Space & Exploration

NASA's Revolutionary Dragonfly Will Fly Around Titan Looking for Origins, Signs of Life!

NASA's Revolutionary Dragonfly Will Fly Around Titan Looking for Origins, Signs of Life!

NASA has announced that our next destination in the solar system is the unique, richly organic world Titan. Advancing our search for the building blocks of life, the Dragonfly mission will fly multiple sorties to sample and examine sites around Saturn’s icy moon.

Accelerating exoplanet discovery using chemical fingerprints of stars

Accelerating exoplanet discovery using chemical fingerprints of stars

Stars are born when huge clouds of dust and gas collapse in on themselves and ignite. These clouds are made up of raw elements, like oxygen and titanium, and each cloud has a unique composition that imprints on the star. And within the stellar afterbirth – from the material that didn’t find its way into the star – planets are formed.

Lakes on Titan Might Have Exotic Crystals Encrusted Around Their Shores

Lakes on Titan Might Have Exotic Crystals Encrusted Around Their Shores

Titan is a mysterious, strange place for human eyes. It’s a frigid world, with seas of liquid hydrocarbons, and a structure made up of layers of water, different kinds of ice, and a core of hydrous silicates. It may even have cryovolcanoes. Adding to the odd nature of Saturn’s largest moon is the presence of exotic crystals on the shores of its hydrocarbon lakes.

From miniature satellites to giant sun shields – the extreme technology transforming space engineering

From miniature satellites to giant sun shields – the extreme technology transforming space engineering

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first Apollo moon landing. This was possible thanks to an extraordinary acceleration of space technology. Within a remarkably short period of time leading up to the event, engineers had mastered rocket propulsion, on-board computing and space operations, partially thanks to an essentially unlimited budget.

Hubble is the Ultimate Multitasker: Discovering Asteroids While it’s Doing Other Observations

Hubble is the Ultimate Multitasker: Discovering Asteroids While it’s Doing Other Observations

It looks like a poster of the famous Hubble Deep Field, marked with white streaks by a child, or put away carelessly and scratched in the process. But it’s not. The white streaks aren’t accidents; they’re the paths of asteroids.

Curiosity Sniffs a Spike in Methane. Could it be a Sign of Life?

Curiosity Sniffs a Spike in Methane. Could it be a Sign of Life?

Since it landed on Mars in 2012, one of the main scientific objectives of the Curiosity rover has been finding evidence of past (or even present) life on the Red Planet. In 2014, the rover may have accomplished this very thing when it detected a tenfold increase in atmospheric methane in its vicinity and found traces of complex organic molecules in drill samples while poking around in the Gale Crater.

Hubble Finds Tiny “Electric Soccer Balls” in Space, Helps Solve Interstellar Mystery

Hubble Finds Tiny “Electric Soccer Balls” in Space, Helps Solve Interstellar Mystery

Scientists using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have confirmed the presence of electrically-charged molecules in space shaped like soccer balls, shedding light on the mysterious contents of the interstellar medium (ISM) – the gas and dust that fills interstellar space.

Two Earth-Like Worlds Found Orbiting a Red Dwarf Only 12.5 Light-Years Away!

Two Earth-Like Worlds Found Orbiting a Red Dwarf Only 12.5 Light-Years Away!

In the past few decades, there has been an explosion in the number of planets discovered beyond our Solar System. With over 4,000 confirmed exoplanets to date, the process has gradually shifted from discovery towards characterization. This consists of using refined techniques to determine just how likely a planet is to be habitable.

Explainer: What Is an Atomic Clock?

Explainer: What Is an Atomic Clock?

The clock is ticking: A technology demonstration that could transform the way humans explore space is nearing its target launch date of June 24, 2019. Developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, the Deep Space Atomic Clock is a serious upgrade to the satellite-based atomic clocks that, for example, enable the GPS on your phone.

Can entangled quantum bits be used to probe black holes?

Can entangled quantum bits be used to probe black holes?

Physicists have used a seven-qubit quantum computer to simulate the scrambling of information inside a black hole, heralding a future in which entangled quantum bits might be used to probe the mysterious interiors of these bizarre object

Earth has a Water Cycle. Mars has a Dust Cycle

Earth has a Water Cycle. Mars has a Dust Cycle

To say there are some myths circulating about Martian dust storms would be an understatement. Mars is known for its globe-encircling dust storms, the likes of which are seen nowhere else. Science fiction writers and Hollywood movies often make the dust storms out to be more dangerous than they really are. In “The Martian,” a powerful dust storm destroys equipment, strands Matt Damon on Mars, and forces him into a brutal struggle for survival.

How NASA's Spitzer Has Stayed Alive for So Long

How NASA's Spitzer Has Stayed Alive for So Long

After nearly 16 years of exploring the cosmos in infrared light, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope will be switched off permanently on Jan. 30, 2020. By then, the spacecraft will have operated for more than 11 years beyond its prime mission, thanks to the Spitzer engineering team's ability to address unique challenges as the telescope slips farther and farther from Earth.

Inflatable Heat Shield Could Deliver Heavy Payloads to Worlds With a Thick Atmosphere

Inflatable Heat Shield Could Deliver Heavy Payloads to Worlds With a Thick Atmosphere

One of the greater challenges of sending payloads to Mars is having to contend with the planet’s atmosphere. While incredibly thin compared to Earth’s (with roughly half of 1% of Earth’s air pressure), the resulting air friction is still an issue for spacecraft looking to land there. And looking to the future, NASA hopes to be able to land heavier payloads on Mars as well as other planets – some of which may have atmospheres as dense as Earth.

NASA Scientists Find Sun’s History Buried in Moon’s Crust

NASA Scientists Find Sun’s History Buried in Moon’s Crust

The Sun is why we’re here. It’s also why Martians or Venusians are not. The Sun’s rotation rate in its first billion years is unknown. Yet, this spin rate affected solar eruptions, influencing the evolution of life. A team of NASA scientists think they’ve figured it out by using the Moon as critical evidence.