AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch GPS IIF-7 on a Atlas V 401 rocket from Cape Canaveral AFB, FL
scheduled for:
2 Aug 14 3:23:00 GMT
1 Aug 14 23:23:00 EDT

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Of Alien Life and Intelligence: Angels and Demons (Part 2)

Looking up at the night sky we have mostly imagined other intelligent civilisations in the Universe as being either humanity’s entirely benevolent, wise teachers or its malevolent conquerers. How possible is it to make contact with just such types of civilisations? Image Credit: ESO/B. Tafreshi

“Life, even cellular life, may exist out yonder in [...]

Of Alien Life and Intelligence: The Limits of Perception (Part 1)

The Very Large Array of radiotelescopes in Socorro, N.M. Radiotelescopes are being used for more than half a century in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Is this means of communication also employed by other intelligent civilisations, and, if so, could we understand and perceive their presence? Image courtesy of NRAO/AUI and Photographer Kelly Gatlin; [...]

Searching for Our Birthplace in the Galaxy: Astronomers Discover Potential Solar 'Sibling'

A visible image of the star HD 162826 (at right) in the constellation of Hercules, taken from the Digitized Sky Survey (DSS). A new study has identified the star as a being a solar sibling, thought to have been formed inside the same interstellar gas cloud that also gave birth to the Sun. Image [...]

Buried in the Deep: Could Water Ice Deposits on the Moon Generate Their Own Organic Compounds?

A high-definition image of the Earth rising above the Moon’s south pole, taken from Japan’s Kaguya lunar orbiter in 2007. Permanently shadowed craters near the lunar polar regions have been found to harbor water ice deposits and organic compounds. Could these organics be composed in-situ inside the bottoms of these craters? Image Credit: JAXA

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MESSENGER Completes 3,000 Orbits Around Mercury, Enters Final Year of Operations

An enchanced-color image of Mercury taken by MESSENGER, following its first flyby of the planet in January 2008. The spacecraft has recently entered its last year of operations, conducting more than 3,000 orbits around the planet, while transmitting more than 200,000 images back to Earth. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution [...]

Between the Planet and the Star: A New Ultra-Cold, Sub-Stellar Object Discovered Close to Sun

An artist’s depiction of the newly discovered WISE J085510.83-071442.5, the coldest known brown dwarf candidate, located 7.2 light-years from the Sun. Image Credit: Penn State University/NASA/JPL-Caltech

Contrary to the human need for organising objects in well-defined and distinct categories, our Solar System seems to be replete with celestial objects that defy our tidy definitions [...]

'Repairing Hubble' Showcases Space Telescope's Components on Anniversary

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope was photographed by Space Shuttle Discovery’s IMAX Cargo Bay Camera being deployed on April 25, 1990. Photo Credit: NASA

On Wednesday, April 23, Washington, D.C.’s Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum observed the 24th anniversary of NASA/ESA’s Hubble Space Telescope’s launch into orbit by unveiling “Repairing Hubble.” This new [...]

Studying the Light of Alien Atmospheres With NESSI

A new multi-object, near-infrared spectrograph, installed on the Magdalena Ridge Observatory’s 2.4-m Telescope, will study the atmospheres of extrasolar planets located relatively close to Earth, allowing astronomers to probe their chemical composition. Image Credit: MRO

Exoplanetary astronomy has been one of the most productive scientific endeavors in recent years, with new discoveries of planets [...]

A Light in the Dark? Observations of Milky Way's Center Hint at Existence of Dark Matter

A view of the entire gamma-ray sky from the Fermi Space Telescope, shaded to emphasize the center of the Milky Way. The inset is a map of the galactic center with known sources removed, which reveals the gamma-ray excess (red, green, and blue) found there. This excess emission is consistent with annihilations from some [...]

First Direct Imaging of Exoplanet in Visible Light Obtained by Ground-Based Telescope

Image of the exoplanet Beta Pictoris b made with the Magellan Adaptive Optics (MagAO) VisAO camera. This image was made using a CCD camera, which is essentially the same technology as a cell phone camera. The planet is nearly 100,000 times fainter than its star and orbits its star at roughly the same distance [...]