Kepler Update: Earth's 'Bigger and Older Cousin' Discovered Orbiting Distant Star

Artist’s conception of Kepler-452b, the first near-Earth-sized exoplanet discovered orbiting in the habitable zone of a Sun-like star. Image Credit: NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

One of the primary goals in the search for exoplanets is to, hopefully, find an Earth analog or “Earth twin,” an alien world similar to our own. That search is still […]

Methane Discovered in Martian Meteorites: A Clue to Possible Life?

Methane has been discovered in some meteorites originating from Mars. Could it be a clue to life? Image Credit: Image by Michael Helfenbein

Methane has been discovered in some meteorites originating from Mars. Could it be a clue to life? Image Credit: Michael Helfenbein

The puzzle of methane on Mars has taken an interesting new twist: For the first time, the gas has been detected within Martian meteorites. The finding adds another layer to the ongoing controversy over […]

Early Mars May Have Been Cold and Icy Rather Than Warm, According to New Study

Conceptual image of the two competing warm or cold models of early Mars. Image Credit: Robin D. Wordsworth

Conceptual image of the two competing warm and cold models of early Mars. Image Credit: Robin D. Wordsworth

The debate over whether Mars used to be warmer and wetter or colder and wetter earlier in its history has been a long and contentious one. Now, a new study suggests it may be the latter, that […]

Mars Cube One: New Deep-Space CubeSats Will Travel to Mars Along With InSight Lander

Artist's conception of the MarCO CubeSats flying past Mars as the InSight lander descends to the surface. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Artist’s conception of the MarCO CubeSats flying past Mars as the InSight lander descends to the surface. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The next NASA mission to Mars, the InSight lander, will include some additional experimental technology: the first deep-space CubeSats. Two small CubeSats will fly past the planet as the lander is descending through the […]

LightSail A Success: Planetary Society Reviews Data and Plans for 2016 Mission

LightSail captured this image of its deployed solar sails in Earth orbit on June 8, 2015. Photo Credit and Caption: The Planetary Society

LightSail captured this image of its deployed solar sails in Earth orbit on June 8, 2015. Photo Credit and Caption: The Planetary Society

It’s not a true space mission without a little bit of drama, and The Planetary Society had just that. Unforeseen software glitches, spacecraft falling silent, and periods of no contact with […]

To Europa! NASA Announces Science Instruments for New Mission to Ocean Moon

The cracked icy surface of Europa. Could the ocean below support life? The Europa Clipper mission will try to answer that question. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Ted Stryk

An exciting new development in planetary exploration was announced today: NASA has chosen the science instruments which will be included in a new mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa. […]

Astronomers Find First Evidence of Possible Volcanic Activity On a Super-Earth Exoplanet

Artist’s conception of super-Earth exoplanet 55 Cancri e, before and after volcanic activity on its day side. The surface may be partially molten. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt

Discovering new exoplanets has become rather routine in the last few years, but determining just what conditions exist on any of them is naturally more difficult, since […]

NASA Space Telescope Sees Possible X-Ray 'Screams' From Zombie Stars

Illustration showing the central region of our galaxy as seen by NuSTAR (magenta circle). The smaller circle shows where the image was taken. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

It sounds like something from a bad sci-fi movie, but a NASA space telescope has detected what might be the X-ray “screams” from dead (zombie) stars. The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope […]

Just Add Water: Scientists Explain Saturn's Powerful Thunderstorms

A giant storm in Saturn’s northern hemisphere, which now extends around the planet, as seen by the Cassini spacecraft. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Thunderstorms are a powerful force of nature, but the ones we experience on Earth are dwarfed by the ones on the gas giant planet Saturn. They are huge and can be larger […]