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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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 [...]

Living On the Edge: In the Realm of the Ice Giants (Part 5)

An artist’s concept of Neptune as seen from the surface of its largest moon Triton. Could this distant cold moon harbor an underground habitat for life in the outer reaches of the Solar System approximately 4.5 billion km from the Sun? Image Credit: Wikipedia

“Four happy days bring in Another moon; but O, [...]

A Windy World: 25 Years Since Voyager 2's Mission to Neptune (Part 3)

The Great Dark Spot and Bright Companion, together with the chevron-like “Scooter” and D-2, are visible in this Voyager 2 image of Neptune. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years ago, this week, humanity braced itself for its last, first-time, close-up glimpse of a new planet in the 20th century. NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft, launched in [...]

A Troubled Start to a Triumphant Mission: 37 Years Since the Launch of the Voyagers

Voyager 2 begins its journey of exploration, 37 years ago today (20 August), with a rousing liftoff atop a Titan IIIE-Centaur booster from Launch Complex (LC)-41 at Cape Canaveral. Photo Credit: NASA

A quarter-century ago, this week, NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft became the first machine fashioned by human hands to travel close to the [...]

A Risky Rendezvous: 25 Years Since Voyager 2's Mission to Neptune (Part 2)

High-altitude clouds of Neptune, as seen by Voyager 2. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years ago, this week, humanity braced itself for its last, first-time, close-up glimpse of a new planet in the 20th century. NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft, launched in August 1977, had already conducted a breathtaking exploration of Jupiter and Saturn—together with its [...]

A Gigantic Radio Ear: 25 Years Since Voyager 2's Mission to Neptune (Part 1)

In spite of its immense distance from the Sun, Neptune proved a surprise in terms of the dynamism of its atmosphere. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years ago, this week, humanity braced itself for its last, first-time, close-up glimpse of a new planet in the 20th century. NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft, launched in August 1977, [...]

Astronomers Discover First Ice Giant Exoplanet Candidate in Long-Period Orbit

This artist’s concept shows Kepler-421b, a Uranus-sized transiting exoplanet with the longest known year, circling its star once every 704 days. Kepler-421b orbits an orange, K-type star that is cooler and dimmer than our Sun and is located about 1,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Lyra. Image Credit/Caption: Harvard-Smithsonian, Center for Astrophysics/D. A. [...]

Solar System's Largest Moon Ganymede May Have 'Club Sandwich' Oceans

Illustration depicting the “club sandwich” layers of oceans and ice in Ganymede’s interior. Image Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

Europa and Enceladus, for good reason, have captured the attention and imagination of those searching for evidence of life elsewhere in our Solar System. Both moons are now thought to have subsurface oceans with conditions where [...]

Surprise Discovery: Rings Around an Asteroid!

Artist’s conception of the asteroid Chariklo with its ring system. Image Credit: ESO/L. Calçada/M. Kornmesser/Nick Risinger (skysurvey.org)

When it comes to planetary rings, what do you think of? Saturn is the first obvious thing that comes to mind, with its famous majestic ring system surrounding the gas giant planet. The other gas and ice [...]

The Majestic Realm of a Forgotten World: The Alluring Mysteries of Uranus

A false-color photograph of Uranus, its rings, and 10 of its moons, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope’s Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer in near-infrared wavelengths. As seen in this photo, there’s so much more to see on Uranus than meets the eye. This enigmatic world deserves a dedicated space mission to be [...]