Kepler Mission Continues With Campaign 11 Observations After Short Delay

Graphic showing two full-frame images from Kepler. Modules 3 and 7 failed earlier during Campaign 10 and Module 7 failed later. Image Credit: NASA Ames/W. Stenzel

The Kepler K2 mission has now resumed after a delay of three days, NASA has reported. The Kepler Space Telescope is currently in Campaign 11, during which it […]

Goodnight, Sweet Philae: Bid to Reawaken Rosetta's Lander Near Impossible

From ESA, “Welcome to a Comet”: “Philae’s view of the cliffs at Abydos. One of the lander’s three feet can be seen in the foreground.” Image Credit: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

It would have been a heroic coda to an already ambitious, historic mission, but alas, it was not meant to be. For the past few months, […]

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 […]

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 […]

Rosetta Detects Molecular Oxygen at Comet 67P, Adding to Year of Firsts

From ESA: “This single frame Rosetta navigation camera image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was taken on 18 October 2015 from a distance of 433 km from the comet centre. The image has a resolution of 36.9 m/pixel and measures 37.8 km across.” Image Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NavCam (Note: This image has been cropped.)

The European Space Agency’s […]

Rosetta Scientists Answer Question of How 'Rubber Duck' Comet 67P Got Its Shape

Image from July 14, 2015, showing the double-lobed or “rubber duck” shape of Comet 67P and outgassing of water vapor, gas, and dust. Image Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0

Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, or 67P, has been the focus of intense study by the Rosetta spacecraft since 2014. One of the key mysteries scientists […]

Rosetta Spacecraft Observes 'Dramatic and Rapid' Changes on Surface of Comet 67P

Sequence of images showing the surface changes in the Imhotep region. Image Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Since August 2014, the Rosetta spacecraft has been orbiting Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, providing an unprecedented look at an active comet as it moves closer to the Sun in its orbit. As expected, the level of activity increased […]

OSIRIS-REx Taking Shape, Engineers Explain Innovative Asteroid Sample Return Mechanism

Artist concept of OSIRIS-REx. Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

Artist concept of OSIRIS-REx in the environs of Asteroid Bennu, sometime after 2018. Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

While avid space watchers may thrill to missions such as Stardust (which returned a sample from a comet), Dawn (which visited an asteroid and dwarf planet), and Rosetta (which placed a lander upon a comet’s surface), […]

A Perfect Day for Sunbathing: A Year After Its Arrival, Rosetta Observes Comet 67P at Perihelion

From ESA: “This series of images of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko was captured by Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera on 12 August 2015, just a few hours before the comet reached the closest point to the Sun along its 6.5-year orbit, or perihelion.” The center image shows a significant outburst. Image Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

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Philae's First Science Results Highlight an Unexpected Cometary World

From ESA: “Zooming in to a portion of the fractured cliff face imaged by CIVA camera 4 reveals brightness variations in the comet’s surface properties down to centimetre and millimetre scales. The dominant constituents are very dark conglomerates, likely made of organics. The brighter spots could represent mineral grains, perhaps even pointing to ice-rich […]