'That Your Number Hadn't Come Up': 15 Years Since Columbia's Last Fully Successful Mission (Part 1)

The Hubble Space Telescope appears to “fly” over Earth as it is photographed during STS-109. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifteen years ago, next week, Columbia roared into orbit on her final wholly-successful mission, STS-109. It was the 27th flight of a vehicle which had ushered in the dawn of the Space Shuttle era, back in […]

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope Discovers Seven Earth-Sized Worlds Orbiting Nearby Star

Artist’s conception of standing on the surface of exoplanet TRAPPIST-1f. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The search for exoplanets – planets orbiting other stars – has been one of the most exciting developments in astronomy and space science in recent years. The first couple exoplanets were found in 1992, and now over 3,400 have been confirmed, […]

Landing on an Ocean Moon: NASA Unveils New Plan to Search for Life on Europa

Artist’s conception of the proposed Europa lander, with sampling arm extended. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

For decades now, Europa has beckoned – this moon of Jupiter which is frozen on the outside but hides a global ocean on the inside – has so far only been visited by spacecraft during brief flybys. Scientists and the […]

Voyager Spacecraft Continue Their Interstellar Journey With Help from Hubble Space Telescope

Artist’s illustrationn of Voyager 1 looking back on the Solar System. Image Credit: NASA/ESA/G. Bacon (STScI)

There have been many incredible planetary missions over the past several decades, from as close as our Moon to the outer reaches of the Solar System. Right now, there are robotic explorers at Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Ceres, and […]

NASA Engineers Complete First 'Center of Curvature' Test on James Webb Space Telescope

Engineers conducting a white light inspection of the James Webb Space Telescope, currently located in the clean room at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Photo Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has completed another significant milestone toward becoming the most powerful space telescope ever built: the finished primary […]

New Horizons Finishes Returning Pluto Data to Earth Before Continuing Farther into Kuiper Belt

Artist’s depiction of data being sent by New Horizons back to Earth. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

To say that the New Horizons mission has been a success would be a massive understatement; this first-ever spacecraft to visit Pluto has revolutionized our understanding of this distant, small world. Pluto and its moons are complex and active […]

Hubble Space Telescope Reveals 10 Times More Galaxies Than Previously Thought

Hubble image of galaxies visible in the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey (GOODS), one of the sources of data used in the new study. Photo Credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble

“Space is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the […]

NASA's Juno Spacecraft Enters Orbit Around Jupiter, the 'King of Planets'

Artist’s conception of Juno approaching Jupiter. Image Credit: NASA

Jupiter has often been referred to as the King of Planets, and for good reason, as it is a massive gas giant, much larger than Earth and the largest planet in our Solar System. It is more than 2.5 times as massive as all the […]

Hubble Space Telescope Analyzes Atmosphere of Super-Earth Exoplanet for First Time

Artist’s conception of 55 Cancri e, a searingly hot, carbon-rich world. Image Credit: ESA/Hubble, M. Kornmesser

Exoplanets are now being discovered by the thousands, but most are so far away that determining anything specific about their composition or atmosphere is currently very difficult. But technology keeps advancing, and scientists are now starting to be […]

New 2016 NASA Budget Fully Funds Europa Mission, Including Lander

A view many have been waiting for – artist’s concept of the surface of Europa. The new NASA budget brings this closer to reality, with funding for not only a flyby probe, but also a lander. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This was an exciting and very important week for NASA and planetary exploration: the new […]