AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch ORB-3 on a Antares rocket from Wallops Island, VA
scheduled for:
27 Oct 14 22:44:00 GMT
27 Oct 14 18:44:00 EDT

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MESSENGER Takes First Images of Ice Near Mercury's North Pole

Wide-Angle Camera (WAC) image of Kandinsky crater, near Mercury’s north pole, which contains water ice. The original broadband image is on the left (outlined in yellow), and the brightness and contrast-enhanced version is on the right. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

The Solar System is full of surprises. [...]

New Uranus-Like 'Ice Giant' Exoplanet Discovered

Artist’s conception of an ice giant type exoplanet. Image Credit: NASA/ESA/G. Bacon (STScI)

Many different kinds of exoplanets have been found by astronomers, from giant “hot Jupiters” and “super Earths” to smaller rocky worlds like Earth or Mars. Now, another type has been discovered, an “ice giant” similar to Uranus or Neptune in our [...]

Astronomers Create Most Detailed Weather Map Yet of an Exoplanet

Graphic depicting how WASP-43b orbits its star, always keeping the same hemisphere facing the star, much like how the Moon always keeps the same hemisphere facing the Earth. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and Z. Levay (STScI)

Being able to find exoplanets orbiting distant stars is a major accomplishment in itself, and fine-tuning the data [...]

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 [...]

New Study Points to Alternative Origin for the 'Man in the Moon'

Oceanus Procellarum, or Ocean of Storms, an expansive flat basaltic basin that covers approximately 17 percent of the Moon’s near side, is surrounded by a series of linear gravitational anomalies (shown in red), as revealed by NASA’s GRAIL spacecraft. These anomalies indicate that the large basin was formed by volcanic processes rather than an [...]

Most of the Water In the Solar System Is Older Than the Sun, New Study Suggests

An artist’s concept of the formation process of the Solar System out of an interstellar molecular cloud and its enrichment with water. A recent study has indicated that up to half of Earth’s water is older than the Sun itself, likely originating in that cold molecular cloud that spawned our Solar System. Image credit: [...]

Landing Site Selected for First-Ever Attempt to Land on a Comet

Landing site J, marked by the white + sign, on the head of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Image Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

A landing site has now been chosen for the Rosetta spacecraft’s lander, Philae, on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, it was announced this morning. After several candidate landing sites had been considered, site J has now [...]

Living On the Edge: The Icy Plains of Enceladus (Part 3)

Lit by reflected light from Saturn, Enceladus appears to hover above the gleaming rings with its well-defined ice particle jets spraying a continuous hail of tiny ice grains, in this image taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft in 2006 from a distance of 1.303 million kilometers. The 500-km-wide moon has excited the scientific community and [...]

Living On the Edge: Life Under the Ice (Part 1)

After drilling through the 800-meter-thick ice sheet that covers subglacial Lake Whillans in western Antarctica, a U.S. research team discovered a thriving microbial ecosystem on the lake floor that hasn’t been reached by sunlight possibly for up to a million years. The image shows the view down the bore hole as the drill melted [...]

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 [...]