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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Kepler Discovers Three Super-Earth Exoplanets Orbiting Nearby Star

Cartoon illustration depicting how the three newly-found planets’ shadows (right side) can be seen as eclipses from Earth (left side) as they transit in front of their star. Image Credit: K. Teramura, UH IfA.

Last week was a good one for exoplanet enthusiasts, with yet more news relating to how other worlds are now […]

Kepler Confirms Over 1,000 Exoplanets, Finds More Potentially Habitable Worlds

Illustration of the eight newly verified exoplanets which are less than twice the size of Earth and orbit within their stars’ habitable zones. Image Credit: NASA/JPL

Even after problems threatened to end the Kepler space telescope’s mission for good last year, the planet-hunting observatory has continued to help astronomers discover thousands of exoplanets orbiting […]

Huge Prospects for Science and Humans to Mars: Conversation With Hubble Astronaut/NASA Science Chief John Grunsfeld (Part 2)

Launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis on STS-125 and the final servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope on May 11, 2009, from Launch Complex-39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: Ken Kremer – kenkremer.com

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL — “A great path” lies ahead for “science and launching humans to Mars,” says astronaut […]

Tilted Aquaplanets Might Still be Habitable, Study Suggests

Artist’s conception of an ocean-covered aquaplanet. Image Credit: Christine Daniloff/MIT

With so many exoplanets now being discovered on a regular basis by astronomers, the focus has turned to what number of them might be habitable for some kind of life. For life as we know it at least, that depends on a number of […]

Kepler Finds 'Super-Earth' Exoplanet in First Discovery of New Mission

Artist’s conception of super-Earth HIP 116454b. Image Credit: David A. Aguilar (CfA)

The Kepler space telescope has found its first new exoplanet, a “super-Earth,” of its secondary mission phase. The discovery adds to a current tally of 996 confirmed exoplanets and 4,183 planetary candidates already found by the revolutionary planet-hunting telescope.

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Strong Winds Explain Titan's Immense Dunes, According to New Study

Radar image of long lines of dunes on Titan. They can be up to 300 feet tall and hundreds of miles long. Image Credit: NASA/JPL–Caltech/ASI/ESA and USGS/ESA

Saturn’s largest moon Titan is one of the most Earth-like places in the Solar System, as least in terms of appearances, with its seas, lakes, and rivers […]

Stars Above and Earth Below: NASA's Proposed New Airship Competition Good for Science

Artist’s conception of a new high-altitude NASA airship which could make science observations of both the Earth below and stars above. Image Credit: Mike Hughes (Eagre Interactive)/Keck Institute for Space Studies

Airships are a unique form of transportation—giant, balloon-like, lighter-than-air vehicles which can stay aloft for extended periods of time. Their design makes them […]

NASA's Van Allen Probes Detect Life-Protective Electron Barrier Inside Earth's Radiation Belts

A visualization of the Earth’s radiation belts, based on data that were gathered by NASA’s twin Van Allen probes. The Earth is seen to be surrounded by the plasmapause (blue-green area) and the two main radiation belts further out (multi-color area). The boundary between the plasmapause and the inner edge of the outer belt […]

TESS Exoplanet-Hunting Space Telescope Ready for Development

Artist’s conception of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). Image Credit: MIT

The search for exoplanets is about to enter an exciting new phase, as the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission has now been cleared for development by NASA. TESS will greatly expand the number of stars being observed for evidence of exoplanets […]

MESSENGER Takes First Images of Ice Near Mercury's North Pole

Wide-Angle Camera (WAC) image of Kandinsky crater, near Mercury’s north pole, which contains water ice. The original broadband image is on the left (outlined in yellow), and the brightness and contrast-enhanced version is on the right. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

The Solar System is full of surprises. […]