New Horizons Discovers Methane 'Snow' on Pluto's Mountain Peaks

Methane "snow" on mountain peaks in the Cthulhu region of Pluto. The image covers an area 280 miles (450 kilometers) long by 140 miles (225 kilometers) wide. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Methane “snow” on mountain peaks in the Cthulhu region of Pluto. The enhanced color version of the inset image is on the left and the false color version is on the right. The image covers an area 280 miles (450 kilometers) long by 140 miles (225 kilometers) wide. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

As the data […]

Opportunity Rover Begins 'Mountain Climbing' Up Steep Ridge at Endeavour Crater

Panoramic view of Knudsen Ridge. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU/James Sorenson

Panoramic view of Knudsen Ridge, where Opportunity has been climbing a steep 30 degree slope. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU/James Sorenson

NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars may have been stealing the spotlight in recent years, but the other rover, Opportunity, is still going strong after 12 long years. Opportunity has survived the harsh environment and various challenges […]

Calling All Artists: Send Your Artwork to Asteroid Bennu on NASA's OSIRIS-REx Mission

Artist's conception of OSIRIS-REx preparing to take a sample from the surface of Bennu. Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Chris Meaney

Artist’s conception of OSIRIS-REx preparing to take a sample from the surface of Bennu. Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Chris Meaney

This coming September, a new NASA spacecraft, OSIRIS-REx, will be heading toward an asteroid to collect samples which will later be brought back to Earth. This is the first time for such a sample return mission to an […]

New Horizons Finds Evidence for Frozen Ocean Inside Pluto's Moon Charon

The canyons of Charon. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

The canyons of Charon, some of which dwarf the Grand Canyon on Earth. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

One of the most surprising discoveries in recent years in the outer Solar System is that there are small moons which have oceans inside them. Jupiter’s moon Europa and Saturn’s moon Enceladus are now known to have global […]

Hubble Space Telescope Analyzes Atmosphere of Super-Earth Exoplanet for First Time

Artist's  conception of 55 Cancri e. Image Credit: ESA/Hubble, M. Kornmesser

Artist’s conception of 55 Cancri e, a searingly hot, carbon-rich world. Image Credit: ESA/Hubble, M. Kornmesser

Exoplanets are now being discovered by the thousands, but most are so far away that determining anything specific about their composition or atmosphere is currently very difficult. But technology keeps advancing, and scientists are now starting to be […]

Asteroid Visitor, Asteroid Orbiter, Asteroid Lander: 20 Years Since the Launch of NEAR Shoemaker

Asteroid 433 Eros, visited by the Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR)-Shoemaker during 1998-2001. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years ago, today, on 17 February 1996, NASA’s Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR)—a name later adjusted to honor the planetary scientist Gene Shoemaker—rocketed away from Launch Complex (LC)-17B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., aboard a venerable Delta […]

The 'Floating Hills' of Pluto: Icebergs In a Frozen Nitrogen Sea

Icebergs on Pluto: the large blocks of water ice float in a "sea" of nitrogen ice and are thought to have broken off from the rugged and mountainous highlands. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Icebergs on Pluto: The large blocks of water ice float in a “sea” of nitrogen ice and are thought to have broken off from the rugged and mountainous highlands. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Pluto is a tiny world and incredibly distant from the Sun, so it was a pleasant surprise for scientists last summer when […]

NASA's FYI 2017 Budget Request May Delay SLS Europa Mission Several Years

We are finally going back to Europa, but it may be a little later than planned. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute

We are finally going back to Europa, but it may be a little later than originally planned. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute

The recently announced new mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa, a highly anticipated return to this ocean world, may face a launch delay from 2022 to the late 2020s. The news comes amid the release […]

Is 'Planet 9' Really a Second Massive Kuiper Belt?

The Kupier Belt is a massive collection of dwarf planet and asteroid-sized worlds orbiting far past Neptune. Is the hypothetical Planet 9 really a second such belt? Image Credit: T. Pyle (SSC)/JPL-Caltech/NASA

The Kuiper Belt is a massive collection of dwarf planet- and asteroid-sized worlds orbiting far past Neptune. Is the hypothetical Planet 9 really a second such belt? Image Credit: T. Pyle (SSC)/JPL-Caltech/NASA

The announcement of a possible large ninth planet in our Solar System way beyond Neptune last month caused a lot of excitement, […]

'Cauliflower' Silica Formations on Mars: Evidence of Ancient Life?

Image of "cauliflower" silica formations found by the Spirit rover in 2008 near Home Plate in Gusev crater. Do they hold clues to ancient life on Mars? Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Image of “cauliflower” silica formations found by the Spirit rover in 2008 near Home Plate in Gusev crater. Do they hold clues to ancient life on Mars? Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Was there ever life on Mars? That is one of the longest-running and most debated questions in planetary science, and while there have been […]