'Weird Object' Discovered Beyond Neptune: A Clue in the Quest for Planet Nine?

The newly discovered object called Niku is a real oddity (artist's conception). It is also part of a group of many such objects far past Neptune in the outer Solar System. Image Credit: ESO/L. Calçada/Nick Risinger

The newly discovered object called Niku is a real oddity (artist’s conception). It is also part of a group of many such objects far past Neptune in the outer Solar System. Image Credit: ESO/L. Calçada/Nick Risinger

For the most part, the Solar System seems to be a rather well-ordered place; the planets, dwarf planets, […]

Solar Probe Plus Mission Moves Closer to 'Touching the Sun' in 2024

Artist's conception of the Solar Probe Plus spacecraft near the Sun. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL

Artist’s conception of the Solar Probe Plus spacecraft near the Sun. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL

The Solar System is a busy place, with spacecraft currently visiting most of the planets as well as some dwarf planets and comets. Akatsuki is at Venus, several rovers and orbiters are at Mars, the Juno spacecraft just reached Jupiter, […]

GJ 1132b: Nearest Earth-Sized Exoplanet Discovered So Far May Be a 'Venus Twin'

Artist's conception of GJ 1132b, an Earth-sized exoplanet orbiting a nearby star. Conditions on this world, however, are more like Venus than Earth. Image Credit: Dana Berry

Artist’s conception of GJ 1132b, an Earth-sized exoplanet orbiting a nearby star. Conditions on this world, however, are probably more like Venus than Earth. Image Credit: Dana Berry

Astronomers have discovered another Earth-sized exoplanet that is the closest one to our own Solar System found so far, but it might not be a nice place […]

New Study Suggests Cloudy Weather and Molten Metal Downpours on Rogue Exoplanet

An artist's concept of the free-floating planet PSO J318.5-22. Astronomers have found evidence that the planet is covered with clouds which rain down molten metals, even in the coldness of interstellar space. Image Credit: MPIA/V. Ch. Quetz

An artist’s concept of the free-floating planet PSO J318.5-22. Astronomers have found evidence that the planet is covered with clouds which rain down molten metals, even in the coldness of interstellar space. Image Credit: MPIA/V. Ch. Quetz

We tend to define planets as objects that need a star around which to revolve. Yet, as […]

New NASA Planetary Science Proposals Include Venus and 'Metallic Asteroid' Missions

Artist's conception of the VERITAS spacecraft in orbit around Venus. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Artist’s conception of the VERITAS spacecraft in orbit around Venus. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Looking ahead to future planetary missions, NASA has selected five new science investigations for refinement over the next year. Later, one or two of those missions will be chosen to actually be launched, perhaps as early as 2020. The selections are […]

NASA Awards Grants to Ozark IC to Create Circuits for Proposed Venus Rover

Artist's conception of the Venus Landsailing Rover. Image Credit: NASA GRC

Artist’s conception of the Venus Landsailing Rover. It would use advanced circuits which could survive longer than previous landers in the extreme surface conditions. A “sail” on top would help to move the rover on the surface using wind, a technique known as landsailing. Image Credit: NASA GRC

In what may be a significant […]

One Day to Pluto: Looking Back at Humanity's First-Time Successful Encounters With the Sun's Planets

Tomorrow’s historic flyby of the dwarf planet Pluto and its binary companion, Charon, will mark the completion of humanity’s first-time exploration of each of the Solar System’s nine traditional planets. Photo Credit: NASA

Tomorrow, the United States will become the first nation to have conducted a close-range reconnaissance of all nine “traditional” planets in […]

Flying (Mostly) Friendly Skies: Northrop Grumman Developing Airplane to Cruise Atmosphere of Venus

Artist’s conception of the Venus Atmospheric Maneuverable Platform (VAMP) aircraft in the atmosphere of Venus. Image Credit: Northrop Grumman artist’s concept

With so much attention now on the rovers and spacecraft at Mars, Saturn, Ceres, comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and, soon, Pluto, it may seem like Earth’s closest planetary neighbor Venus has been forgotten again. But no, […]

New Technique to Study Clouds on Exoplanets Developed by Researchers at MIT

Artist’s conception of clouds on Kepler-7b. Image Credit: NASA (edited by Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT)

While exoplanets are now being discovered by the thousands, it is still a painstaking process to determine any specific details about them, since they are so incredibly far away. However, astronomers have been devising new techniques to do just that, including […]

Getting Closer! New Horizons Sees Two of Pluto's Smaller Moons for First Time

Long-exposure images taken by New Horizons between Jan. 27 and Feb. 8, 2015, showing the two tiny moons Hydra (inside yellow diamond) and Nix (inside orange diamond). Image Credit: Image credits: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

The New Horizons spacecraft, on course for a historic encounter with Pluto this summer, is […]