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 […]

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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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 […]

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 […]

NASA to Test Orion's European Service Module Starting This Summer

From ESA: "Proposal for a Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle-Service Module (MPCV-SM)." Orion's European service module will fly on Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) in late 2018. Image Credit: ESA-D. Ducros

From ESA: “Proposal for a Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle-Service Module (MPCV-SM).” Orion’s European service module will fly on Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) in late 2018. Image Credit: ESA-D. Ducros

NASA continues to ramp up its development of its newest crewed space vehicle and launch system, the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV), which will be powered by […]

Methane Discovered in Martian Meteorites: A Clue to Possible Life?

Methane has been discovered in some meteorites originating from Mars. Could it be a clue to life? Image Credit: Image by Michael Helfenbein

Methane has been discovered in some meteorites originating from Mars. Could it be a clue to life? Image Credit: Michael Helfenbein

The puzzle of methane on Mars has taken an interesting new twist: For the first time, the gas has been detected within Martian meteorites. The finding adds another layer to the ongoing controversy over […]

Rest In Pieces: MESSENGER Ends Orbital Operations, Impacts Mercury's Surface

The MESSENGER spacecraft, depicted in this artist’s rendering, began studying Mercury in 2011. Today, its mission ended with its impact on the far side of the planet. Image Credit: NASA

Here’s MESSENGER by the numbers: Years since launching: 10+; Years in Mercury’s orbit: Four; Number of orbits: 4,105; Size of its impact crater: Estimated […]

In Their Own Words: Astronauts on 25 Years of Hubble (Part 2)

The Hubble Space Telescope appears to “fly” over Earth as it is photographed during STS-109. Photo Credit: NASA

Today marks 25 years since the launch of the STS-31 mission (Discovery), which lofted the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) into orbit. AmericaSpace continues its tribute to the service life and achievements of HST, which began yesterday […]

In Their Own Words: Astronauts on 25 Years of Hubble (Part 1)

IMAX view of the release of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) in April 1990. Photo Credit: NASA

While the astronauts aboard Space Shuttle Discovery may not have yet known it, April 24, 1990, was a watershed date not just in spaceflight history, but in human history: STS-31 launched from LC-39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space […]

MESSENGER Mission Nears Its End, Set for Mercury Impact April 30

A global map of Mercury, composed of thousands of individual images from MESSENGER. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

One of the most oft-repeated quotes in the English lexicon is: “There’s no place like home.” One spacecraft’s long journey, begun in 2004, will end as it impacts upon the […]