Curiosity set to drill its first rock

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity is on the road again, driving toward a flat rock with pale veins that the team says could help shed light on Mars' watery past.

What would hyperspace travel really look like?

Making the jump to lightspeed in the Millennium Falcon wouldn't look anything like the way it's depicted in the Star Wars movies, say University of Leicester students.

Earth safe from 2026 asteroid strike, says NASA

NASA scientists are now certain that the asteroid Apophis won't, as feared, hit the Earth during a flyby in 2036.

Astronomers find largest structure in the universe

An international team of astronomers has found the largest known structure in the universe - a group of quasars four billion light years across.

Colliding galaxies create largest-known spiral

Astronomers have established that the spectacular barred spiral galaxy NGC 6872 - first discovered decades ago - is the largest-known spiral galaxy.

Newfound planet is best candidate yet for life

Scientists with NASA's Kepler mission say they believe they've found the most Earthlike exoplanet yet.

New 'cosmic candle' could help explain dark matter

Mingus - or more formally, SN SCP-0401 - is a Type Ia supernova with a redshift of 1.71, dating back 10 billion years. It's exceptional for its detailed spectrum and precision color measurement, unprecedented in a supernova so distant, says the team.

Asteroid Apophis passes safely past Earth

The massive asteroid Apophis shot past Earth last night, on a trajectory that will bring it even closer during its next flyby in 2029.

'Eye of Sauron' hosts rogue planet

The vast disk of debris encircling Fomalhaut B hosts a rogue planet which may unleash a cataclysm in 2032.

Vega encircled by asteroid belt

Astronomers believe they've found a large asteroid belt around Vega, the second brightest star in northern night skies.

Curiosity sweeps rock clean for test

Another crucial instrument on the Curiosity Mars rover has had its  first test: the Dust Removal Tool, used to sweep dust from the rover's target rocks.

Mars mission simulation reveals serious sleep problems

The data's in from the simulated Mars mission in which six trained astronauts were shut up for a year and a half. And it seems that long-term missions of this kind do indeed lead to problems for the crew.

'Billions' of planets in habitable zones, says NASA

NASA's Kepler mission has discovered four new planets that are less than twice the size of Earth and which orbit in their star's habitable zone.

Vesta's black patches reveal carbon-rich asteroid impacts

New data from NASA's Dawn mission bears out the theory that the dark color of the protoplanet Vesta is caused by the impact of carbon-rich asteroids.

Our galaxy contains 100 billion planets

There are at least 100 billion planets in the Milky Way alone, say Caltech scientists, based on extrapolations from the Kepler-32 system.

Desert meteorite shows signs of wetter Mars

A meteorite found in the Moroccan desert in 2011 appears to have originated in Mars' crust - and contains much more water than any Martian meteorite ever found before.

Robot hedgehogs could explore Martian moon

Rolling robots like spiky tumbleweeds could be used to explore the moons of Mars, says a team of NASA, Stanford and MIT engineers.

Galactic geysers erupt halfway across the sky

Astronomers have discovered enormous outflows of charged particles from the centre of our galaxy, moving at supersonic speeds.

Cosmic radiation puts astronauts at risk of Alzheimer's

Even with shielding, the amount of cosmic radiation involved in a trip to Mars could put astronauts on the path to Alzheimer's disease.

Oldest Earth-observing satellite to retire

The US Geological Survey is to decomission Landsat 5 - the longest-operating Earth observing satellite mission ever.