2015 in Review: A Year of Spectacular Planetary Missions and Discoveries

High-resolution view of Pluto from New Horizons, showing rugged mountains and vast icy plains. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

To say that 2015 has been a great year for planetary exploration would be an understatement, with fantastic new discoveries from around the Solar System. From our first ever close-up look at Pluto and its moons, to […]

Ariane 5 Contracted for Early Morning Webb Telescope Launch from Amazon in October 2018

Arianespace Ariane 5 French Guiana ESA Ariane 5 rocket GSAT 1 image credit Arianespace posted on AmericaSpace

The massive Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket, seen here in action, is now contracted to launch the James Webb Space Telescope from ESA’s launch site in French Guiana. The rocket and its multi-billion dollar space observatory, if launched on the current schedule, will fly into early morning skies from the edge of the Amazon rainforest […]

More Voyages To Jupiter: As Juno Inches Closer To Gas Giant, JUICE Comes Closer To Reality

Artist’s impression of the JUICE mission. Image cropped for publication. Image Credit: ESA/AOES

While one NASA/JPL spacecraft is less than a year out from its rendezvous with our Solar System’s largest gas giant, another Jupiter-bound spacecraft is making its way from the drawing board to becoming science reality. On Wednesday, Dec. 9, the European […]

First of 18 Mirrors Installed as Final Assembly Phase for NASA's James Webb Space Telescope Begins

The first of 18 mirrors being installed in the James Webb Space Telescope, in the clean room at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Photo Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) just took a big step toward reality with the successful installation of the first of its many flight mirrors. This is […]

Rosetta Mission and Philae Lander Celebrate One Year Since Historic Touchdown on a Comet

Artist’s concept of Philae on the surface of Comet 67P, with the Rosetta spacecraft orbiting overhead. Image Credit: CNES/DUCROS David/ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta mission continues to capture the world’s imagination one year following the historic touchdown(s) of its Philae lander. On Nov. 12, Philae surpassed its one-year […]

A Moon Falling Apart: Grooves on Phobos Are a Sign of its Eventual Catastrophic Fate

The unusual grooves on Phobos’ surface, such as those on the left side of this image, are now thought to be caused by tidal stress. The large crater Stickney is in the upper portion of the image. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

Phobos is the largest of Mars’ two tiny moons, but 50 million […]

Cassini Completes Epic Flyby Through Geysers of Enceladus, Sends Back Stunning New Images

View of Enceladus and Saturn’s rings during the flyby on Oct. 28, 2015, at a distance of 106,000 miles (171,000 kilometers) from Enceladus. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

The Cassini spacecraft has successfully completed its deepest dive through the water vapor geysers of Enceladus and is now sending back some fantastic images of the […]

Sampling an Alien Ocean: Cassini Prepares for Deep Dive Through Enceladus' Geysers on Wednesday

Artist’s conception of Cassini making a close flyby of Enceladus and its water vapor plumes. Image Credit: NASA/JPL

This coming Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, the Cassini spacecraft will make a historic close flyby (dubbed “E21”) of Saturn’s tiny icy moon Enceladus, not only passing very close to the surface, but also making the deepest […]

Hubble Observes Largest Group of Faintest and Earliest Galaxies Ever Seen

Hubble view of a galaxy cluster containing some of the smallest and youngest galaxies ever observed. Image Credit: NASA/ESA/HST Frontier Fields team (STScI)

Peering ever further back in space and time, the Hubble Space Telescope has glimpsed the largest known group of the faintest and youngest primordial galaxies ever—over 250—some of which are estimated […]

Unusual Fast-Moving 'Ripples' Discovered in Planetary Debris Disk Surrounding Nearby Star

Hubble and VLT images of the “ripples” within the debris disk surrounding the young star AU Microscopii. Image Credit: ESO/NASA/ESA

Planetary debris disks, or protoplanetary disks, are some of the most interesting phenomena in astronomy – these giant clouds of dust and gas surrounding young stars are the birthplaces of new planets. Now, astronomers […]