AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch MAVEN on a Atlas V 401 rocket from Cape Canaveral AFB, FL
scheduled for:
18 Nov 13 18:28:00 GMT
18 Nov 13 13:28:00 EST

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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 [...]

Titan's Hidden Ocean Might Be as Salty as the Dead Sea

Illustration of what Titan’s interior is thought to look like, with a rigid ice shell above the salty water ocean below. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Saturn’s moon Titan is known for its methane seas, lakes, and rivers; surprisingly Earth-like in appearance yet distinctly alien at the same time. But there is also evidence for another [...]

Do Pluto and Charon Share the Same Atmosphere?

Artist’s conception of Pluto and Charon. Image Credit: ESO

Atmospheres are, of course, a common feature of planets and even some moons. Most of the planets in our Solar System and a few moons have their own unique atmospheres, but now there may be evidence for something new: a shared atmosphere between a planet [...]

Hazy Sunsets on Titan Provide Clues to Atmospheres on Alien Exoplanets

Artist’s conception of the Cassini spacecraft observing a sunset on Titan. Such studies can also help astronomers understand the atmospheres of exoplanets. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Saturn’s moon Titan is one of the murkiest places in the Solar System; its thick smog-like hydrocarbon haze in the upper atmosphere shrouds the entire moon, much like Venus’ perpetual cloud [...]

Jupiter's Great Red Spot Is Shrinking—Now the Smallest Ever Seen

In this new image from the Hubble Space Telescope, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is seen at its smallest size ever recorded. Photo Credit: NASA / ESA / A. Simon (Goddard Space Flight Center)

The Great Red Spot on Jupiter is one of the most recognizable features in the Solar System: a massive hurricane-like oval-shaped storm [...]

PHOTOS: NASA Ready to Send MAVEN on Half-Billion Mile Journey to Mars Monday

The Atlas-V rocket with NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft onboard minutes after arriving at the launch pad Saturday afternoon. Photo Credit: AmericaSpace / Mike Killian

The clocks are ticking and the launch team at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 41 in Florida is preparing to send NASA’s next Mars-bound spacecraft on an epic half-billion [...]

Cassini Spacecraft Discovers Plastic Ingredients on Saturn's Moon Titan

Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, as photographed by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which has been exploring Saturn and its many moons (roughly 60 discovered so far) since 2004, recently discovered an ingredient on the moon Titan that is very common here on Earth, one which is probably in your kitchen [...]

Mars-Bound MAVEN Spacecraft Performing Final Testing Ahead Of November Launch

NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft in pre-launch processing at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo Credit: John Studwell

NASA’s next spacecraft destined for Mars, MAVEN, is in its final month of pre-launch processing at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. After a decade of work from people across the country, and having passed some 270 reviews, MAVEN [...]

LRO Finds Helium in Moon's Thin Atmosphere

The text points out the location of the LAMP instrument on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Photo Credit: NASA/Debbie McCallum, edited by Christopher Paul

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has identified trace amounts of helium gas in the Moon’s tenuous atmosphere. Using its LAMP (Lyman Alpha Mapping Project) instrument, it identified the gently glow of elemental [...]