Planets and space bodies

Swarm of scientific microprobes to the clouds of Jupiter in 2030

A swarm of tiny probes each equipped with a different sensor could be fired into the clouds of Jupiter and grab data as they fall before burning up in the gas giant planet's atmosphere, according to a recently presented concept in International Journal of Space Scie

January 26, 2015

New Horizons wakes up for historic Pluto encounter

New Horizons woke up from hibernation on December 6, 2014 after a 4.8 billion km voyage (3 billion miles) and almost nine years after launch. The spacecraft is now preparing for a six-month encounter with Pluto that begins in January 2015. This mission will complete

December 08, 2014

Smallest exoplanet found to have water vapour

The smallest exoplanet (about the size of Neptune) HAT-P-11b have been discovered to have clear skies and steamy water vapors as observed by astronomers using data from three of NASA's space telescopes - Hubble, Spitzer and Kepler.John Grunsfeld, assistant administr

October 05, 2014

Curiosity rover takes first sample of Mount Sharp

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has collected its first sample of the layered mountain whose scientific allure drew the mission to choose this part of Mars as a landing site.Late Wednesday, September 24, the rover's hammering drill chewed about 6.7 centimeters (2.6

September 27, 2014

MAVEN returns its first Mars observations

Just after arrival, NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN), the first spacecraft sent to explore the tenuous upper atmosphere of Mars, has started working on it's mission. Within 24 hours of being placed in the Red Planet's orbit, the spacec

September 26, 2014

Martian geology continues to baffle scientists

The official geological history of the planet Mars is a confused and murky tale filled with contradictions and shifting narratives. Astonishing scientific data obtained in the last decade has only deepened the storyteller’s confusion. At the recent 8th Internation

September 02, 2014

Colliding atmospheres - Mars vs Comet Siding Spring

It's a known fact that planets have atmospheres, but the same can't be said for comets. The atmosphere of a comet, called its "coma," is made of gas and dust that spew out of the sun-warmed nucleus and it's typically wider than Jupiter.La

August 13, 2014

Observations suggest frequent massive eruptions on Jupiter’s moon Io

Observations made using Keck and Gemini observatories, Hawaii, revealed three massive volcanic eruptions on Jupiter's moon Io within a two-week period in August 2013, leading astronomers to speculate that these presumed rare "outbursts" migh

August 09, 2014

Massive storm systems formed on planet Uranus

As hurricanes threaten the Aloha State, astronomers working at W. M. Keck Observatory on the island of Hawaii were surprised by the appearance of gigantic swirling storm systems on the distant planet Uranus.During the Voyager encounter with Uranus in 1986, only a scant

August 07, 2014

Asteroid vesta shatters planet formation theory

In the previous Space News, we discussed astronomer's recent admission that they now need a whole new theory to explain about how planets form. Today yet another discovery has shattered conventional ideas about planet formation and the so-called early solar system.

July 29, 2014

The most thorough map of the Martian surface to date

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has released the most thorough map of the Martian surface to date. The data for the new map was collected by NASA's Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and

July 16, 2014

The atmospheric waves of Venus, key to understanding the superrotation of its atmosphere, deciphered

Venus’ atmosphere rotates up to sixty times faster than its surface, a phenomenon known as superrotation whose origin hast yet to be satisfactorily explained...Venus is a slowly rotating planet since it takes about two hundred and forty three terrestrial days to c

July 10, 2014

Steve Smith: Mars - The Great Desert in 3D - EU2014

Martian areography tells a story of incredibly violent events. It appears from the many images sent to Earth that it once experienced powerful plasma discharges on a massive scale. Burned and blasted craters, piles of scorched dust covering almost an entire hemisphere,

July 06, 2014

Symbols of an Alien Sky: The Lightning Scarred Planet, Mars

"After much deliberation, we made the decision to release this full documentary. Year by year the evidence for global electric scarring of Mars continues to grow. Bringing the facts to public attention will be amongst our highest priorities in coming months."I

June 29, 2014

Mysterious 'Magic Island' appears on Saturn moon

Astronomers have discovered a bright, mysterious geologic object – where one never existed – on Cassini mission radar images of Ligeia Mare, the second-largest sea on Saturn's moon Titan. Scientifically speaking, this spot is considered a "transient

June 23, 2014

Cracks in Pluto's moon could indicate it once had an underground ocean

If the icy surface of Pluto's giant moon Charon is cracked, analysis of the fractures could reveal if its interior was warm, perhaps warm enough to have maintained a subterranean ocean of liquid water, according to a new NASA-funded study.Pluto is an extremely dista

June 14, 2014

Venus now the first planet after Earth to get daily space weather reports

European Space Agency (ESA) announced today they have started issuing regular space weather reports for a spacecraft orbiting planet Venus. This is the first time since the exploration of Solar System has begun that a planet, other than Earth, gets a dedi

June 06, 2014

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot shrinking at increasing rate

The shrinkage of Jupiter's Great Red Spot has been known about since the 1930s but latest images by Hubble Space Telescope confirm the increasing shrinkage rate observed by amateur astronomers since 2012. Science has no answer as to why this is happening.H

May 15, 2014

Ganymede may harbor ice and oceans stacked up in several layers

The largest moon in our solar system, a companion to Jupiter named Ganymede, might have ice and oceans stacked up in several layers like a club sandwich, according to new study led by JPL's Steve Vance that models the moon's makeup.Previously, the moon

May 02, 2014

Gullies and debris flow deposits - traces of recent water on Mars

The southern hemisphere of Mars is home to a crater that contains very well-preserved gullies and debris flow deposits. The geomorphological attributes of these landforms provide evidence that they were formed by the action of liquid water in geologically recent time.Wh

April 27, 2014

First Earth-size planet found In the 'habitable zone' of another star

Astronomers have discovered the first Earth-size planet orbiting a star in the "habitable zone" - the range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet and could possibly sustain life. The planet, called

April 17, 2014

Cassini images may reveal the birth of new Saturn moon

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has documented the formation of a small icy object within the rings of Saturn that may be a new moon, and may also provide clues to the formation of the planet's known moons.Images taken with Cassini's narrow angle camera on Apr

April 15, 2014

Frst global geologic map of Jupiter's Ganymede, the largest moon in the solar system

A group of scientists led by Geoffrey Collins of Wheaton College has produced the first global geologic map of Ganymede, Jupiter's seventh moon. The map combines the best images obtained during flybys conducted by NASA's Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft (1979) and

February 16, 2014

Cassini gets a 360-degree view of Saturn's auroras

While Hubble Space Telescope, orbiting around Earth, was able to observe the Saturn's northern auroras in ultraviolet wavelengths, Cassini spacecraft, orbiting around Saturn, got complementary close-up views in infrared, visible-light and ultraviolet

February 16, 2014

The "impossible" exoplanet - Space News from Electric Universe

International team of astronomers has found a planet further out than any other in a sun-like system, and it has many astronomers baffled. There were two things immediately puzzling about it: its mass, which came in at an immense 2 × 1025 metric

December 16, 2013

Cassini spacecraft obtains best views of Saturn's six-sided jet stream - the hexagon

Cassini spacecraft has obtained the highest-resolution movie yet of a unique six-sided jet stream, known as the hexagon, around Saturn's north pole.  This is the first hexagon movie of its kind, using color filters, and the first to show a complete view of

December 10, 2013

Signs of water found in the atmospheres of 5 distant exoplanets

The presence of atmospheric water was reported previously on a few planets orbiting stars beyond our solar system, but a paper published yesterday in Astrophysical Journal is the first one that conclusively measured and compared the profiles and

December 04, 2013

MAVEN on its way to study what went wrong on Mars

The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) mission is scheduled for launch today, November 18, 2013. The two-hour launch window opens at 18:28 UTC. This will be the first mission devoted to understanding the Martian upper atmosphere and what

November 18, 2013

The evolution of Mars - MAVEN ready for launch

Billions of years ago when the Red Planet was young, it appears to have had a thick atmosphere that was warm enough to support oceans of liquid water - a critical ingredient for life. The animation shows how the surface of Mars might have appeared during this

November 17, 2013

Mars atmosphere loss: neutral processes

When you take a look at Mars, you probably wouldn't think that it looks like a nice place to live. It's dry, it's dusty, and there's practically no atmosphere. But some scientists think that Mars may have once looked like a much nicer place to live,

November 05, 2013

New flyover video of Red planet's surface

New compilation video from images taken by ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft was released online on October 28, 2013. This video is compiled from images of nearly 12 500 orbits by the Mars Express, gathered from June 2003 by the High Resolution Stereo

November 02, 2013

Symbols of an Alien Sky - Official movie

Symbols of an Alien Sky will introduce you to celestial spectacles and earth-shaking events once remembered around the world. Archaic symbols of these events still surround us, some as icons of the world’s great religions, though the origins of the symbols appear

October 13, 2013

First map of clouds on an exoplanet

On the exoplanet Kepler 7b, the weather is highly predictable, an international team of scientists has found: On any given day, the exoplanet, which orbits a star nearly 1,000 light-years from Earth, is heavily overcast on one side, while the other side likely enjoys

October 06, 2013

The tail of Venus and the weak solar wind - when a planet behaves like a comet

Measurements obtained with ESA's Venus Express spacecraft have shed new light on the interaction between the solar wind and the second planet from the Sun. During a rare period of very low density solar outflow, the ionosphere of Venus was observed to become

September 19, 2013

What is the true age of pieces of Mars that landed on Earth?

This question was a long-standing puzzle in Martian science which is now answered by a team of well-equipped geologists. They directed energy beams at tiny crystals found in Martian meteorite and discovered that the most common group of

July 25, 2013