AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch SMAP on a Delta II 7320 rocket from Vandenberg AFB, CA
scheduled for:
31 Jan 15 14:22:00 GMT
31 Jan 15 6:22:00 PST
31 Jan 15 9:22:00 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 own […]

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 […]

Cool New Technology Will Allow Scientists to Work Virtually on Mars in 3-D

A screen view from OnSight, showing how scientists can meet together in a virtual 3-D simulation on the Martian surface. Such technology will allow scientists to better study features of interest and plan rover or lander activities. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The rover and lander missions on Mars have been cool enough with their high-tech […]

Kepler Discovers Three Super-Earth Exoplanets Orbiting Nearby Star

Cartoon illustration depicting how the three newly-found planets’ shadows (right side) can be seen as eclipses from Earth (left side) as they transit in front of their star. Image Credit: K. Teramura, UH IfA.

Last week was a good one for exoplanet enthusiasts, with yet more news relating to how other worlds are now […]

IMAX Filming, Research, and Dragon Arrival Highlight First Full Week of New Year on ISS

Member of the Expedition 42 crew onboard the International Space Station celebrating Russian Christmas with a video call to friends and family and an Orthodox choir in Moscow. Photo Credit: NASA

The first full week of the new year was busy on the International Space Station (ISS), aside from Wednesday, when the entire […]

Kepler Confirms Over 1,000 Exoplanets, Finds More Potentially Habitable Worlds

Illustration of the eight newly verified exoplanets which are less than twice the size of Earth and orbit within their stars’ habitable zones. Image Credit: NASA/JPL

Even after problems threatened to end the Kepler space telescope’s mission for good last year, the planet-hunting observatory has continued to help astronomers discover thousands of exoplanets orbiting […]

Scorching Hot Venus May Have Once Had Oceans ... of Carbon Dioxide

Radar image of the northern hemisphere of Venus, taken by the Magellan spacecraft. Radar is necessary to see through Venus’ perpetual cloud cover. Image Credit: NASA/JPL

The continued exploration of the planets and moons in our Solar System have revealed many strange things, including that Earth is not the only place with oceans and […]

NASA JPL Gecko-Inspired Gripping Technology Performs Tests in Microgravity

A grappling tool developed by researchers at NASA JPL uses switchable adhesives to grapple non-cooperative objects in microgravity. Photo Credit: NASA

More than 500,000 pieces of space debris orbit Earth, traveling at speeds up to 175,000 mph. A small piece of space debris traveling at these velocities could significantly damage a spacecraft or a […]

Tilted Aquaplanets Might Still be Habitable, Study Suggests

Artist’s conception of an ocean-covered aquaplanet. Image Credit: Christine Daniloff/MIT

With so many exoplanets now being discovered on a regular basis by astronomers, the focus has turned to what number of them might be habitable for some kind of life. For life as we know it at least, that depends on a number of […]

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 […]