Space News, updated every weekday

SpaceX's Falcon 9: Rocket for the Dragon

Falcon 9 lifts SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft to the ISS.

Vesta: Facts About the Brightest Asteroid

Vesta is the second largest asteroid in the solar system.

The Hunt for Alien Extremophiles is Taking Off (Kavli Q+A)

ETs may be tiny, but we'll find them.

Radioactive Bubbles May Have Punched Holes in Supernova's Heart

Bubbles of radioactive metal may have punched holes in the heart of Cassiopeia A, a nearby supernova, according to new observations. Studying the bubbly interior could help scientists understand why supernovas pop their corks in the first place, and what

Mars, Venus and Moon Form 'Trio' In February 2015 Skywatching | Video

A pairing of Venus and Mars will grace the western sky at sunset throughout February 2015. On Friday the 20th, the crescent moon joins the band. Orion and Canis Major take the stage in the southern sky. Watch for Saturn and Jupiter too.

Galactic Dancers' Arms Twist To Its Partner | Video

A Hubble Space Telescope image of NGC 7714 and its companion NGC 7715 reveals dramatic interaction setting off bursts of star formation. This moment of the dance happened 100 million light-years from Earth.

NASA Calls Off Satellite Launch Minutes Before Liftoff Due to Winds

The launch of NASA's newest Earth-gazing satellite will have to wait another day due to high winds that made launch too risky Thursday (Jan. 29).

WATCH LIVE FRIDAY: NASA to Attempt 2nd Launch Try for SMAP Satellite

NASA is due to launch its SMAP satellite designed to measure moisture in Earth's soils at 9:20 a.m. EST (1420 GMT) on Thursday (Jan. 29) from California. You can watch live coverage of the launch starting at 7 a.m. EST (1200 GMT).

Dazzling Comet Lovejoy Stars in Slooh Webcast Today: How to Watch

Comet Lovejoy will make its closest approach to the sun on Jan. 30. To mark the occasion, the Slooh Community Observatory is hosting a live webcast Thursday, beginning at 5:30 p.m. EST (2030 GMT). Watch it here at

NASA Launching New Earth-watching Satellite Today: Watch It Live

NASA is scheduled to launch its next Earth-observing satellite today (Jan. 29) from California, and you can watch the liftoff live online.

Rosetta's Odd Comet Covered in 'Goose Bumps,' Pits, Cracks (Photos)

The surface of a comet flying through deep space is pockmarked with weird features that are keeping curious scientists working with Europe's Rosetta comet mission busy.

Asteroid Miners May Get Help from Metal-Munching Microbes

The asteroid-mining firm Deep Space Industries (DSI) is investigating the feasibility of injecting microbes into space rocks far from Earth, to get a jump on processing their valuable resources.

Opportunity: Longest-Running Mars Rover

The Opportunity rover is NASA's longest rover mission.

Types of Variable Stars: Cepheid, Pulsating and Cataclysmic

Variable stars change brightness. But there are many reasons why.

Mars Moon Double-Take: What Would Martian Skywatchers See?

The stars and constellations seen from Mars would be similar to those seen from Earth, but the Red Planet's two moons would be quite a sight for Martian explorers.

10 Space Movies to Watch in 2015

From movies based on best-selling books to the newest "Star Wars" installment, 2015 should be a big year for movies geared toward space fans.

Space Station Gets a New Laser, Fruit Flies and Wriggly Worms, Too

On Jan. 22, operators on the ground used two robotic arms to install NASA's Cloud Aerosol Transport System (CATS) instrument on the exterior of the International Space Station.

How NASA's Soil Moisture Satellite Works (Infographic)

SMAP, or the Soil Moisture Active Passive satellite, will measure groundwater content and frozen/thawed state, all over the world every three days.

'Juno' Blizzard Seen From Space Station | Video

Space Station crew member Terry Virts (NASA) snapped imagery of the storm that slammed the Northeast United States during a night pass on Jan. 28th, 2015. The ISS was orbiting at an attitude of 260 miles during the fly-over.

New Fantastic Four Trades Space Mission For 'Alternate Universe' | Teaser Trailer

In the original 1961 comic by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the team acquires their powers after being exposed to cosmic rays during a mission in space. In this reboot (in theaters July 2015) they enter pods, which appear to take them to a menacing new wo

Astronaut Sees Huge Winter Storm from Space (Photos)

NASA astronaut Terry Virts, a member of the current Expedition 42 crew aboard the International Space Station, captured several dramatic photos of the monster winter storm Tuesday night, as it wheeled and churned over New England.

SpaceX's Reusable Mega-Rocket Plan Is Simply Amazing (Video)

An amazing new video from SpaceX shows the spaceflight company's incredible plans for a reusable mega-rocket.

What Would It Be Like to Live on Mercury?

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live on Mercury. So did we. Mercury's gravity, temperatures and weather are all very different from Earth's. Here's how.

Living on Other Planets: What Would It Be Like?

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live on the moon? What about Mars, or Venus or Mercury? We sure have and that's why we decided to find out what it might be like to live on other worlds in our solar system, from Mercury to Pluto and beyond

NASA's New Robot Will Take the Plunge ... Into a Volcano

NASA is gearing up to test an innovative new robot built to explore some of Earth's most inhospitable places: the fiery heart of volcanoes. And the hardy robot may one day help scientists explore volcanoes on other worlds.

10 Strange Facts About Mercury (A Photo Tour)

Mercury, the closest planet to the sun, has been studied by multiple spacecraft throughout the years.

Tiny Spacesuits Keep Bugs From Exploding in Vacuum | Video

Fire Ends Mock Mars Mission in Utah Desert

A greenhouse fire on Dec. 29 halted a simulated Red Planet mission at the Mars Society's Mars Desert Research Station in Utah.

NASA Marks Space Disaster Anniversaries with Day of Remembrance

NASA officials are conducting ceremonies at several different sites around the country to pay tribute to the astronauts killed in 1967's Apollo 1 fire and the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle accidents.

New Horizons: Exploring Pluto and Beyond

The New Horizons spacecraft is expected to reach the dwarf planet Pluto in 2015

Cometary Globule's 'Gaping Mouth' Revealed By Very Large Telescope | Video

Known by some as 'God's Hand,' the faint CG4 object is nothing like a comet. Discovered in 1976, CG4 might be an ordinary spherical star remnant distorted by nearby supernovas or fierce stellar winds from hot massive short-lived stars.

NASA Launching Satellite Thursday to Track Earth's Dirt from Space

NASA's next Earth-observing satellite is ready to launch Thursday (Jan. 29), and it could vastly improve the way scientists monitor droughts around the world.

Found! 5 Ancient Alien Planets Nearly As Old As the Universe

The newfound exoplanets circle a star that's 11.2 billion years old and are all Venus-size or smaller. They are, therefore, all rocky, though scientists know nothing else about their composition.

Scientist-Artist Ed Belbruno Stars in Award-Winning Film

Skilled mathematician and passionate painter Ed Belbruno – whose worldview and life experiences differ from what is typically expected of a scientist – is profiled in the new documentary, "Painting the Way to the Moon."

SpaceX Falcon Heavy To Be Reusable, Animation Reveals

Slated to be the world’s most powerful rocket when it flies, Falcon Heavy will attempt to return it’s core stage and boosters for rapid refurbishment and reuse. SpaceX is confident its accuracy will be sufficient to park the booster elements on land

Dwarf Planet Ceres Reveals Tantalizing Details in Best Photos Yet

Tantalizing new images of the nearest dwarf planet to Earth are revealing never-before-seen surface features of the mysterious space rock.

NASA Mars Plan Criticized in Kickstarter Project, 'Fight for Space'

NASA cannot put astronauts on Mars in the 2030s under current funding, experts interviewed for an unreleased movie say.

Surprise! Water Once Flowed on Huge Asteroid Vesta

Vesta was once thought to be dry, but gullies on the walls of impact craters suggest that water flowed briefly on the protoplanet's surface in the relatively recent past.

New Dwarf Planet Ceres Imagery Is Best Yet | Video

As NASA's Dawn mission approaches Ceres, it will continue to deliver imagery with better resolution than the last. This current set of images were snapped from 147,000 miles away on Jan. 25th, 2015.

Planetary Society's LightSail Solar Sail to Launch in May

The Planetary Society's first LightSail spacecraft will blast off in May from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, to test out critical systems and technologies ahead of a more involved orbital trial in 2016.

SpaceX's Elon Musk Guest Stars in Spacey 'Simpsons' Episode

In the newest episode of the long-running cartoon TV show, SpaceX founder Elon Musk is "quietly" traveling the United States in his crewed Dragon spacecraft searching for something to inspire him.

Big Earth-Buzzing Asteroid Has Its Own Moon (Photo, Video)

Asteroid 2004 BL86 cruised within 745,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers) of Earth Monday morning — about 3 times the distance between our planet and the moon. And the space rock wasn't alone.

Eris: The Dwarf Planet That is Pluto's Twin

Eris, a distant world whose discovery led to Pluto's demotion to dwarf planet, was once proposed as the solar system's 10th planet.

Does Humanity's Destiny Lie in Interstellar Space Travel? (Op-Ed)

Will humanity ever escape this solar system?

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter: Mapping Mars in High Definition

The orbiter has been snapping pictures of the Red Planet since 2006.

REPLAY: Slooh Comet Lovejoy Sun-Approach Webcast

The online Slooh observatory offered a free webcast Thursday (Jan. 29) at 5:30 p.m. EST (2230 GMT) to track Comet Lovejoy as it makes its closest approach to the sun.

NASA Pings Asteroid (And Its Moon) During Flyby | Video

NASA Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California obtained radar imagery of asteroid 2004 BL86, that flew by Earth at ~3.1 times the distance of the Moon on Jan. 26th, 2015.

Monster Winter Storm Spotted from Space (Photo, Video)

A monster storm's claws are definitely out in the satellite photos, which were captured from Saturday through Monday (Jan. 24 to Jan. 26) and combined into a new movie that shows the storm's development and movement.

Private Space Taxis on Track to Fly in 2017

The private spaceflight companies Boeing and SpaceX are on track to start launching NASA astronauts to the International Space Station by 2017, representatives of both firms say.

Mountain-Size Asteroid Makes Close Flyby of Earth

A mountain-size asteroid buzzed Earth Monday morning (Jan. 26) in a close encounter that's already revealing new information about the space rock, including an improved measurement of its size and confirmation of at least one moon.

Universe Today

What Asteroid 2004 BL86 and Hawaii Have in Common

At first glance, you wouldn’t think Hawaii has any connection at allwith asteroid 2004 BL86, the one thatmissed Earth by 750,000 miles (1.2 million km) just 3 days ago. One’s a tropical paradise with nightly pig roasts, beaches and shave ice; the other an uninhabitable ball of bare rock untouched by floral print swimsuits. ButPlanetary […]

Do You See a Mountain or a Crater in This Picture?

Yesterday, we posted an image taken by the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) of an unusual crater formed by a triple-asteroid. We noticed some comments on the article and on social media of people who said, “hey, that looks like a mountain, not a crater!” Thanks to our brains, this is a […]

What it Would Look Like if the Sun was Replaced with Other Stars?

How would our horizon look if Earth orbited around another star, such as Alfa-Centauri, Sirius, or Polaris? Roscosmos TV has released two new videos that replace our familiar Sun and Moon with other stars and planets. While these are completely fantastical — as Earth would have evolved very differently or not evolved at all in […]

Elon Musk and the SpaceX Odyssey: the Path from Falcon 9 to Mars Colonization Transporter

In Kubrick’s and Clark’s 2001 Space Odyssey, there was no question of “Boots or Bots”[ref]. The monolith had been left for humanity as a mileage and direction marker on Route 66 to the stars. So we went to Jupiter and Dave Bowman overcame a sentient machine, shut it down cold and went forth to discover […]

NASA, Boeing, and SpaceX to Launch 1st Commercial Crew Ships to Space Station in 2017

After a hiatus of six long years, US astronauts will finally launch to space in a revolutionary new pair of private crew capsules under development by Boeing and SpaceX, starting in 2017, that will end our sole source reliance on the Russians for launching our astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).(...)Read the rest of […]

Amazing Impact Crater Where a Triple Asteroid Smashed into Mars

At first glance, you many not guess that this feature on Mars is an impact crater. The reason it looks so unusual is that it likely is a triple impact crater, formed when three asteroids struck all at once in the Elysium Planitia region. Why do planetary scientists think the three craters did not form […]

How to Fight for the “Fight for Space” Documentary

Can documentary films actually change the way people think about a topic? Films like “The Thin Blue Line,” “The Triumph of Will,” and “Harlan County USA” are definitely documentaries that swayed both local public opinion and world views on specific topics. Film producer Paul Hildebrandt is hoping his upcoming documentary film “Fight for Space” will […]

iPhone Astrophotography: How to Take Amazing Images of the Sky with Your Smartphone Tonight!

Got a smartphone and a telescope? It’s a sight now common at many star parties. Frequently, you see folks roaming through the darkness, illuminated smartphone aimed skyward. Certainly, the wealth of free planetarium apps has done lots to kindle a renewed interest in the night sky.(...)Read the rest of iPhone Astrophotography: How to Take Amazing […]

Astronomers See a Massive Black Hole Tear a Star Apart

A telescope peers into the blackness of deep space. Suddenly – a brilliantflash of light appears that wasn’t there before. What could it be? A supernova? Twomassively dense stars fusingtogether? Perhaps a gamma ray burst? Five years ago, researchers using the ROTSE IIIb telescope at McDonald Observatory noticed just such an event. But far from […]

Falcon Heavy Rocket Launch and Booster Recovery Featured in Cool New SpaceX Animation

SpaceX released a cool new animation today, Jan. 27, showing an updated look at their Falcon Heavy rocket and plans for booster recovery. See below. (...)Read the rest of Falcon Heavy Rocket Launch and Booster Recovery Featured in Cool New SpaceX Animation (665 words) Ken Kremer for Universe Today, 2015. | Permalink | 7 […]

Space News From SpaceDaily.Com

Smaller Gas Giants Could Support Life

Seattle WA (SPX) Jan 29, 2015
Two phenomena known to inhibit the potential habitability of planets - tidal forces and vigorous stellar activity - might instead help chances for life on certain planets orbiting low-mass stars, University of Washington astronomers have found. In a paper published this month in the journal Astrobiology, UW doctoral student Rodrigo Luger and co-author Rory Barnes, research assistant prof

IXV spaceplane packed and ready for Vega launch Feb 11

Kourou, French Guiana (ESA) Jan 29, 2015
Preparations are moving forward for next month's Vega flight, with its Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) passenger now integrated in the lightweight launcher's payload fairing. During activity at the Spaceport's S5 payload preparation facility on Monday, IXV was installed on the cone-shaped adapter that serves as its interface with Vega - the smallest member of Arianespace's launch v

Ballooning offers platform for space-like environment

Singapore (SPX) Jan 29, 2015
New discoveries are being made on an annual basis by researchers flying their instruments on a high-altitude balloon platform. Ease of access to ballooning, relatively low cost and the potential for quick turn-around response times create a large appeal for using this platform to perform novel science and to train new scientists. This appeal is reinforced by the availability of a range of

NASA's SMAP Earth Mission Awaits Launch

Pasadena CA (JPL) Jan 29, 2015
NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory, which will produce the highest-resolution and most accurate maps of soil moisture ever obtained from space, is set to launch Thursday, Jan. 29, at 6:20 a.m. PST (9:20 a.m. EST) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. A United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket will carry SMAP into orbit. The launch window lasts three minutes. Below

Gully patterns document Martian climate cycles

Providence RI (SPX) Jan 29, 2015
Geologists from Brown University have found new evidence that glacier-like ice deposits advanced and retreated multiple times in the midlatitude regions of Mars in the relatively recent past. For the study, in press in the journal Icarus, the researchers looked at hundreds of gully-like features found on the walls of impact craters throughout the Martian midlatitudes. They conclude that ma

Orbital Stockholders Approve ATK Division Merger

Dulles VA (SPX) Jan 28, 2015
Orbital Sciences has announced that at a special meeting held this morning, the company's stockholders voted overwhelmingly to approve the proposed merger with the Aerospace and Defense Groups of Alliant Techsystems, pursuant to the definitive transaction agreement dated April 28, 2014. Approximately 99% of the votes cast at the special meeting voted in favor of the adoption of the transac

Will NASA's TESS Spacecraft Revolutionize Exoplanet Hunting?

Washington DC (SPX) Jan 29, 2015
NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), planned to be launched in August 2017 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, is designed to discover thousands of exoplanets. Led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), TESS will focus on stars 30-100 times brighter than those surveyed by the Kepler telescope, thus, the newly discovered pla

Japanese businessman set to resume space tourist training

Moscow, Russia (Sputnik) Jan 29, 2015
A Japanese businessman, who used to shoot space TV commercials at a cosmonaut training facility near Moscow, told journalists at a press conference, that he was happy to return to Star City as a space tourist, preparing for his flight to the International Space Station (ISS). "I am very happy to come back to Star City not for TV commercial shooting, but for the cosmonaut training," Takamat

The two faces of Mars

Zurich, Switzerland (SPX) Jan 29, 2015
The two hemispheres of Mars are more different from any other planet in our solar system. Non-volcanic, flat lowlands characterise the northern hemisphere, while highlands punctuated by countless volcanoes extend across the southern hemisphere. Although theories and assumptions about the origin of this so-called and often-discussed Mars dichotomy abound, there are very few definitive answers.

Russia to Launch Three Communications Satellites

Moscow, Russia (Sputnik) Jan 29, 2015
The trio of Gonets-M probes will blast off from Plesetsk in early March, their maker, Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems, has announced on its website. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited the RISS headquarters last week to oversee the construction of the six space satellites being manufactured for the Russian military. "The Gonets-M satellites have been delivered to the space

Quantum computer as detector shows space is not squeezed

Berkeley CA (SPX) Jan 29, 2015
Ever since Einstein proposed his special theory of relativity in 1905, physics and cosmology have been based on the assumption that space looks the same in all directions - that it's not squeezed in one direction relative to another. A new experiment by University of California, Berkeley, physicists used partially entangled atoms - identical to the qubits in a quantum computer - to demonst

SpaceX releases animation of heavy-lift Falcon rocket

Cape Canaveral, Fla. (UPI) Jan 28, 2015
The new video showing the blast off of SpaceX's heavy-lift rocket might look real, but the Falcon Heavy is still a work in progress - the video is only a simulation. The latter half of the new animation offers another vision of a hypothetical: rocket boosters being returned safely to floating landing pads. In other words, the new video is bookended by two of the most vital features of

Obama wraps India visit with pleas on religion, climate

New Delhi (AFP) Jan 27, 2015
US President Barack Obama urged India to promote religious tolerance and do more to combat global warming Tuesday as he wrapped up a visit aimed at forging a new friendship between the world's largest democracies. Speaking to an audience of mainly young people, Obama said the United States could be India's "best partner" but put pressure on his hosts over a range of political and social issu

Europe to resume satnav launches in March: Arianespace

Paris (AFP) Jan 28, 2015
Europe in March will resume satellite launches for its troubled Galileo navigation system, hoping to boost by at least six the number of orbiters this year, Arianespace and the European Commission said Wednesday. "We are ready for a launch on March 26" from Kourou, Europe's space base in French Guyana, chairman Stephane Israel of launch firm Arianespace told AFP in Paris after the European C

Raytheon acquires remote sensing, UAS tech company

Tucson (UPI) Jan 27, 2015
Raytheon reports it has enhanced the prospects of growing its unmanned aerial systems business through the acquisition of Sensintel Inc. Sensintel, headquartered in Arizona, was a privately held company specializing in expendable remote sensing and UAS engineering for intelligence and special operations communities. The Tucson company was created in 2013 when Britain's BAE Systems sold