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Jupiter’s Head-On Collision

An artist's impression of a collision between Jupiter and a large, ancient planetoid that would have...
An artist’s impression of a collision between Jupiter and a large, ancient planetoid that would have disrupted its core(Credit: K. Suda & Y. Akimoto/Mabuchi Design Office/Astrobiology Center, Japan)

Jupiter is a gigantic ball of churning gas clouds, and that makes it hard to see what’s in the middle. It’s believed to be a relatively small, rocky core, but data from the Juno probe found that it’s less dense and more spread out than expected. Now, astronomers believe they have an answer – a huge ancient planet, with 10 times the mass of Earth, crashed into the gas giant in the early days of the solar system. read more

Apollo 50th Anniversary Watch

The Saturn V (left) and I.S.S. (right) models at night, demonstrating the luminous hands and star...
The Saturn V (left) and I.S.S. (right) models at night, demonstrating the luminous hands and star map dial, and the perpetually glowing, tritium gas-filled glass tubes (automatic version only) at the ends of the hour and minute hands(Credit: Xeric)

There’s a galaxy of products commemorating Apollo 11’s 50th anniversary, from coins to cushions, tumblers to tote-bags. But for those who really want to wear their astro-hearts on their sleeve (or wrist), the Trappist-1 NASA edition might just send them over the moon. read more

Dragonfly Mission to Titan

NASA has announced a plan to explore the surface of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.

The space agency made the announcement in a media teleconference Thursday afternoon, detailing its vision of a robotic rotorcraft dubbed Dragonfly that will collect samples and measure soil composition in search for signs of habitability.

The enormous, icy moon is said to be the most Earth-like world in the solar system, and previous findings by the Cassini mission suggest it holds some of the ingredients necessary for the emergence of life.

Dragonfly will launch in 2026 as part of NASA’s New Frontiers program, and is expected to arrive at Titan in 2034. read more

Is This Where Our Water Came From?

Comet Wirtanen, which buzzed Earth in December 2018, has been found to harbor "ocean-like" water

Comet Wirtanen, which buzzed Earth in December 2018, has been found to harbor “ocean-like” water(Credit: NASA)

Earth is a famously wet planet, but where all that water came from in the first place remains a mystery. The most commonly-accepted theory is that comets and asteroids delivered it via impacts during the early days of Earth, and now a NASA study has found new evidence to support that idea. Observations of a comet that whizzed by close to Earth a few months ago show that it contains “ocean-like” water – and this may apply to other previously-dismissed comets too. read more

Saturn’s Moons Consuming Its Rings

Newly-analyzed data from Cassini shows that Saturn's moons are scooping up material from the planet's rings...
Newly-analyzed data from Cassini shows that Saturn’s moons are scooping up material from the planet’s rings and growing(Credit: NASA-JPL/Caltech)

Two years ago as the Cassini probe made its daring final plunge into the atmosphere of Saturn, it flew past for a closer look at a few of the gas giant’s inner moons. Now a NASA team has analyzed the data and uncovered some intriguing new details about these tiny worlds, including how they’re busily scooping up material from Saturn’s rings and growing into weird shapes. read more

Asteroid Spinning Itself to Death

A Hubble Space Telescope image revealing the gradual self-destruction of an asteroid, whose ejected dusty material...
A Hubble Space Telescope image revealing the gradual self-destruction of an asteroid, whose ejected dusty material has formed two long, thin, comet-like tails(Credit: NASA/ESA/K. Meech and J. Kleyna (University of Hawaii)/O. Hainaut (European Southern Observatory))

NASA has released images from the Hubble Space Telescope showing an asteroid that is tearing itself apart. Located 214 million mi (344 million km) from the Sun, the 2.5-mile-wide (4-km) asteroid (6478) Gault is spinning so fast that it is self-destructing and throwing off debris tails half a million miles (800,000 km) long. read more

Throw a DART at It

There’s an Asteroid on a collision course with. Isn’t there always? So what do we do?

Claire Reilly takes a look at NASA’s mission to gently bump those killer asteroids off course and (hopefully) save humankind, using NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission, or DART. read more

2020 Mars Lander Gets a Name

The ExoMars 2020 lander, shown here being packed for shipment, has been officially named

The ExoMars 2020 lander, shown here being packed for shipment, has been officially named(Credit: ESA)

The landing craft that will deliver Europe’s first rover to the planet Mars has arrived for assembly and testing in Turin, Italy and has been officially named. read more

The Von Braun Rotating Space Station

The Von Braun Rotating Space Station: a hub-and-spokes design evolved from the toroidal spinning space station...
The Von Braun Rotating Space Station: a hub-and-spokes design evolved from the toroidal spinning space station proposed by Wernher von Braun in the 1950s.(Credit: Gateway Foundation)

The idea of using centrifugal force to create a sensation of gravity in space originated as early as 1903, but a group of space enthusiasts believes its time has come. Check out Gateway’s vision for the Von Braun Rotating Space Station. read more

Peering Through the Fog of a Supermassive Black Hole

An artist's rendition of a supermassive black hole, such as the one at the center of...
An artist’s rendition of a supermassive black hole, such as the one at the center of the Milky Way(Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Studying black holes is a tricky business, but not always because they’re so dim – to the contrary, in some cases it’s hard to see through the bright cloud of hot gas that surrounds them. Now, a team of astronomers has used a global array of telescopes to peer through that fog and capture some of the clearest radio images yet of Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. And it may indicate that the object just happens to be pointing directly at Earth. read more