liquid […]

Sinkholes on Titan: New Study Shows How Hydrocarbon Lakes May Form by Earth-Like Erosion

Wider view of lakes and seas near Titan's north pole. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/USGS

Colored mosaic of lakes near Titan’s north pole. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/USGS

Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, has seas and lakes of liquid methane and ethane dotting its surface, but one question scientists have been trying to figure out is how the hollows in the ground, which hold the lakes, form to begin with. Now, a […]

Methane Discovered in Martian Meteorites: A Clue to Possible Life?

Methane has been discovered in some meteorites originating from Mars. Could it be a clue to life? Image Credit: Image by Michael Helfenbein

Methane has been discovered in some meteorites originating from Mars. Could it be a clue to life? Image Credit: Michael Helfenbein

The puzzle of methane on Mars has taken an interesting new twist: For the first time, the gas has been detected within Martian meteorites. The finding adds another layer to the ongoing controversy over […]

Alien Ocean: All Systems Go for New NASA Mission to Europa

Artist's conception of the Europa Clipper during a flyby of Europa. Image Credit: NASA

Artist’s conception of the Europa Clipper during a flyby of Europa. Image Credit: NASA

After many years of people hoping and waiting, NASA has announced that a new mission to Europa has successfully completed its first major review by the agency and now is entering the development phase, known as formulation. In other words, […]