space exploration

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We've Got Our First Look at Jupiter From NASA Craft

High-resolution images to follow from Juno

(Newser) - The NASA spacecraft that entered Jupiter's orbit earlier this month has sent back its first image of the planet. Think of it as a test shot, with the better, high-resolution photos to come next month. Still, the image released by NASA shows Jupiter, its famous red spot, and three... More »

'Juno, Welcome to Jupiter'

Probe slips into orbit after 5-year journey

(Newser) - After spending five years traveling to Jupiter , NASA's Juno probe entered the gas giant's orbit Monday night by executing a make-or-break maneuver that was accurate within a second. Team members at the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory cheered as they received confirmation that the spacecraft... More »

Hawking on Board With One of Biggest Space Plans Ever

Idea is to fly to our neighboring star system, 25T miles away

(Newser) - Three big names unveiled a space proposal Tuesday so ambitious there's a good chance you wouldn't live long enough to celebrate its success. Assuming it ever gets off the ground. It's called the Breakthrough Starshot, and the idea backed by Stephen Hawking, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, and... More »

After Scare, Kepler Spacecraft Back in Business

More planet-hunting awaits

(Newser) - To astronomers' relief, NASA's planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft has won another reprieve. The spacecraft—responsible for detecting thousands of planets beyond our solar system— slipped into emergency mode last week nearly 75 million miles from Earth, reports the AP . Ground controllers managed to stabilize the probe Sunday, and NASA announced... More »

We Need to Rename Mars' Moons Quickly

Phobos and Deimos are way too dark, writes essayist

(Newser) - Each new discovery about Mars seems to show that it's more like Earth than we imagined. NASA, meanwhile, is firming up plans for a trip there. It's high time, then, for a long overdue chore, writes Fortunato Salazar in the Guardian —we've got to rename the... More »

'Alien Megastructure' May Be Comet Family

But it's still a very strange star, astronomers say

(Newser) - KIC 8462852 is an odd and fascinating star, astronomers say—but it probably isn't host to an "alien megastructure," as some researchers suggested as a longshot possibility when the star and its highly unusual dimming pattern first came to attention. Instead, Iowa State University researchers who studied... More »

Mars Is Destroying Its Own Moon

Poor Phobos is doomed

(Newser) - The days are numbered for one of Mars' two moons, and the culprit turns out to be Mars itself. It seems that the two are engaged in what Discovery describes as a gravitational tug-of-war, and Mars is going to win. It will take a while, about 30 million to 50... More »

Unusual Star Raises Talk of Alien 'Megastructures'

SETI may take a closer look

(Newser) - Something very weird has been spotted in space, and a quote from an astronomer at Penn State gets to the heart of why it's so intriguing: "Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider, but this looked like something you would expect an alien civilization to... More »

Why Rosetta's Comet Looks Like a Rubber Duck

Think low-speed collision

(Newser) - Serious space junkies might be able to identify the comet on which Europe's Rosetta space orbiter landed last year as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Everyone else might remember that it kind of looks like a rubber duck . The odd shape has been a topic of debate among scientists, and a new paper... More »

First-Ever Visit to Dark Side of Moon in the Works

Plans to land probe on moon's far side by 2020

(Newser) - If everything goes to plan with China's space program—which so far everything has since the country launched its first astronaut in 2003—it will become the first country to land a probe on the "dark side of the moon," the AP reports. This week, Zou Yongliao... More »

Scientist: We Need Mars to Be Liberated of Earth

It must be independent, not a colony, in order to thrive

(Newser) - With plans to send humans to Mars in the works , one astrobiologist says the time to prevent an interplanetary version of the Revolutionary War is now. Jacob Haqq-Misra, who works for a nonprofit dedicated to promoting international unity in space, lays out his plan for a completely independent Mars in... More »

NASA Scores Rarely Seen View of the Moon

From a million miles away, no less

(Newser) - NASA has a new toy in space, and it's already delivered an awe-inspiring view of the moon and Earth. The space agency has produced a GIF—see it here —of the moon passing in front of our planet. A few things make it unique: The view is taken... More »

NASA Finds Earth's 'Older Cousin'

Kepler-452b has NASA scientists excited

(Newser) - Kepler-438b , move over for Kepler-452b. The latter is the name of a planet newly discovered by the Kepler space telescope that is now the most Earth-like one NASA has found so far, reports the BBC . It's about one and a half times the size of Earth , and orbits... More »

After Pluto, Spacecraft Has Another Big Mission

Next up: the Kuiper belt

(Newser) - The New Horizons spacecraft has wowed us back on Earth with its 3 billion-mile Pluto mission , but it's still got a lot of traveling to do. In fact, scientists expect it to keep making headlines for another two decades or so. After Pluto, the spacecraft is off to explore... More »

Behold, the First Closeup of Pluto

It's got mountains roughly the size of the Rockies

(Newser) - The New Horizons spacecraft began revealing its treats today, providing scientists with the first closeups of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon. The dwarf planet has a mountain range about 11,000 feet high, roughly the size of the Rockies, reports AP . Scientists were surprised to see no impact craters,... More »

Saturn's Outer Ring Holds More Surprises

It's way bigger than previously thought, but made up of small particles

(Newser) - About six years ago, scientists discovered a huge ring around Saturn that also happened to be invisible to the naked eye. Now, they've learned that it's much bigger than they thought, and their theory on how it came to be might change some thinking about planetary rings and... More »

Out Near Pluto: A 'Grateful Dead' Dance

Scientists observe 'weird' gyrations in space

(Newser) - A chaotic dance is taking place at the far end of our solar system, involving Pluto and five of its closest friends, a new study finds. Hubble Space Telescope images of Pluto, its largest moon Charon, and tinier moons Styx, Nix, Hydra, and Kerberos show the odd rhythmic gyrations of... More »

Mission Over: Space Probe Slams Into Mercury

Messenger's 11-year journey is done

(Newser) - Mercury has a new crater, courtesy of NASA. As expected , the space probe Messenger crashed into the planet this afternoon after running out of fuel, reports AP . The crash at a speed of nearly 9,000mph left a hole about 52 feet wide and brought to an end an epic... More »

Astronaut Scott Kelly Begins Historic Mission

He will spend a year in space, longest ever for US

(Newser) - Scott Kelly blasted off on a space mission today that won't end until around this time next year. Kelly will spend 342 days aboard the International Space Station, the longest mission by far ever undertaken by a US astronaut, reports CNN . Kelly was riding up in a Russian rocket... More »

Buzz Aldrin Sends Message in Epic Stonehenge Pic

It's 'get your ass to Mars'

(Newser) - Buzz Aldrin may have just topped his selfie from space . While visiting Stonehenge on Sunday, the 85-year-old astronaut and second man to walk on the moon channeled Superman to pose for an epic tourist photo, in which he opens his jacket to reveal a shirt reading, "Get your ass... More »

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