Satellites and space missions

NASA's Kepler mission discovers closest Earth twin yet

NASA made an announcement on July 23, 2015 of it's Kepler space telescope spotting the most Earth-like alien planet yet discovered - a world called Kepler-452b that's just slightly bigger than our own and orbits a sun-like star named Kepler-452 at about the same

July 25, 2015

Mystery of equatorial noise solved

A team from MIT, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Sheffield, and elsewhere has detected a remarkably orderly pattern amid the "equatorial noise." The discovery may help scientists to more accurately model the space environment an

July 16, 2015

New Horizons accomplished the historic first-ever flyby of Pluto

New Horizons spacecraft phoned home around 01:00 UTC on July 15, 2015 telling the mission control and the world it had accomplished the historic first-ever flyby of Pluto.The flyby began at 11:49 UTC on July 14 and the spacecraft has been instructed to spend the day gat

July 15, 2015

Tracking space weather for New Horizons

A few months before New Horizons was due to reach Pluto, a community of scientists came together to determine just what kind of a environment the mission would experience during its historic flyby.While the simulations aren't 100% conclusive, this first ever attempt

July 13, 2015

Neptune’s badly behaved magnetic field modelled in detail

A team of scientists at the Imperial College London have combined 26-year old data with supercomputer simulations and for the first time modelled Neptune's magnetic field in detail. The researchers find that the furthest planet from the Sun has a badly behaved

July 08, 2015

After anomaly and temporary loss of communications New Horizons stays on course to Pluto

After NASA's New Horizons spacecraft suffered an anomaly on July 4, which caused temporary loss of communications, mission control announced today the spacecraft is healthy and it continues on its course toward Pluto for a historic July 14 flyby.Contact with the spa

July 06, 2015

Final 'all clear' for historic July 14 Pluto flyby

Having found no potential threats on the way, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft stays course to Pluto, as it speeds closer to it's historic July 14, 2015 flyby of Pluto and it's five moons. Launched from Cape Canaveral on January 19, 2006, New Horizons woke up

July 04, 2015

Watching meteors from space: Meteor investigation camera destroyed, again

Eight months after a catastrophic failure of Orbital Cygnus mission to the International Space Station, in which supplies for the Meteor mission were lost, a new special camera was built and is now ready for lift off.Currently scheduled to launch on June 28, 2015, the

June 27, 2015

Earth's magnetic complexity begins to untangle - Swarm mission

After a year in orbit, the three Swarm satellites have provided a first glimpse inside Earth and started to shed new light on the dynamics of the upper atmosphere – all the way from the ionosphere about 100 km above, through to the outer reaches of our protective

June 22, 2015

DSCOVR reached its orbit around 1st Lagrange point

NOAA's Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), launched on February 11, 2015, has reached its final destination on June 7 and entered orbit around the 1st Lagrange point (L1), the neutral gravity point between the Earth and Sun, approximately 1.5 million km (~1 mil

June 11, 2015

MESSENGER mission ends with planned impact on Mercury's surface

NASA's Mercury exploration mission "MESSENGER" ended on Thursday, April 30, 2015 with a planned impact into Mercury's surface at 19:26 UTC. MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft impacted "Shakespeare&

April 30, 2015

3D Earth observations from space

Results from a recent field campaign, which was organised to help investigate the potential of a new Earth observation mission concept, have provided a unique 3D glimpse of the peaks and troughs under the Mittelbergferner glacier in the Austrian Alps, ESA reports today.

April 29, 2015

A satellite revolution in oceanography

Plymouth is one of England’s historic port cities, a place from which sailors, soldiers and scientists have set off to sea for centuries. Today there’s a new twist to the tale though, as oceanographers now have a huge fleet of satellites in space to add to t

April 27, 2015

Gamma-ray spectrometer prompts researchers to rethink how Mercury formed

A versatile instrument developed by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists and riding on the first spacecraft to ever orbit Mercury is causing researchers to rethink their theories on the planet’s formation.Known as the Gamma-Ray Spectrometer,

April 19, 2015

Dawn's new Ceres color map reveals surface diversity

A new color map of dwarf planet Ceres, which NASA's Dawn spacecraft has been orbiting since March 2015, reveals the diversity of the surface of this planetary body. Differences in morphology and color across the surface suggest Ceres was once an active body, Dawn

April 14, 2015

Dawn of a new era: the revolutionary ion engine that took spacecraft to Ceres

The NASA spacecraft Dawn has spent more than seven years travelling across the Solar System to intercept the asteroid Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres. Now in orbit around Ceres, the probe has returned the first images and data from these distant objects. But inside

March 23, 2015

How is Mars rover Opportunity still alive?

Today, we review one of the great ongoing mysteries in the history of Mars exploration. In January of 2004, the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity arrived at the red planet about three weeks apart.Due to the extreme dustiness of the Martian environment, it was believed

March 21, 2015

Large underground ocean on Ganymede, Jupiter's largest moon

Hubble Space Telescope has the best evidence yet for an underground saltwater ocean on Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon. The subterranean ocean is thought to have more water than all the water on Earth's surface. Identifying liquid water is crucial in the

March 21, 2015

MAVEN detects unexpected aurora and mysterious dust cloud around Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft has observed two unexpected phenomena in the Martian atmosphere: an unexplained high-altitude dust cloud and aurora that reaches deep into the Martian atmosphere.The presence of the dust at orbital altitudes from

March 19, 2015

Saturn's moon Enceladus exhibits signs of hydrothermal activity

Data obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft provided first clear evidence that Saturn's moon Enceladus exhibits signs of present-day hydrothermal activity which may resemble that seen in the deep oceans on Earth. The implications of such activity on a world

March 15, 2015

MMS spacecraft in Earth’s Orbit, preparing to study magnetic reconnection phenomenon

Following a successful launch at 02:44 UTC on March 13, 2015, NASA’s four Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) spacecraft are now positioned in Earth’s orbit and ready to begin the first space mission dedicated to the study of a phenomenon called magnetic reconne

March 13, 2015

Dawn spacecraft arrives at dwarf planet Ceres

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has reached dwarf planet Ceres and achieved orbit around it on Friday, March 6, 2015. Dawn was approximately 61 000 km (38 000 miles) away from Ceres when it was captured by its gravity at about 12:39 UTC.Mission controllers at NASA’s Je

March 06, 2015

Dawn, mission to the asteroid belt - narrated by Leonard Nimoy

Produced in 2007, this overview video about NASA's Dawn mission to giant asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres was released before the spacecraft's launch that year.The mission greatly appreciated Leonard Nimoy's support and participation.Dawn investigated V

February 28, 2015

First global rainfall and snowfall map from GPM released

NASA/JAXA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission has produced its first global map of rainfall and snowfall, from April to September 2014. The data map combines measurements from 12 satellites and the GPM Core Observatory, launched February 27, 2014. It covers 8

February 27, 2015

Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) successfully launched

After a few days of delay, the Deep Space Climate Observatory or DSCOVR was finally launched at 23:03 UTC on Wednesday, February 11, 2015.DSCOVR was launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and

February 12, 2015

New videos released in honor of SDO's 5th anniversary

February 11, 2015 marks five years in space for NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which provides incredibly detailed images of the whole Sun 24 hours a day.Capturing an image more than once per second, SDO has provided an unprecedentedly clear picture of how massiv

February 11, 2015

Recording doomed ATV's disintegration from inside

In a special experiment scheduled for February 27th, ESA and NASA are planning to record, from inside, reentry and disintegration of Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATM).Every mission of ESA’s ATV ferry ends in the same way – filled with Space Station rubbish

February 07, 2015

Groundbreaking SMAP Earth observatory launched

NASA has successfully launched its groundbreaking Soil Moisture Active Passive observatory (SMAP) at 15:22 UTC today. SMAP is the first Earth satellite designed to collect global observations of the vital soil moisture hidden just beneath our feet. Its high resolution s

January 31, 2015

First global maps from Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-2)

The first global maps of atmospheric carbon dioxide from NASA's new Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) mission show elevated carbon dioxide concentrations across the Southern Hemisphere from springtime biomass burning and hint at potential surprises to come.A glo

December 20, 2014

Curiosity rover finds active, ancient organic chemistry on Mars

NASA's Mars Curiosity rover has measured a tenfold spike in methane, an organic chemical, in the atmosphere around it and detected other organic molecules in a rock-powder sample collected by the robotic laboratory’s drill."This temporary increase in meth

December 18, 2014

MAVEN identifies links in chain leading to atmospheric loss

Early discoveries by NASA’s newest Mars orbiter are starting to reveal key features about the loss of the planet’s atmosphere to space over time. The findings are among the first returns from NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) missio

December 15, 2014

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

Van Allen probes spot an impenetrable barrier in space

Van Allen radiation belts have been found to contain a nearly impenetrable barrier that prevents the fastest, most energetic electrons from reaching Earth.The Van Allen belts are a collection of charged particles, gathered in place by Earth’s magnetic field. They

November 28, 2014

High-resolution geological map of asteroid Vesta published

Images from NASA's Dawn Mission have been used to create a series of high-resolution geological maps of the large asteroid Vesta, revealing the variety of surface features in unprecedented detail. These maps are included with a series of 11 scientific papers publish

November 18, 2014

Philae completes it primary mission before hibernation

Rosetta's lander Philae has completed its primary science mission after nearly 57 hours on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, ESA proudly announced today. With its batteries now depleted and without enough sunlight available to recharge, Philae has fallen into

November 15, 2014