Testing Panspermia: Searching for 'Bubbles of Life' in the Galaxy

Does life spread through the galaxy like an infectious disease, with "bubbles" of inhabited planets? Image Credit: Harvard-Smithsonian CfA

Does life spread through the galaxy like an infectious disease, with “bubbles” of inhabited planets? Image Credit: Harvard-Smithsonian CfA

We still don’t know if there is life elsewhere in the universe, but scientists are working on techniques to better understand how it may have originated anyway, in the event that such alien biology is […]

Back to the Ice Giants: Proposed New Mission Would Re-Visit Uranus or Neptune (or Both!)

Uranus (left) and Neptune (right). These two ice giants and their many moons are awaiting further exploration. Image Credit: NASA

Uranus (left) and Neptune (right). These two ice giants and their many moons are awaiting further exploration. Image Credit: NASA

The outer Solar System has been a busy place lately, with the ongoing Cassini mission at Saturn and New Horizons’ recent spectacular flyby of Pluto. Literally in-between those two worlds, however, it has been […]

Two Years From Today: Get Ready For the Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017

A total eclipse of the Sun, showing the Sun's atmosphere, or corona, stretching out, which is not normally visible during daylight. Photo Credit: Fred Espenak/NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

A total eclipse of the Sun, showing the Sun’s atmosphere, or corona, stretching out into space, which is not normally visible during daylight. Photo Credit: Fred Espenak/NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Exactly two years from today, on Aug. 21, 2017, a rare total solar eclipse will be seen again in the skies of the […]

The Early Solar System Could Have Hosted a Fifth Giant Planet, According to New Study

Artist’s impression of a rogue gas giant planet, free-floating in interstellar space. According to a new study, the early Solar System hosted a fifth gas giant planet besides Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, which was eventually ejected into interstellar space through the gravitational interactions with the rest of the Solar System’s giant planets. Image […]

First Successful Mars Landing Mission: 40 Years Since the Launch of Viking 1

 

The first “clear” image of the surface of Mars, captured by Viking 1 in July 1976. The lander and its orbiter were launched 40 years ago, today, on 20 August 1975. Photo Credit: NASA

In the second decade of the 21st century, we have grown accustomed to a steady output of scientific data […]

Our 'Glowing Moon': LADEE Spacecraft Discovers Neon in Lunar Atmosphere

Artist's conception of the LADEE spacecraft orbiting the Moon. It's findings will help scientists to better understand thin exospheres, such as the one our own Moon has. Image Credit: NASA Ames/Dana Berry

Artist’s conception of the LADEE spacecraft orbiting the Moon. Its findings will help scientists to better understand thin exospheres, such as the one our own Moon has. Image Credit: NASA Ames/Dana Berry

The existence of neon gas in our Moon’s ultra-thin atmosphere has been confirmed for the first time, by NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and […]

Gemini Planet Imager Finds Its First Exoplanet, a Methane-Rich 'Young Jupiter'

Discovery image of the exoplanet 51 Eridani b taken by the Gemini Planet Imager on December 21 2014. Image Credit:  J. Rameau (UdeM)/C. Marois (NRC Herzberg)

Discovery near-infrared image of the exoplanet 51 Eridani b taken by the Gemini Planet Imager on Dec. 21, 2014. The relative size of Saturn’s orbit is also shown for comparison. Image Credit: Gemini Observatory/J. Rameau (UdeM)/C. Marois (NRC Herzberg)

The Gemini Planet Imager, a new telescopic instrument designed to find, image, and study faint, young planets orbiting bright stars, has discovered its first exoplanet: a young Jupiter-like planet called 51 Eridani b which orbits […]

New Study Suggests Abundance of Nitrogen on Pluto May Be Due to Cryovolcanism

A spectacular image of Pluto's atmosphere backlit by the Sun, taken during New Horizons' closest approach to Pluto on July 14. The bright halo of Pluto's atmosphere is caused by the scattering of sunlight from nitrogen, a compound that dominates the planet's atmosphere. A new study suggests that the source of all this nitrogen might be cryovolcanism on the distant planet. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

A spectacular image of Pluto’s atmosphere backlit by the Sun, taken during New Horizons’ closest approach to Pluto on July 14. The bright halo of Pluto’s atmosphere is caused by the scattering of sunlight from nitrogen, a compound that dominates the planet’s atmosphere. A new study suggests that the source of all this nitrogen […]

A Perfect Day for Sunbathing: A Year After Its Arrival, Rosetta Observes Comet 67P at Perihelion

From ESA: “This series of images of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko was captured by Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera on 12 August 2015, just a few hours before the comet reached the closest point to the Sun along its 6.5-year orbit, or perihelion.” The center image shows a significant outburst. Image Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

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Potential Landing Sites for Mars 2020 Rover Narrowed Down to Eight Locations

Map of the eight proposed landing sites for the Mars 2020 Rover. Image Credit: NASA/MOLA Science Team

NASA’s next Mars rover is due to launch in July or August 2020, and the number of potential landing sites has now been narrowed down by scientists to eight locations. Out of an initial list of 21 […]