A tiny space capsule above the limb of the moon.

China’s Chang’e 5 mission is orbiting the moon!

China’s robotic Chang’e 5 will be the 1st sample-return from the moon since the 1970s. It launched successfully last week atop a Chinese Long March 5 rocket. Now it’s reported to have entered orbit around the moon.

Monster sunspot AR2786 swings into better view

The sun is becoming active again as it enters Solar Cycle 25. This week, scientists’ predictions of sunspots were proven via photos from astronomers around the world. Giant sunspot AR2786 can be viewed with proper filters and may create strong flares that reach Earth.

Orbital diagram showing inner planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and asteroid 2000 WO107 on November 14, 2020.

Asteroid 2000 WO107 passes safely November 29, closer in subsequent flybys

Asteroid 2000 WO107 passes Earth safely on November 29, 2020, at 11 times the moon’s distance. Look here for images, charts and more information.

Lake in reddish terrain with mountain in the middle and stream on left side.

Curiosity rover spots signs of ancient megafloods on Mars

We already know that Gale Crater on Mars used to hold a lake or series of lakes a few billion years ago. Now, NASA’s Curiosity rover has found evidence for ancient giant floods that washed through the region as well.

Long crack in reddish rocky terrain.

Is Mars still volcanically active?

A new study of geologically young lava flows in Elysium Planitia suggests that Mars might still have residual volcanic activity below its surface. The finding could also correlate with seismic activity detected by the InSight lander in the same region and may have implications for possible Martian life.

Animation showing orbit of object 2020 SO.

Is Earth’s new mini-moon a 60s-era rocket booster?

A mysterious object discovered in September has now become a new mini-moon for Earth. It appears to be a lost-and-found 60s-era rocket from the Surveyor 2 moon mission, launched from Earth more than 50 years ago.

The SLS core stage is seen atop the B-2 test stand, ready for ignition.

NASA to test its SLS megarocket in the coming weeks

The ongoing pandemic has slowed testing for NASA’s Space Launch System megarocket, but the process is resuming and has checked off a key milestone: powering up the core stage.

The 1st intentional radio message to space was sent via Arecibo

Iconic Arecibo telescope is now slated for decommissioning. But its multi-faceted legacy will live on. In 1974, for example, Arecibo sent earthlings’ first intentional message to the cosmos.

Arecibo radio telescope, a large dish-type telescope built into a natural depression in the landscape in Puerto Rico.

NSF says Arecibo telescope will be dismantled

Heartbreaking news. After 57 years as a world-class resource for astronomy, the iconic Arecibo telescope is to be decommissioned, or withdrawn from service, the NSF announced today. The dish-type radio telescope – built into a natural depression in the landscape in Puerto Rico – appears to be headed for a “controlled disassembly.”

Bright geyser-like vertical spray of water with planet and stars in background.

Does Jupiter’s moon Europa have geysers? If so, what’s their source?

If watery plumes do burst from Europa’s surface, they might originate not in the moon’s underground ocean, but instead in pockets of brine trapped in the moon’s crust. If that’s so, it could be a source of frustration for those who want to probe Europa’s ocean for possible life.

A photo showing cable damage at Arecibo Observatory.

A statement on Arecibo Observatory’s engineering options

Worrisome news regarding broken cables and engineering options at Arecibo Observatory, the iconic big radio dish in Puerto Rico.

Does Europa glow in the dark?

The icy surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa may glow on its nightside, the side facing away from the sun.

Pluto’s landscape more like Earth’s than previously thought

New analysis of data gathered from New Horizons’ 2015 flyby of Pluto shows evidence of Earth-like snow-capped mountains and the potential for glaciers made of methane ice.

Glowing blue double-ended blast from a brilliant white star.

Hubble sees the brightest kilonova yet

Observations by the Hubble Space Telescope reveal intense infrared radiation from an unusual kilonova probably created by the collision of neutron stars.

Desert with hills in distance and wispy clouds in blue sky above.

Clues to Mars life in Earth’s Atacama Desert

Researchers in the U.S. and Spain have discovered a plethora of previously unknown microbes living in wet clay layers below Chile’s arid Atacama Desert. The finding will help future rovers search for life on Mars.

SpaceX Crew-1 docks successfully with ISS

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Crew-1 spacecraft launched Sunday evening. The rocket returned to Earth for an upright landing on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. The spacecraft went on to dock with the International Space Station on Monday evening, transporting 4 astronauts.

Computer-generated asteroid orbit, in relationship to Earth.

This asteroid just skimmed Earth’s atmosphere

The asteroid – 2020 VT4 – is estimated to be between 16 and 36 feet (5-11 meters). It skimmed the top of our atmosphere on Friday, November 13, 2020. Astronomers spotted it one day later.

Comet C/2020 M3 (Atlas) is closest November 14

Discovered last June, Comet C/2020 M3 (Atlas) is closest to Earth – millions of miles away – on Saturday, November 14, 2020. It’s in an easy-to-find location, if you have a dark sky. Charts and photos here.

A man in a suit, standing under a NASA logo, and in front of a machine assembly.

Bridenstine to step down as NASA administrator

Jim Bridenstine is leaving the post of NASA chief administrator.

Three overlapping craters with worn edges.

Boom! Bam! Boom! How to make a triple crater on Mars

Like many worlds in our solar system, Mars has prominent impact craters. A particularly unusual example is shown in this new image from ESA’s Mars Express: an ancient triplet composed of 3 overlapping craters.