Pluto's Large Nitrogen Ice 'Sea' Probably Formed from Giant Impact, Scientists Say

The vast ice plains of Sputnik Planum on Pluto. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

The vast ice plains of Sputnik Planum on Pluto. The basin, now filled with nitrogen ice, was probably created by a huge impact. Photo Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Instead of being little more than a frozen and unchanging rocky iceball, Pluto has been revealed to be a complex and dynamic little world, with mountains, valleys, vast icy […]

Dawn Spacecraft Begins Extensive Study of Dwarf Planet Ceres from Lowest Orbit

Artist's conception of Dawn orbiting Ceres. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Artist’s conception of Dawn orbiting Ceres. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Dawn spacecraft just recently entered its lowest and final orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres, providing the closest look ever at the puzzling world. Dawn will, of course, be taking thousands more high-resolution photographs, but what else will it be doing during the remainder […]

2015 in Review: A Year of Spectacular Planetary Missions and Discoveries

High-resolution view of Pluto from New Horizons, showing rugged mountains and vast icy plains. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

High-resolution view of Pluto from New Horizons, showing rugged mountains and vast icy plains. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

To say that 2015 has been a great year for planetary exploration would be an understatement, with fantastic new discoveries from around the Solar System. From our first ever close-up look at Pluto and its moons, to […]

First High-Resolution Images Released of Ceres from Dawn's New Lowest Orbit

One of the first new images taken in Dawn's lowest orbit around Ceres, showing the crater chain called Gerber Catena. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

One of the first new images taken in Dawn’s lowest orbit around Ceres, showing the crater chain called Gerber Catena. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

NASA has released the first images of the dwarf planet Ceres from the Dawn spacecraft’s new lowest orbit. This is the closest view that Dawn will have of Ceres and its intriguing […]

NASA's InSight Mission to Mars Suspended Due to Vacuum Leak in Critical Seismometer Instrument

Artist’s conception of the InSight lander on Mars. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Artist’s conception of the InSight lander on Mars. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA officially announced at a media teleconference yesterday that the InSight mission to Mars has now been postponed, for at least two years, due to a leak in a seismometer instrument which cannot be repaired in time for the planned launch in March 2016. The […]

NASA's InSight Lander Arrives at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Prepares for Launch to Mars

A crate containing the InSight lander is loaded onto a C-17 cargo aircraft at Buckley Air Force Base, Denver. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Lockheed Martin

A crate containing the InSight lander is loaded onto a C-17 cargo aircraft at Buckley Air Force Base, Denver. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Lockheed Martin

Update: Just after this article was published, it was announced that there may be a launch delay due to the problem with a vacuum leak in the seismometer instrument. Today, NASA […]

Cassini Prepares for Last Epic Flyby of Saturn's Ocean Moon Enceladus

Cassini's final close flyby of Enceladus will be on Dec. 18, 2015. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Cassini’s final close flyby of Enceladus will be on Dec. 19, 2015. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Cassini spacecraft’s discoveries about the tiny moon Enceladus have been some of the most exciting of the entire mission at Saturn. What was once thought to likely be little more than a frozen ice world has turned out […]

Welcome to Bagnold: Curiosity Rover Reaches Massive Dark Sand Dunes Near Mount Sharp

View overlooking part of High Dune, which is covered in smaller sand ripples. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

View overlooking part of High Dune, which is covered in smaller sand ripples. The image is white-balanced, to show how the scene would look under more Earth-like conditions. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Since landing in 2012, the Curiosity rover has seen a lot of varied terrain within Gale crater, including ancient riverbed gravel, sandstone and […]

Mystery Solved? Odd Bright Spots on Ceres Explained as Salt Deposits

False color view of Occator crater on Ceres, showing the unusual brights spots. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

False color view of Occator crater on Ceres, showing the unusual bright spots. The image was taken by the framing camera on NASA’s Dawn spacecraft from a distance of about 2,700 miles (4,400 kilometers). Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

There now might be a definitive answer to a puzzle which has intrigued both scientists and the […]

Vacuum Leak Discovered in Key Science Instrument for InSight Mission to Mars

Artist's conception of the InSight lander on Mars. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Artist’s conception of the InSight lander on Mars. The SEIS instrument is the dome-shaped object in the foreground. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

One of the science instruments being installed on the InSight lander is experiencing a vacuum leak, according to an update posted Dec. 3 on the JPL website. The leak is in the vacuum container […]