Paul Scott Anderson
A robot arm, partially buried in red dust.

NASA mole failed to dig deep into Mars. What’s next?

The mission team for NASA’s InSight lander called off its attempts to try to dig deeper into Mars with the heat probe known as “the mole.” Meanwhile, the rest of the mission gained an extension to December 2022.

A swirling storm in Jupiter's atmosphere.

Striped brown dwarf looks a lot like Jupiter

The surface features of brown dwarfs – objects midway in mass between planets and stars – can’t be seen. But researchers have found a way to reveal Jupiter-like stripes and bands in the atmosphere of the closest brown dwarf, Luhman 16B.

An oval shape, with a pattern of orange and blue blotches.

A new look at the universe’s oldest light

New work agrees with older research suggesting the oldest light in the universe – from the most distant galaxy yet known – started its journey toward us 13.77 billion years ago.

Center circle with white plus sign in center, with radiating pattern around it and bright spot next to it.

New and rare direct image of a brown dwarf

Astronomers have obtained one of the best images yet of a brown dwarf, an object in a mass range midway between stars and planets. This brown dwarf – called HD 33632 Ab – lies 86 light-years from our sun.

Bright reddish star with large flares and nearby planet.

Hostile space weather might not be all bad for exoplanet life

A new study from Northwestern University shows that solar flares – space weather – might not always be as dangerous for life on exoplanets as typically thought. In fact, it might even help astronomers discover alien life on distant worlds.

Why does the New Year begin on January 1?

Where does the New Year’s Day concept come from?

Large bluish planet with two dark spots and bands in the atmosphere.

Dark storm on Neptune changes direction, escapes deadly fate

Astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope to observe unusual weather on the planet Neptune, not observed until now. They saw a large, dark storm on Neptune unexpectedly changing direction, thereby saving itself from looming destruction and possibly producing a smaller companion storm.

Radio telescope with lights on at night, and stars in the sky above.

Was this mystery radio signal really from Proxima Centauri?

Astronomers with Breakthrough Listen have detected a mysterious radio signal coming from the direction of the nearest star to the sun, Proxima Centauri. But is it really an alien signal or something more terrestrial?

Reddish star with large flares all over it, and planet nearby.

Space weather in Proxima’s vicinity dims hopes of habitable worlds

Astronomers used radio waves to study conditions in the vicinity of Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to our sun. The results suggest Proxima’s 2 known planets are likely bathed in intense radiation from this star, casting doubt on the planets’ potential for life.

Mottled and layered cube with blue areas among the layers, on black background.

Want to find life on Mars? Look deep underground

A new study from researchers at Rutgers University suggests that the best place to look for evidence of life on Mars is deep underground, where geothermal heat melted subsurface ice.