Kepler-78b is a planet that shouldn't exist. This scorching lava world circles its star every eight and a half hours at a distance of less than one million miles - one of the tightest known orbits. According to current theories of planet formation, it couldn't have formed so close to its star, nor could it have moved there.
It's used as a coolant in nuclear power plants and as a desiccant to remove humidity that otherwise would ruin moisture-sensitive products. Found in every cell in the human body, it transmits nerve impulses and regulates blood pressure.
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity completed its first two-day autonomous drive Monday, bringing the mobile laboratory to a good vantage point for pictures useful in selecting the next target the rover will reach out and touch.
In the spirit of Halloween, scientists are releasing a trio of stellar ghosts caught in infrared light by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. All three spooky structures, called planetary nebulas, are in fact material ejected from dying stars. As death beckoned, the stars' wispy bits and pieces were blown into outer space.
Every year, October is designated as American Archive Month. While many people may think “archive” means only dusty books and letters, there are, in fact, many other types of important archives. This includes the use of archives for major telescopes and observatories like NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.
NASA's first-ever deep space craft, Orion, has been powered on for the first time, marking a major milestone in the final year of preparations for flight. Orion's avionics system was installed on the crew module and powered up for a series of systems tests at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida last week.
Cosmochemists have solved a long standing mystery in the formation of the solar system: Oxygen, the most abundant element in Earth's crust, follows a strange, anomalous pattern in the oldest, most pristine rocks, one that must result from a different chemical process than the well-understood reactions that form minerals containing oxygen on Earth.
It's a view as good as gold. A loop high above Saturn by NASA's Cassini spacecraft revealed this stately view of the golden-hued planet and its main rings. The observation and resulting image mosaic were planned as one of three images for Cassini's 2013 Scientist for a Day essay contest.
At a cosmologically crisp one degree Kelvin (minus 458 degrees Fahrenheit), the Boomerang Nebula is the coldest known object in the Universe – colder, in fact, than the faint afterglow of the Big Bang, which is the natural background temperature of space.
Earlier this week, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover began climbing "Solander Point," the northern tip of the tallest hill it has encountered in the mission's nearly 10 Earth years on Mars.
Researchers using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory have found evidence that the normally dim region very close to the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy flared up with at least two luminous outbursts in the past few hundred years.
Galaxies may look pretty and delicate, with their swirls of stars of many colours – but don’t be fooled. At the heart of every galaxy lies a supermassive black hole, including in our own Milky Way.
The first Cygnus Spacecraft to visit the International Space Station (ISS), the G. David Low, departed the station at 7:31 AM EST on October 22, 2013. The Cygnus spacecraft is the latest in a long line of cargo vehicles built to resupply the orbital outposts that humanity has positioned in the heavens.
Apparently, my U-verse rep is right, getting Internet access is rocket science and I should stop screaming at him. As for its Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD), NASA has demonstrated a new record for data transmission using lasers. Communicating with laser sounds so cool, dude!
In preparation for its final switch-off on 23 October, mission controllers today fired Planck’s thrusters to empty its fuel tanks. The burn is one of the final steps to ensure that Planck ends its hugely successful mission in a permanently safe configuration.
The journey of light from the very early universe to modern telescopes is long and winding. The ancient light traveled billions of years to reach us, and along the way, its path was distorted by the pull of matter, leading to a twisted light pattern.
For NASA and its dozens of missions, data pour in every day like rushing rivers. Spacecraft monitor everything from our home planet to faraway galaxies, beaming back images and information to Earth. All those digital records need to be stored, indexed and processed so that spacecraft engineers, scientists and people across the globe can use the data to understand Earth and the universe beyond.
Developed to help scientists learn more about the complex nature of celestial objects in the universe, astronomical surveys have been cataloguing the night sky since the beginning of the 20th century. The intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF)—led by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech)—started searching the skies for certain types of stars and related phenomena in February.
The gauzy rings of Saturn and the dark side of the planet glow in newly released infrared images obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft.
A new image of the sunward plunging comet ISON suggests that the comet is intact despite some predictions that the fragile icy nucleus might disintegrate as the sun warms it. The comet will pass closest to the sun on Nov. 28.