New Study Helps Answer Mystery of What Happened to Mars' Early Atmosphere

Mars used to have a thicker atmosphere and water on its surface. Image Credit: M. Kornmesser/ESO

Mars used to have a thicker atmosphere and water on its surface, but what happened to that atmosphere has been a mystery. New research may finally help answer that question. Image Credit: M. Kornmesser/ESO

The question of how Mars changed from a once wet world to the much colder and drier one we see […]

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 […]

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 […]

Rosetta Team Troubleshoots Philae as Comet's Activity 'Heats Up'

From ESA: ““This single frame Rosetta navigation camera image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was taken on 14 July 2015 from a distance of 161 km from the comet centre. The image has a resolution of 13.7 m/pixel and measures 14 km across.” Image Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) […]

Rosetta Update: Team Ramps Up for Perihelion, Communications With Philae, and Remembering Dr. Claudia Alexander

From ESA: ” This image focuses on Apis and Atum regions on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko’s large lobe in the foreground, with parts of the small lobe in the background. The image is a mosaic of two OSIRIS narrow-angle camera images. The images were acquired on 5 September 2014 when Rosetta was about 40 km from […]

ESA's Historic Rosetta Mission Extended Through September 2016

Rosetta & Philae at comet 67P. Credit: ESA–C. Carreau/ATG medialab

Rosetta and Philae at comet 67P. Credit: ESA–C. Carreau/ATG medialab

The European Space Agency (ESA) announced that the Rosetta mission, which saw the spacecraft successfully orbit a comet and set a lander down upon its surface in a series of historic firsts, has been extended. Just days after it was revealed Philae, Rosetta’s lander, […]

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 […]