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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Venus Express Spacecraft Goes Out With a Shout, Ends Triumphant Mission Around Earth's 'Twisted Sister'

An artist’s concept of ESA’s Venus Express spacecraft, while diving into the atmosphere of Venus during its aerobraking manoeuvres in 2014. Having already depleted its onboard fuel reserves, the spacecraft finally went silent earlier this month, indicating that it had probably taken its last, fateful plunge into Venus’ infernal atmosphere. Image Credit: Image Credit: […]

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 […]

NASA Undecided on Asteroid Redirect Mission Concept as Near-Earth Asteroid Approaches for Flyby

This graphic depicts the passage of asteroid 2004 BL86, which will come no closer than about three times the distance from Earth to the moon on Jan. 26, 2015. Due to its orbit around the sun, the asteroid is currently only visible by astronomers with large telescopes who are located in the southern hemisphere. But by Jan. 26, the space rock's changing position will make it visible to those in the northern hemisphere. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This graphic depicts the passage of asteroid 2004 BL86, which will come no closer than about three times the distance from Earth to the Moon on Jan. 26, 2015. Due to its orbit around the Sun, the asteroid is currently only visible by astronomers with large telescopes who are located in the southern hemisphere. […]

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 […]

Coming Down the Home Stretch: New Horizons Begins Historic Long-Range Reconnaissance of Pluto, Prior to Closest Approach in July

Artist’s concept of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft as it passes by Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, in July 2015. Following its wake-up call from its hibernation late last year, the spacecraft has just entered the first leg of its approach phase to the Pluto system. Image Credit: NASA/JHU APL/SwRI/Steve Gribben

Nine years ago […]

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 […]

MESSENGER Gets Small Reprieve Prior to End of Mission in 2015

Artist’s impression of MESSENGER in orbit around Mercury. Following a highly successful decade-long mission, the spacecraft will eventually face its demise while crashing on Mercury’s surface, sometime next spring. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

The coming of the New Year is a time for celebration and reflection on […]

New Study Suggests Europa Is Far Less Geophysically Active Than Previously Thought

An artist’s impression of Jupiter and its moon Europa, based on actual visible light images. Last year, a team of astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope, had reported the detection of signs of water vapour being vented off Europa’s south pole. A new study comes to challenge this interpretation, by presenting evidence that Europa’s […]

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 […]

Voyager 1 Detects 'Tsunami' Wave From Sun Still Going Strong Beyond the Heliopause

An artist’s concept of Voyager 1 against a backdrop of stars. Having crossed into interstellar space, the spacecraft has detected that a shockwave from a Coronal Mass Ejection which was blasted from the Sun more than a year ago, is still travelling outward into the interstellar medium. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Having long ago completed […]