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Space

Artist’s illustration of Planetary Society’s LightSail, set against the backdrop of the Milky Way.
Science Wire | Jan 28, 2015

Planetary Society to test its LightSail solar sail in May

Space travel by LightSail relies on thin, lightweight reflective sails, powered by the sun. First the May launch, then a second launch planned for 2016.

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Science Wire | Jan 27, 2015

Astronomers discover oldest known Earth-sized planets yet

When our sun and planets were born, the Kepler-444 system was already older than our solar system is now.

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Science Wire | Jan 27, 2015

Stunning panorama from Opportunity rover on Mars marks 11th year

A panoramic view of the desert world next door, from one of the highest elevations reached by the Mars rover Opportunity in its 11 years on the Red Planet.

What fun!  A moon for asteroid 2004 BL86!
Science Wire | Jan 27, 2015

Asteroid that flew past Earth on Monday has a moon!

Radar images of asteroid 2004 BL86 confirm the primary asteroid is 1,100 feet (325 meters) across with a small moon 230 feet (70 meters) across.

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Science Wire | Jan 26, 2015

Big asteroid swept close on January 26

Asteroid 2004 BL86 came closer than any known asteroid this large until 2027. Information and photos of the asteroid, plus links to more.

This image from Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera shows part of a large fracture in the neck of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.  Image via ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team.
Science Wire | Jan 26, 2015

The intriguing crack in Rosetta’s comet, and more

Scientists publish a slew of science results from the Rosetta comet mission. Among the most fascinating … a crack in the comet’s neck! Plus dust and jets, the mysterious double-lobed shape, and more.

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Science Wire | Jan 26, 2015

Seasons are changing on Rosetta’s comet

Two photos from the Rosetta spacecraft – one from last November, and one from a few days ago – show a comet’s seasons changing.

Image credit: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss
FAQs | Jan 25, 2015

What’s a safe distance between us and an exploding star?

Scientific literature cites 50 to 100 light-years as the closest safe distance between Earth and a supernova.

Artist's concept by Davide and Paolo Salucci
Science Wire | Jan 24, 2015

Is our Milky Way a wormhole?

In theory, our home galaxy Milky Way could be a wormhole – a galactic transport system – says a team of astrophysicists.

Photo Credit:  Erich Karkoschka, NASA
FAQs | Jan 23, 2015

What are the seasons like on Uranus?

Uranus, like Earth, has four seasons. But that’s where the similarity ends. For starters, each season on Uranus lasts 21 (Earth) years.

A triple transit of Jupiter's moons on October 12, 2013.  John Rozakis in Athens, Greece captured it.  Photo used with permission.  Thank you, John!
Science Wire | Jan 22, 2015

Friday night’s rare triple shadow transit of Jupiter

Three moon shadows at once on Jupiter Friday night! It won’t happen again for U.S. observers until the year 2032. You can also watch online.

Image credit: ESA/VIRTIS/INAF-IASF/Obs. de Paris-LESIA/Univ. Oxford
Science Wire | Jan 21, 2015

Venus vortex!

This ghostly puff of smoke is actually a huge mass of swirling gas and cloud at planet Venus’ south pole, as seen by ESA’s Venus Express spacecraft.

Science Wire | Jan 19, 2015

Ceres’ mysterious white spot seen in new Dawn image

Dawn spacecraft now closing in on dwarf planet Ceres. Image is for navigation purposes; next one due late January. And what is that white spot, anyway?

View larger. | View zoomable image. | A portion of the Andromeda galaxy via NASA/ESA.
Science Wire | Jan 19, 2015

Video: Fly through the largest picture ever taken

Fly-through video of the largest image ever taken, of the Andromeda galaxy, nearest spiral galaxy to our Milky Way. Prepare to feel small!

Image credit: NASA
Science Wire | Jan 19, 2015

Video: Superstar Eta Carinae

Eta Carinae is a double system containing the most luminous and massive star within 10,000 light-years.

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Science Wire | Jan 19, 2015

NASA’s sounds are now on SoundCloud

It’s very cool. Hear the sounds of space exploration history!

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Science Wire | Jan 19, 2015

Cosmic radio burst caught in the act

Astronomers announced this week that – for the first time – they have observed a so-called ‘fast radio burst’ in real time.

This annotated image shows where features seen in a 2014 observation by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have been interpreted as hardware from the Dec. 25, 2003, arrival at Mars of the United Kingdom's Beagle 2 Lander.
Science Wire | Jan 16, 2015

Found! Mars orbiter locates lost 2003 Beagle lander

The Beagle 2 Lander, built by the U.K., and thought lost on Mars since 2003, has now been found in images from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

At least two unknown planets could exist in our solar system beyond Pluto. Image cedit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Science Wire | Jan 15, 2015

Two planets beyond Pluto?

New calculations by astronomers in Spain and the UK suggest that not one, but two unknown planets might exist in our solar system, beyond Pluto’s orbit.

Comet Lovejoy on December 29, 2014 by Justin Ng from Singapore.   Visit Justin Ng's website.
Science Wire | Jan 15, 2015

How to see Comet Lovejoy, plus best photos!

How to see Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy – still visible through binoculars and telescopes. Finder charts and best photos!

The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was berthed to the Harmony module of the International Space Station at 8:54 a.m. EST. The hatch between the newly arrived spacecraft and the Harmony module of the space station is scheduled to be opened Tuesday, but could occur earlier. The capsule is scheduled to spend four weeks attached to the station.  Image via NASA
Science Wire | Jan 14, 2015

Toxic chemical scare on International Space Station on Wednesday

An alarm indicated a possible leak of toxic ammonia. Astronauts evacuated the U.S. side of the station. Later, NASA said the problem might have been a faulty sensor.