AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch SMAP on a Delta II 7320 rocket from Vandenberg AFB, CA
scheduled for:
31 Jan 15 14:20:42 GMT
31 Jan 15 6:20:42 PST
31 Jan 15 9:20:42 Eastern

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Massive Alien Ring System is Much Larger Than Saturn's - And May Contain Exomoons

Artist’s conception of the ring system circling the young giant planet (or brown dwarf) J1407b. Image Credit: Ron Miller

Astronomers today announced yet another mind-boggling finding – a ring system which orbits a distant giant planet has been found to be much larger and more massive than Saturn’s ring system, the best known example in our […]

Water on Vesta? Gullies Suggest Wet Debris Flows in the Past, Study Finds

Image of curved gullies and fan-shaped deposits in Cornelia crater on Vesta. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

The Dawn spacecraft is now very close to the dwarf planet Ceres, but there are some interesting new findings from its previous visit to the asteroid Vesta. Curved gullies on its surface suggest that small amounts of water may […]

Two New Exoplanet Findings Bring Us Closer to Discovering Other Earth-Like Worlds

Artist’s conception of a super-Earth ocean world, with another gas giant planet rising over the horizon. Image Credit: David A. Aguilar/CfA

When it comes to exoplanets, the most exciting for many people are, of course, the ones which may be the most Earth-like, since these are regarded as the most likely to possibly support some form […]

Kepler Finds 'Super-Earth' Exoplanet in First Discovery of New Mission

Artist’s conception of super-Earth HIP 116454b. Image Credit: David A. Aguilar (CfA)

The Kepler space telescope has found its first new exoplanet, a “super-Earth,” of its secondary mission phase. The discovery adds to a current tally of 996 confirmed exoplanets and 4,183 planetary candidates already found by the revolutionary planet-hunting telescope.

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Saturn's Moon Mimas May Have an Underground Ocean—or Just a Weird Core

Mimas, a cold, icy, and tiny moon of Saturn, may have a liquid water ocean below its heavily cratered surface. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL/SSI

It wasn’t that long ago that Earth was thought to be the only place in the Solar System capable of having liquid water oceans, but now we know of several moons that […]

Giant Cloud at Titan's South Pole Is Toxic and Freezing Cold

View from Cassini of the huge polar vortex cloud over Titan’s south pole. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/University of Arizona/SSI/Leiden Observatory and SRON

Titan is the only moon in the Solar System known to have a dense atmosphere, and while similar to Earth’s atmosphere in some ways, such as being rich in nitrogen, it also holds […]

It's Back! 'Mystery Island' in Titan Sea Makes Unexpected Reappearance

Three radar images, taken from April 2007 to August 2014, showing how the “mystery island” in Ligeia Mare has changed in appearance over time. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/Cornell

The mystery of an unusual feature in one of Titan’s hydrocarbon seas, dubbed the “mystery island,” has taken an interesting turn. After apparently disappearing following its initial […]

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 […]

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 […]