AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch CLIO on a Atlas V 401 rocket from Cape Canaveral AFB, FL
scheduled for:
17 Sep 14 0:10:00 GMT
16 Sep 14 20:10:00 EDT

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Landing Site Selected for First-Ever Attempt to Land on a Comet

Landing site J, marked by the white + sign, on the head of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Image Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

A landing site has now been chosen for the Rosetta spacecraft’s lander, Philae, on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, it was announced this morning. After several candidate landing sites had been considered, site J has now [...]

Plate Tectonics May Increase Chances for Life on Europa

Europa, with its subsurface ocean, and now evidence for plate tectonics, is a primary goal of exploration in the search for alien life. Processed image copyright: Ted Stryk. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Ted Stryk

Jupiter’s moon Europa is a fascinating little world, but particularly so for one reason: water. It’s deep alien ocean underneath the surface [...]

Rainfall on Titan May Create Propane Aquifers, Study Suggests

Illustration of a cross-section of Titan’s surface and near-subsurface, showing the surface lakes/seas, underground aquifers, clathrate layers, and icy crust. Image Credit: ESA/ATG medialab

Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, is a very alien yet eerily Earth-like world, with rain, rivers, lakes, and seas; seen from above, the landscape has a familiar look to it. But [...]

Curiosity Rover Moving Onward to Martian Mountain Goal, Shuns Drilling and Slippery Dunes

NASA’s Curiosity rover abandons drill campaign at “Bonanza King” rock outcrop after hammer test (inset at right) determined it was unsuitable as a potential fourth drill site, in this photo mosaic view captured on Aug. 20, 2014, Sol 724. Note the background of sand dune ripples and deep wheel tracks inside Hidden Valley that [...]

Astronomers Witness Asteroid Smash-Up Around Sun-Like Star

Artist’s conception of an asteroid collision around the Sun-like star NGC 2547-ID8. Such impacts around young stars lead to planetary formation later on. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Solar systems, including ours, are thought to begin as massive clouds of dust and gas surrounding young stars; over billions of years, planets form from repeated impacts of [...]

MAVEN's Half-Billion-Mile Journey to Mars Now 30 Days Out From Red Planet

An artist’s rendition of MAVEN at Mars. Image Credit: NASA / GSFC

The spacecraft tasked with carrying out NASA’s first mission devoted to understanding the Martian upper atmosphere is now just 30 days out from the Red Planet, having so far covered 405 million miles over the last nine months, as it quietly cruises the [...]

Space Dust Indicates Ancient Origin for Saturn's Rings

Mosaic image showing Saturn backlit by the Sun, one of the most beautiful photographs sent back by Cassini. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

The origin of Saturn’s rings has been one of the most interesting puzzles in planetary science, and now new data from the Cassini spacecraft is helping to fill in the pieces, showing [...]

A Troubled Start to a Triumphant Mission: 37 Years Since the Launch of the Voyagers

Voyager 2 begins its journey of exploration, 37 years ago today (20 August), with a rousing liftoff atop a Titan IIIE-Centaur booster from Launch Complex (LC)-41 at Cape Canaveral. Photo Credit: NASA

A quarter-century ago, this week, NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft became the first machine fashioned by human hands to travel close to the [...]

Astronomers Observe the Rhythm of Rare Type of Black Hole

Black holes can’t be observed directly, but the heated gasses surrounding them can, as they emit X-rays. Image Credit: NASA/Dana Berry/SkyWorks Digital

Black holes are one of the most unusual and fascinating phenomena in nature, and now astronomers are learning more about a peculiar type of black hole, thanks to archived data from NASA’s Rossi [...]

Bacteria Discovered in Lake of Oil: Implications for Extraterrestrial Life?

Pitch Lake in Trinidad, where life has been found inside water droplets within the oil deposits. Photo Credit: Martina Jackson/Wikimedia Commons

A recent discovery by scientists may have implications for possible extraterrestrial life: Bacteria have been found thriving in a lake of oil in Trinidad, again showing how life can exist in even the [...]