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Next Launch CRS-3 on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral AFB, FL scheduled for 18 Apr 14 19:25:22 GMT

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Big Discovery: First Earth-Sized Exoplanet in Habitable Zone of Another Star

Artist’s conception of Kepler-186f in orbit around its red dwarf star. Image Credit: NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech

Today was another big day for those interested in space exploration and in the search for other Earth-like, alien worlds in particular: The first Earth-sized exoplanet orbiting another star in the habitable zone has been discovered, it was [...]

Exoplanet Bonanza: Kepler Confirms More than 700 New Worlds

Illustration showing multiple-transiting planetary systems, such as those found by Kepler. Image Credit: NASA

There was more exciting exoplanet news this week from the Kepler mission: the space telescope has confirmed 715 new exoplanets! This brings the current total number of such worlds to 1,766, of which 961 have been found by Kepler. There are [...]

European Space Agency Selects PLATO Observatory for Proposed 2024 Launch

From the European Space Agency (ESA): “The PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars (PLATO) mission will identify and study thousands of exoplanetary systems, with an emphasis on discovering and characterising Earth-sized planets and super-Earths. It will also investigate seismic activity in stars, enabling a precise characterisation of the host sun of each planet discovered, [...]

Kepler Finds a Very Wobbly Planet

This illustration shows the unusual orbit of planet Kepler-413b around a close pair of orange and red dwarf stars. The planet’s 66-day orbit is tilted 2.5 degrees with respect to the plane of the binary star’s orbit. The orbit of the planet wobbles around the central stars over 11 years, an effect called precession. [...]

Planets, Planets Everywhere

What a wonderful and amazing Scheme have we here of the magnificent Vastness of the Universe! So many Suns, so many Earths, and every one of them stock’d with so many Herbs, Trees and Animals, and adorn’d with so many Seas and Mountains! And how must our wonder and admiration be encreased [...]

Carbon Worlds May Be Waterless, Finds NASA Study

This artist’s concept illustrates the fate of two different planets: the one on the left is similar to Earth, made up largely of silicate-based rocks with oceans coating its surface. The one on the right is rich in carbon — and dry. Chances are low that life as we know it, which requires liquid [...]

Critical AEHF-3 Military Communications Satellite Ready for Atlas V Launch

This version of the Atlas V employs a fairing (the protective cover covering the payload) made in Switzerland, three solid rocket boosters manufactured by Aerojet, and RD-180 engines produced in Russia. Photo Credit: United Launch Alliance

United Launch Alliance (ULA)—the Centennial, Colo.-based launch services organization, which operates the Atlas V and Delta IV vehicles [...]

On @ The 90: Our Vanguard Moment

Photo Credit: NASA

The Space Race, one of many fronts of the Cold War, began in earnest on July 29, 1955, when President Eisenhower publicly announced Project Vanguard, the first genuine effort to launch a man-made vehicle into orbit as an instrumented scientific experiment for the International Geophysical Year. Bypassing Werner Von Braun’s more [...]

Kepler Recovery Efforts Conclude, Other Missions Mulled

Image Credit: NASA

After several months’ worth of review and testing, the team operating the Kepler Space Telescope has opted to close its efforts to make Kepler fully operational again. This follows the loss of one of the crucial components that controls the alien planet-hunting spacecraft. In an Aug. 15 teleconference, Charles Sobeck, deputy [...]

Can Kepler Be Saved? Engineering Team to Attempt Recovery of Ailing Space Telescope

Artist’s illustration of Kepler in orbit. Image Credit: NASA / Kepler mission / Wendy Stenzel

The Kepler space telescope has been nothing short of incredible, revolutionizing our understanding of exoplanets and showing just how common and diverse they really are (as the saying goes, truth is stranger than fiction). Recently, however, additional mechanical problems [...]