Multi-colored rocky world with smooth plains and craters.

NASA studies plan to send an orbiter to Pluto

Remember when New Horizons swept past Pluto in 2015? That was exciting! Who knew Pluto had a heart? Now scientists are proposing a new Pluto orbiter mission. It would gather details on Pluto’s heart and the rest of its youthful surface, its hazy bluish nitrogen atmosphere, and its system of 5 known moons.

Breakthrough Listen and TESS team up for SETI

Will we ever hear from an alien civilization? Will we hear from one in our lifetimes? Now 2 powerhouses in the world of astronomy have teamed up to optimize the chances of a successful search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

Large space rock appear close to Earth.

Small asteroid paid a heavy price for almost striking Earth Thursday

Earth’s gravity bent the trajectory of asteroid C0PPEV1 – also known as 2019 UN13 – as it swept only 3,852 miles (6,200 km) above Africa. As a result, its farthest point from the sun has now shifted out to the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars.

Rocky planet with water.

How unique is Earth?

Scientists studying white dwarf stars have found that some contain traces of rocky debris very similar in composition to rocks found on Earth. The finding suggests that worlds similar to Earth might be common in our Milky Way galaxy.

Widening yellow to orange circles with a black ball in the center.

How to find a wormhole … if they exist

A team of physicists proposes that perturbations in the orbits of stars near supermassive black holes could be used to detect wormholes … if they exist.

One one side of the image, a bright starry explosion. In the rest of the image, a universe of stars and galaxies.

Putting the ‘bang’ in Big Bang

Physicists have pondered how the cold, uniform matter of the inflationary early universe became the ultrahot, complex mixture of matter, space and time that led to the universe we know. New work simulates a bridge between cosmic inflation and … everything else.

Dark view of grey soil with bright specks.

An update on that ‘gel’ on the moon

China’s Yutu-2 rover has sent back a new image of the unusual “gel-like” material it found last July, which seems to confirm that it’s not gel at all. Instead, it now appears it’s probably impact glass from a meteorite impact.

Three planets and green habitable zone around a star.

How small is the smallest habitable exoplanet?

Where can we expect to find life beyond Earth? A new study has redefined the lower limit in mass for habitable exoworlds. It suggests that low-mass waterworlds might exist and might be a place to look.

Artist's concept of 2 planets colliding.

When exoplanets collide

Ten years ago, scientists speculated that warm dust in the exoplanet system BD +20 307 – located 300 light years away – had resulted from a planet-to-planet collision. Now astronomers see 10% more warm dust in this system, further supporting the idea of a collision between worlds.

Did the Viking landers find life on Mars in 1976?

For a brief time in 1976, it seemed as if NASA’s Viking landers had found microbes on Mars! Those results have been vigorously disputed in the years since, but the original experiment’s principal investigator, Gilbert Levin, still maintains they really did detect Martian microbes.