Science News

Space Mission Prepares for Historic Landing on a Comet

28 August 2014
The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission has selected five possible landing sites on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P) for its Philae probe. Philae's descent to the comet's nucleus, scheduled in November 2014, will be the first comet landing ever. The lander will carry out comprehensive analysis of the comet's composition by drilling into its surface.

Observing Saturn’s Amazing Weather

26 August 2014
Like a giant eye for the ringed giant planet, Saturn's huge vortex (Fig. 1) on its north pole appears to gaze at NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, while the probe was imaging it.

Readying for Pluto Encounter

19 August 2014
NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has taken a movie of dwarf planet Pluto (2,300 km across) and its largest moon, Charon (1,200 km across), preparing for the first visit ever to this distant mysterious system in July 2015.

Comet at Your Fingertips!

18 August 2014
The European Space Agency (ESA) recently published anaglyph 3D images of Comet 67P, produced using images from the Rosetta spacecraft, which arrived at 67P, on 6 August. The anaglyphs allow the surface features of the comet’s nucleus to be perceived, using 3D glasses.

Ten Years of a Historic Mission

04 August 2014
On 3 August 2004, NASA’s MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, for a daring mission that would take the small probe dangerously close to the surface of Mercury, to begin an unprecedented exploration of the innermost and smallest planet.

Spacecraft Chases a Double Comet

24 July 2014
On 14 July 2014, the European spacecraft Rosetta, which is currently approaching a comet technically known as 67P, took images of its target, suggesting that this comet may consist of two distinct parts or two objects in contact. One segment seems to be of an elongated shape, while the other is more round. Rosetta was at a distance of approximately 12,000 km from 67P.

Curiosity Mars Rover Finds a Meteorite

16 July 2014
Fig. 1 shows an iron meteorite discovered by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover, which has been exploring Mars for nearly two years. The meteorite has been dubbed "Lebanon," and it is similar in shape and luster to iron meteorites found on Mars by the previous rover missions, Spirit and Opportunity. Lebanon is about 2 meters across (left to right, from the view in Fig. 1). The smaller fragment in the foreground is called "Lebanon B."

Discovery of an Earth-sized Planet in a Binary Star System

08 July 2014
Exoplanets are planets orbiting outside our solar system. So far, astronomers have discovered around 1,800 exoplanets, through an earnest search, applying various observation techniques. A newly discovered exoplanet orbiting in a distant star system lying 3,000 light-years away from Earth, provides new insights into the search for Earth-like or even potentially habitable planets.

NASA Tests a UFO-like Vehicle in the Upper Atmosphere

01 July 2014
On the morning of 28 June 2014, NASA launched a balloon, carrying a novel saucer-shaped test vehicle, known as LDSD, from the US Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. The LDSD was developed to evaluate new landing techniques for future missions to Mars, the Red Planet. The LDSD dropped from the balloon 2 hours and 20 minutes after launch, and started powered flight, at an altitude of about 120,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean. In the end of the successful test, LDSD splashed down in the ocean, approximately 30 minutes later

Two Years on Mars

29 June 2014
On 24 June 2014, NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity completed a full Martian year, 687 Earth days, having accomplished the mission's main goal of determining whether the past environmental conditions on Mars were once hospitable for microbial life.

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