AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch ORB-3 on a Antares rocket from Wallops Island, VA
scheduled for:
21 Oct 14 2:29:00 GMT
20 Oct 14 22:29:00 EDT

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The Improbable Case of the High-Energy Novae: NASA's Fermi Space Telescope Detects New Gamma Ray Sources

Novae typically originate in binary systems containing Sun-like stars, as shown in this artist’s rendering. NASA’s Fermi Space Telescope discovered that a nova in a system like this likely produces gamma rays (magenta) through collisions among multiple shock waves in the rapidly expanding shell of debris. Image Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/S. Wiessinger

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ESA's 'Discovery Machine' Gets Ready for Science: Gaia Concludes Commissioning Phase, Begins Primary Five-Year Mission

Artist’s concept of the Gaia. Having recently completed a rigorous test and commissioning phase, the space observatory began its five-year primary science mission of mapping and cataloguing approximately 1 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy. Image Credit: ESA–D. Ducros, 2013

Following the successful conclusion of a very demanding and extensive six-month commissioning period, [...]

To Navigate the Seas of the Sun: NASA's Solar Probe Plus Mission to the Nearest Star

Artist’s impression of NASA’s Solar Probe Plus spacecraft approaching the Sun. Set to launch in 2018, Solar Probe Plus will orbit our home star a total of 24 times while gradually approaching closer with each concecutive orbit, until it eventually achieves a minimum distance of 8.5 solar radii, or 3.7 million miles from the [...]

Exploring Uncharted Territory: ESA's Venus Express Spacecraft Completes Aerobraking Campaign, Raises Orbit Prior to End of Mission

An artist’s concept of Venus Express during the aerobraking manoeuvre, which saw the spacecraft orbiting Venus at an altitude of approximately 130 km from 18 June to 11 July. These low passes through the atmosphere of Venus allowed the spacecraft to conduct scientific observations that weren’t possible from higher altitudes. Image Credit: ESA–C. Carreau

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No Water, Please: The Case of the Surprisingly Dry 'Hot Jupiters'

This is an artistic illustration of the gas giant planet HD 209458b in the constellation Pegasus. The planet was recently studied by astronomers alongside two other similar extrasolar worlds, for their abundance in water. To the surprise of astronomers, they have found much less water vapor in the planets’ atmospheres than standard planet-formation models [...]

Astronomers Discover First Ice Giant Exoplanet Candidate in Long-Period Orbit

This artist’s concept shows Kepler-421b, a Uranus-sized transiting exoplanet with the longest known year, circling its star once every 704 days. Kepler-421b orbits an orange, K-type star that is cooler and dimmer than our Sun and is located about 1,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Lyra. Image Credit/Caption: Harvard-Smithsonian, Center for Astrophysics/D. A. [...]

Astronomers Discover First Ever Terrestrial Exoplanet in Earth-Type Orbit, Around Red Dwarf Binary Star System

An artist’s rendering of the newly discovered exoplanet OGLE-2013-BLG-0341LBb (far right) orbiting one star (right) of a binary red dwarf star system, from an Earth-type distance of approximately 0.9 Astronomical Units away. Image Credit: Cheongho Han, Chungbuk National University, Republic of Korea

The discovery of yet another exoplanet orbiting outside of the habitable zone [...]

Hubble Discovers Two Potential KBO Targets for NASA's New Horizons Spacecraft, Follows Up With Additional Search

Discovery images of the two Kuiper Belt Objects named 1110113Y and 0720090F respectively, taken with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The image at left shows the first KBO at an estimated distance of approximately 4 billion miles from Earth. Its position noticeably shifts between exposures taken approximately 10 minutes apart. The image at right shows [...]

Hubble Space Telescope Starts Search for Kuiper Belt Objects as New Horizons Races Toward Pluto

An artist’s rendering of the New Horizons spacecraft, encountering a Kuiper Belt Object during its extended mission following its Pluto flyby. The Hubble space telescope has started searching for a suitable KBO so that the spacecraft’s extended mission can take place. Image Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute (JHUAPL/SwRI)

With the [...]

The Continuing Saga of Planet X: Could More Massive Planets Hide Beyond Pluto?

An artist’s impression of Eris, the most massive dwarf planet known to date, with an aphelion of 97 AU from the Sun. Could bigger Super-Earth-type planets be orbiting even farther out? Image Credit: ESO/L. Calçada and Nick Risinger

 

Just like the proverbial cat with nine lives, the notion of an unseen planet orbiting [...]