'Just a Normal Day': Remembering John Glenn's Mercury Flight (Part 2)

Bobbing gently in the waves after a highly successful – though nail-bitingly harrowing – mission, Friendship 7 is readied for winching out of the water. Photo Credit: NASA

On the afternoon of 20 February 1962, millions of Americans listened and watched, transfixed as their countryman, John Glenn, plummeted back to Earth after completing three […]

'Zero-G and I Feel Fine': Remembering John Glenn's Mercury Flight (Part 1)

Blurred and somewhat lacking in detail, this image of John Glenn in orbit aboard Friendship 7 represents one of the United States’ greatest advances in space technology in the 20th century: the effort to achieve piloted orbital flight. Photo Credit: NASA

Two months after his death, aged 95, Monday will be a somber date […]

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

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, […]

A Pioneering Spirit: NASA's Katherine Johnson Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom

From NASA: “Katherine Johnson sits at her desk with a globe, or ‘Celestial Training Device.’” Johnson’s work as a research mathematician contributed to NASA’s successes from the Mercury to the Shuttle programs, and beyond. Photo Credit: NASA

Decades before astronaut Sally Ride became the first U.S. woman to soar into space, and a decade […]

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

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 […]

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 […]

Jack King, NASA's 'Voice of Apollo,' Passes Away at Age 84

Jack King, the first chief of Public Information for NASA’s Launch Operations Center at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, briefs the news media on the May 2, 1961, postponement of the launch of Mercury Redstone-3 due to unfavorable weather. Three days later, astronaut Alan Shepard made history as the first American in space. The […]

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 […]

SpaceX Prepares for Latest in Long History of Critical Pad Abort Tests (Part 1)

The LJ-1B Little Joe mission launches from Wallops on 21 January 1960, carrying “Miss Sam”, the second rhesus passenger, on a critical Pad Abort Test for Project Mercury. Photo Credit: NASA

Following the recent successes of the CRS-6 Dragon launch toward the International Space Station (ISS) on 14 April and last week’s flight of […]

Rest In Pieces: MESSENGER Ends Orbital Operations, Impacts Mercury's Surface

The MESSENGER spacecraft, depicted in this artist’s rendering, began studying Mercury in 2011. Today, its mission ended with its impact on the far side of the planet. Image Credit: NASA

Here’s MESSENGER by the numbers: Years since launching: 10+; Years in Mercury’s orbit: Four; Number of orbits: 4,105; Size of its impact crater: Estimated […]