Onward!: NASA Selects Next Destination for New Horizons in Kuiper Belt

Artist's conception of New Horizons at 2014 MU69. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Alex Parker

Artist’s conception of New Horizons at 2014 MU69. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Alex Parker

It has been nearly a month and a half since the historic flyby of Pluto by the New Horizons spacecraft, and now the mission team has selected its next target for exploration: a small Kuiper Belt object (KBO) known as 2014 MU69, which […]

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 […]

'We're Working It, Folks': New Horizons Experiences Communications Loss, Ten Days Out From Pluto

After a 9.5-year voyage across the Solar System, New Horizons is just days away from humanity’s first close-up reconnaissance of the last of the traditionally accepted nine planets. Image Credit: NASA

Less than 10 days and a mere 7.2 million miles (11.6 million km) from its quarry—the dwarf world Pluto, its binary companion Charon, and […]

The Case of the Helium-Shrouded Exoplanet With the Hydrogen, Comet-Like Tail

An artist's concept of the vast envelope of atomic hydrogen that envelopes the nearby helium-dominated exoplanet Gliese 436b. The radiation pressure from the planet's host star causes the gradual escape over time of significant amounts of hydrogen from Gliese 436b's atmosphere into space, which subsequently forms a large comet-like tail that follows the planet in its orbit around its star. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)

An artist’s concept of the vast envelope of atomic hydrogen that envelopes the nearby helium-dominated exoplanet Gliese 436b. The radiation pressure from the planet’s host star causes the gradual escape over time of significant amounts of hydrogen from Gliese 436b’s atmosphere into space, which subsequently forms a large comet-like tail that follows the planet […]

Three Weeks to Pluto: A World of Tiny Moons and Missed Mission Opportunities (Part 2)

An artist’s concept of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft during its closest approach to Pluto and Charon on 14 July. This spacecraft is the only successful outcome in a long line of unrealized missions to Pluto. Image Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute (JHUAPL/SwRI)

When a Kansan farmboy-turned-astronomer named Clyde Tombaugh discovered […]

Three Weeks to Pluto: A World of Tiny Moons and Missed Mission Opportunities (Part 1)

An artist’s depiction of Pluto, as seen from the surface of its largest moon, Charon. Image Credit: NASA, ESA and G. Bacon (STScI)

Three weeks now remain before NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft—launched in January 2006—sweeps past the dwarf world Pluto, its large binary companion Charon, and at least four tiny moons, reaching the climax […]

Alien Ocean: All Systems Go for New NASA Mission to Europa

Artist's conception of the Europa Clipper during a flyby of Europa. Image Credit: NASA

Artist’s conception of the Europa Clipper during a flyby of Europa. Image Credit: NASA

After many years of people hoping and waiting, NASA has announced that a new mission to Europa has successfully completed its first major review by the agency and now is entering the development phase, known as formulation. In other words, […]

Top Ten US EVA Missions of All Time: No. 3—’Repackage Our Margin’

Astronaut Story Musgrave is positioned to replace components at the end of Endeavour’s Remote Manipulator System (RMS) mechanical arm on STS-61 in December 1993. Photo Credit: NASA

More than two decades have passed since one of the most spectacular EVA missions in U.S. history: the long-awaited first servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). […]

Astronomers Get Rare Glimpse of the 'Nasty' Lifestyles of Massive Stars

Artist’s illustration of the vast disk of gas surrounding the massive and bright Wolf-Rayet star NaSt1, affectionately nicknamed ‘Nasty 1’. Observations with the Hubble and Chandra space telescopes revealed that contrary to other Wolf-Rayet stars, NaSt1 is feeding material into its companion star (shown here by the bridge of bright material connecting the two […]

Hubble Reveals Fascinating and Chaotic Properties of Pluto's Moons

Using a set of archival data that were taken with the Hubble Space Telescope. astronomers were able to conduct the most comprehensive and detailed study to date of Pluto’s four smaller moons, Nix, Hydra, Kerberos and Styx. This artist’s illustration shows the scale and comparative brightness of these small satellites, as discovered by Hubble […]