AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch SMAP on a Delta II 7320 rocket from Vandenberg AFB, CA
scheduled for:
31 Jan 15 14:22:00 GMT
31 Jan 15 6:22:00 PST
31 Jan 15 9:22:00 Eastern

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Sharpest Views of Mysterious 'Planet' Ceres Now Better Than Hubble, Tantalize Scientists

Comparison of Ceres images taken from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft on Jan. 25, 2015, and the Hubble Space Telescope up to January 2004. What is the nature of the ‘White Spot’ visible in both images? What new features are being revealed by Dawn? Dawn Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA. HST Credit: NASA, ESA, J. Parker (Southwest Research Institute), […]

Water on Vesta? Gullies Suggest Wet Debris Flows in the Past, Study Finds

Image of curved gullies and fan-shaped deposits in Cornelia crater on Vesta. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

The Dawn spacecraft is now very close to the dwarf planet Ceres, but there are some interesting new findings from its previous visit to the asteroid Vesta. Curved gullies on its surface suggest that small amounts of water may […]

Coming Down the Home Stretch: New Horizons Begins Historic Long-Range Reconnaissance of Pluto, Prior to Closest Approach in July

Artist’s concept of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft as it passes by Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, in July 2015. Following its wake-up call from its hibernation late last year, the spacecraft has just entered the first leg of its approach phase to the Pluto system. Image Credit: NASA/JHU APL/SwRI/Steve Gribben

Nine years ago […]

Dawn Spacecraft Takes Its Best-Yet Image of Dwarf Planet Ceres

The best image of dwarf planet Ceres obtained so far by the Dawn spacecraft, from 740,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers) away. Images will get much better as the spacecraft approaches Ceres over the next few months. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

The Dawn spacecraft continues to make its way closer to a world which still hasn’t […]

New Horizons Ready for Last Wake-Up Call Prior to Start of Historic Pluto Encounter Operations

Artist’s impression of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft approaching Pluto and its system of moons. New Horizons is getting ready to emerge from its electronic hibernation on December 6, in order to begin its final preparations for the start of the Pluto encounter operations in January 2015. Image Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest […]

Cosmic Ray Hit Causes Small Delay at Dawn's Rendezvous With Ceres Early Next Year

An artist’s concept of NASA’s Dawn spacecraft exploring Vesta and Ceres in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Dawn had recently experienced an anomaly in its ion propulsion system resulting from a cosmic ray hit, which will cause a small delay to the spacecraft’s rendezvous with Ceres next year. Image Credit: NASA

Next […]

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 […]

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 […]

New Dwarf Planet Candidate Discovered at Solar System's Edge: Could a Hidden Planet Be Orbiting Farther Out?

The discovery images of 2012 VP113. Three images of the night sky, each taken about two hours apart, were combined into one. The first image was artificially colored red, the second green, and the third blue. 2012 VP113 moved between each image as seen by the red, green, and blue dots. The background stars […]

Mystery Gullies Discovered on Asteroid Vesta

Gullies in the crater Cornelia on Vesta. Image Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / UCLA/MPS / DLR / IDA

The Dawn spacecraft left behind the giant asteroid Vesta last September, and is now en route to the even bigger dwarf planet Ceres, but scientists are still busy studying all of the data that was sent […]