NASA's Kepler discovers first Earth-size planet in the 'habitable zone' of another star

Using NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered the first Earth-size planet orbiting a star in the "habitable zone" -- the range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet. The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms that planets the size of Earth exist in the habitable zone of stars other than our sun.

NASA Rover Opportunity's selfie shows clean machine

In its sixth Martian winter, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity now has cleaner solar arrays than in any Martian winter since its first on the Red Planet, in 2005. Cleaning effects of wind events in March boosted the amount of electricity available for the rover's work.

Saturn’s rings reveal how to make a moon

Writing in the journal Icarus this week, Professor Carl Murray from Queen Mary’s Astronomy Unit reports that recently discovered disturbances at the very edge of Saturn's outer bright A ring result from a small icy object that formed within the ring and which may be in the process of migrating out of it. They have nicknamed the object, ‘Peggy’.

NASA Mars Orbiter spies rover near Martian Butte

Scientists using NASA's Curiosity Mars rover are eyeing a rock layer surrounding the base of a small butte, called "Mount Remarkable," as a target for investigating with tools on the rover's robotic arm.

ISEE-3: An old friend visits Earth

From 1978 to 1984, the satellite was the first to orbit a point called the Lagrangian 1 (L1), which lies between Earth and the sun, where the solar wind rushes by on its way to collide with the outskirts of the giant magnetic bubble surrounding Earth, called the magnetosphere. Monitoring that wind helped scientists better understand the interconnected sun-Earth system, which at its most turbulent can affect satellites around Earth.

Observing circles on Saturn

Saturn's winds race furiously around the planet, blowing at speeds in excess of 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) per hour at the equator.

Supercomputers study cosmic slurp

Somewhere in the cosmos an ordinary galaxy spins, seemingly at slumber. Then all of a sudden, WHAM! A flash of light explodes from the galaxy's center. A star orbiting too close to the event horizon of the galaxy's central supermassive black hole is torn apart by the force of gravity, heating up its gas and sending out a beacon to the far reaches of the universe.

Saturn's hexagon: An amazing phenomenon

n 1980 and 1981 NASA's Voyager 1 and 2 space probes passed for the first time over the planet Saturn, located 1,500 million km from the Sun. Among their numerous discoveries they observed a strange, hexagon-shaped structure in the planet's uppermost clouds surrounding its north pole.

Veggie experiment will expand fresh food production on Space Station

A plant growth chamber bound for the International Space Station inside the Dragon capsule on the SpaceX-3 resupply mission may help expand in-orbit food production capabilities in more ways than one, and offer astronauts something they don’t take for granted, fresh food.

BOSS quasars track the expanding universe

The Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS), the largest component of the third Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-III), pioneered the use of quasars to map density variations in intergalactic gas at high redshifts, tracing the structure of the young universe.

Construction to begin on NASA spacecraft set to visit asteroid in 2018

NASA's team that will conduct the first U.S. mission to collect samples from an asteroid has been given the go-ahead to begin building the spacecraft, flight instruments and ground system, and launch support facilities.

Faraway moon or faint star? NASA says possible exomoon found

Titan, Europa, Io and Phobos are just a few members of our solar system's pantheon of moons. Are there are other moons out there, orbiting planets beyond our sun?

NASA's Hubble extends stellar tape measure 10x farther into space

Using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers now can precisely measure the distance of stars up to 10,000 light-years away -- 10 times farther than previously possible.

NASA's LRO Mission and North America to experience total lunar eclipse

When people in North America look up at the sky in the early morning hours of April 15, they can expect the moon to look a little different. A total lunar eclipse is expected at this time, a phenomenon that occurs when the Earth, moon and sun are in perfect alignment, blanketing the moon in the Earth's shadow.

Images from NASA Mars Rover include bright spots

Images taken by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover on April 2 and April 3 include bright spots, which might be due to the sun glinting off a rock or cosmic rays striking the camera's detector.

Report: Gusev Crater on Mars once held a lake

If desert mirages occur on Mars, "Lake Gusev" belongs among them. This come-and-go body of ancient water has come and gone more than once, at least in the eyes of Mars scientists.

On the trail of a galactic serial killer

Several clues in the structure of NGC 1316 reveal that its past was turbulent. For instance, it has some unusual dust lanes embedded within a much larger envelope of stars, and a population of unusually small globular star clusters.

Regolith of small asteroids formed by thermal fatigue

The centimeter-sized fragments and smaller particles that make up the regolith — the layer of loose, unconsolidated rock and dust — of small asteroids is formed by temperature cycling that breaks down rock in a process called thermal fatigue, according to a paper published today in the Nature Advance Online Publication.

New catalog brings NASA software down to Earth

From the rudimentary but effective Apollo Guidance and Navigation System that landed the first humans on the lunar landscape to the code used to manage robotic missions to explore other planets, software has always been at the core of NASA’s mission successes.

NASA Mars Rover Curiosity scopes out new target

Last week, NASA's Curiosity Mars rover drove the last 98 feet feet (30 meters) needed to arrive at a site planned since early 2013 as a destination for studying rock clues about ancient environments that may have been favorable for life.