NASA's SOFIA Observatory Makes First Direct Detection of Water in Sunlit Lunar Soil

Illustration depicting water molecules trapped in lunar soil, along with SOFIA onboard a modified Boeing 747SP jetliner. Image Credit: NASA/Daniel Rutterit

The Moon is generally thought of as a very dry place, with no surface water or even water vapor clouds. Nothing but arid, dusty regolith and rocks. That’s true for the most part, […]

Spacecraft Assembly Begins for NASA's OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample Return Mission

Artist concept of OSIRIS-REx, the first U.S. mission to return samples from an asteroid to Earth. Image Credit: NASA/Goddard

The first United States mission in history to launch a robotic spacecraft to an asteroid, retrieve samples, and return those samples back to Earth for study just passed a big milestone in its development […]

Scientists Debate How to Search for Life on Europa in New Mission

Jupiter’s ice-covered moon Europa hides a water ocean beneath its surface. A return mission is now planned to help search for evidence of life there. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL

Jupiter’s moon Europa, with its subsurface ocean, is considered by many to be the best place in the Solar System to search for extraterrestrial life. […]

T-100 Days to 'Sleeping Beauty' Rosetta's Wake-Up Call

Rosetta and its Philae landing craft will arrive at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in 2014. Less than 100 days now remain before the craft are due to be revived from their 2.5-year deep-space hibernation. Image Credit: ESA

According to the Brothers Grimm, Sleeping Beauty was condemned to sleep for 100 years, but for the European […]

NASA's Comet-Chasing Deep Impact Mission Is No More

An artist’s concept of the Deep Impact spacecraft flying past a comet. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/UMD/Pat Rawlings

Nine years ago NASA launched a spacecraft to do something that had never been done at any point in recorded history: to visit a comet and punch a hole in its face to investigate the surface and […]

JPL Attempting to Reestablish Communication With Comet Hunter Deep Impact

The Deep Impact spacecraft, depicted here in flight, is feared lost after a period of no communication since Aug. 8. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

NASA announced Tuesday, Sept. 10 that ground controllers have lost contact with its flagship comet-hunting probe Deep Impact, which is part of the Discovery Program managed at Marshall Space Flight […]

Spitzer Space Telescope Celebrates 10 Years of Astronomical Discovery

The infrared vision of NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed that the Sombrero galaxy—named after its appearance in visible light to a wide-brimmed hat—is in fact two galaxies in one. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Ten years ago tonight, NASA’s fourth “Great Observatory”—the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF)—was boosted into orbit from Cape Canaveral Air […]

Skylab's Long-Haired Messenger: The Visitation of Comet Kohoutek

Skylab and its Apollo Telescope Mount (ATM)—seen here with its “windmill” of solar arrays—was a critical asset in observing Comet Kohoutek in the winter of 1973-74. Photo Credit: NASA

Forty years ago, nine men occupied America’s first space station, high above the Earth. Much of the history of Skylab is clouded by its […]

Comet ISON Fizzes Like a Soda Pop

Photo Credit: NASA / SST

Coming soon to a region of space near you: comet ISON, which is expected to put on a spectacular show toward the end of the year. Currently, ISON is about 258 million miles from the Sun, between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars. Its tail already stretches out […]

How to Target an Asteroid

This spectacular image of comet Tempel 1 was taken 67 seconds after it obliterated Deep Impact’s impactor spacecraft. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD

Like many of his colleagues at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., Shyam Bhaskaran is working a lot with asteroids these days. And also like many of his colleagues, the deep space […]