Mysterious 'ribbon' at edge of solar system explained

NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) spacecraft has helped explain the striking narrow ribbon of charged particles emanating from the boundary of the solar system.

'Super-Earths' may not be so rocky after all

So-called super-Earths - rocky exoplanets much larger than our own - may actually be more like mini-Neptunes.

Where did all the dwarf galaxies go?

Astronomers believe they've worked out why there are so many fewer dwarf galaxies than predicted: they're moving so fast that their gas is simply whipped away.

Habitable zone redefined - and we're barely in it ourselves

We can all be picky at times, but you probably think of this planet as reasonably bearable. In a new model for what constitutes a habitable zone, however, the Earth barely scrapes over the bar.

NASA launches next-generation tracking and comms satellite

NASA's ability to track satellites and orbiting spacecraft is about to get a big boost, following the launch last night of a next-generation communication satellite.

Old star may still be making planets

Astronomers using the European Space Agency's Herschel Space Telescope have spotted a star that appears to be making new planets, despite being well past the age at which it would be expected to do so.

Ridges show evidence of Martian water

Ridges in impact craters on Mars appear to be the fossilized remnants of underground cracks through which water once flowed.

Iran sends monkey to space

Iran's successfully given a live monkey a round trip into space, the country's Al-Alam television channel reports.

NASA joins mission to investigate dark matter

NASA has signed up to join the European Space Agency's (ESA's) Euclid mission, a space telescope due to launch in 2020 and designed to investigate dark matter and dark energy.

Pulsar shows puzzling behavior

Astronomers are baffled by the discovery of a pulsar - a tiny spinning stars, heavier than the sun and smaller than a city - that emits different types of radiation at different times.

Low-cost telescope reveals sun's tumultuous 'braids'

In some dramatic images, astronomers have for the first time observed magnetic braids of super-hot matter on the surface of the sun, the first clear evidence of energy transfer from its magnetic field to the solar atmosphere or corona.

DARPA calls for proposals to scavenge satellites for spare parts

DARPA has released a video detailing some of the progress it's made with its Phoenix project for repurposing existing satellites.

Taking the universe's temperature

Astronomers have  made the most precise measurement ever of how the universe has cooled down during its 13.77 billion year history - putting the Big Bang theory to the test.

Deep Space Industries wants FireFly ships to mine asteroids

A few years ago, if a company had stepped up and said it planned to send unmanned spacecraft to explore the possibility of mining asteroids in near earth orbit, quite a number of us probably would have politely chuckled.

Team identifies auroras outside our solar system

University of Leicester planetary scientists believe they've found the first clear evidence that auroras occur outside our solar system.

Did cosmic collision flood medieval Earth with gamma rays?

Astronomers believe they've worked out the source of a mysterious burst of gamma rays that irradiated the Earth in the 8th century.

Martian crater may once have held lake

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has found evidence that McLaughlin Crater once contained a lake fed by flowing groundwater.

Hydrocarbon sand blurs Titan's features

Drifting sand is steadily filling the craters of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, making it look much younger than it is.

NASA tests inflatable pod on space station

Call it a bouncy castle at your peril: it's an expandable space habitat, don't you know. And it's to be the next big addition to the International Space Station, arriving in 2015 for a two-year trial.

ESA teams with NASA for manned moon orbit

The European Space Agency is teaming up with NASA for a mission that will take human beings beyond Earth orbit for the first time in 40 years - and eventually, it says, further than ever before.