NASA engineers crush fuel tank to build better rockets

NASA completed a series of high-tech can-crushing tests last week as an enormous fuel tank crumbled under the pressure of almost a million pounds of force, all in the name of building lighter, more affordable rockets.

Innovative instrument probes close binary stars, may soon image exoplanets

A new instrument that combines two high-resolution telescope techniques – adaptive optics and interferometry – has for the first time distinguished and studied the individual stars in a nearby binary star system, demonstrating promise for eventually picking out planets around other stars.

SMA reveals giant star cluster in the making

W49A might be one of the best-kept secrets in our galaxy. This star-forming region shines 100 times brighter than the Orion nebula, but is so obscured by dust that very little visible or infrared light escapes.

Swirls in remnants of Big Bang may hold clues to universe’s infancy

South Pole Telescope scientists have detected for the first time a subtle distortion in the oldest light in the universe, which may help reveal secrets about the earliest moments in the universe’s formation.

Hidden details revealed in nearby Starburst Galaxy

Using the new, high-frequency capabilities of the National Science Foundation’s Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT), astronomers have captured never-before-seen details of the nearby starburst galaxy M82. These new data highlight streamers of material fleeing the disk of the galaxy as well as concentrations of dense molecular gas surrounding pockets of intense star formation.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft reveals clues about Saturn Moon

NASA's Cassini spacecraft is providing scientists with key clues about Saturn's moon Titan, and in particular, its hydrocarbon lakes and seas. Titan is one of the most Earth-like places in the solar system, and the only place other than our planet that has stable liquid on its surface.

Collapse of the universe is closer than ever before

Maybe it happens tomorrow. Maybe in a billion years. Physicists have long predicted that the universe may one day collapse, and that everything in it will be compressed to a small hard ball. New calculations from physicists at the University of Southern Denmark now confirm this prediction – and they also conclude that the risk of a collapse is even greater than previously thought.

Hubble telescope spots evidence of water vapor venting off Jupiter moon

ASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has observed water vapor above the frigid south polar region of Jupiter's moon Europa, providing the first strong evidence of water plumes erupting off the moon's surface.

The universe might be a hologram

For a while now number crunching physicists have been working on a theory that everything around us is just a hologram.

Astronomers solve temperature mystery of planetary atmospheres

An atmospheric peculiarity the Earth shares with Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune is likely common to billions of planets, University of Washington astronomers have found, and knowing that may help in the search for potentially habitable worlds.

Clay-like minerals found on icy crust of Europa

A new analysis of data from NASA's Galileo mission has revealed clay-type minerals at the surface of Jupiter's icy moon Europa that appear to have been delivered by a spectacular collision with an asteroid or comet. This is the first time such minerals have been detected on Europa's surface. The types of space rocks that deliver such minerals typically also often carry organic materials.

Fire vs. Ice: The science of ISON at Perihelion

After a year of observations, scientists waited with bated breath on Nov. 28, 2013, as Comet ISON made its closest approach to the sun, known as perihelion. Would the comet disintegrate in the fierce heat and gravity of the sun? Or survive intact to appear as a bright comet in the pre-dawn sky?

NASA's Juno gives starship-like view of Earth flyby

When NASA’s Juno spacecraft flew past Earth on Oct. 9, 2013, it received a boost in speed of more than 8,800 mph (about 7.3 kilometer per second), which set it on course for a July 4, 2016, rendezvous with Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system.

NASA Mars spacecraft reveals a more dynamic Red Planet

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has revealed to scientists slender dark markings -- possibly due to salty water – that advance seasonally down slopes surprisingly close to the Martian equator.

Ancient crater could hold clues about moon's mantle

Researchers from Brown University and the University of Hawaii have found some mineralogical surprises in the Moon's largest impact crater.

Report: Ancient fresh water lake on Mars could have sustained life

Scientists have found evidence that there was once an ancient lake on Mars that may have been able to support life, in research published today in the journal Science.

IRIS provides unprecedented images of the Sun

The region located between the surface of the sun and its atmosphere has been revealed as a more violent place than previously understood, according to images and data from NASA's newest solar observatory, the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS.

You can't get entangled without a wormhole

Quantum entanglement is one of the more bizarre theories to come out of the study of quantum mechanics — so strange, in fact, that Albert Einstein famously referred to it as "spooky action at a distance."

NASA visualization shows Sun's magnetic flip

NASA's visualization (video) below shows the position of the sun's magnetic fields from January 1997 to December 2013.

Thinking inside the box, launching into space

Two tiny, cube-shaped research satellites hitched a ride to Earth orbit to validate new hardware and software technologies for future NASA Earth-observing instruments. The cube satellites, or “CubeSats,” which typically have a volume of exactly 33.814 ounces (1 liter), were launched on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket late last week  from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base as part of the NROL-39 GEMSat mission.