For 30 years, a large near-Earth asteroid wandered its lone, intrepid path, passing before the scrutinizing eyes of scientists while keeping something to itself: 3552 Don Quixote, whose journey stretches to the orbit of Jupiter, now appears to be a comet.
Ion propulsion used to exist only in the imagination of science fiction writers. But after years of research and development NASA is poised to equip some of its most important deep space missions with ion engines that can nudge spacecraft using charged particles accelerated to blistering speeds of up to 90,000 miles per hour. And in the vastness of space, those engines need to push continuously for years.
Lying more than 110 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Antlia (The Air Pump) is the spiral galaxy IC 2560, shown here in an image from NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.
Like the wind adjusting course in the middle of a storm, scientists have discovered that the particles streaming into the solar system from interstellar space have most likely changed direction over the last 40 years. Such information can help us map out our place within the galaxy surrounding us, and help us understand our place in space.
The results, based on data spanning four decades from 11 different spacecraft, were published in Science on Sept. 5, 2013.
Astronomers are constantly on the hunt for ever-colder star-like bodies, and two years ago a new class of objects was discovered by researchers using NASA's WISE space telescope. However, until now no one has known exactly how cool their surfaces really are - some evidence suggested they could be room temperature.
Exceptional structures deposited and shaped by water and winds adorn these interlocking craters and sculpt radiating patterns in the sands of Mars.
Astronomers have used the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and ESO's New Technology Telescope to explore more than 100 planetary nebulae in the central bulge of our galaxy. They have found that butterfly-shaped members of this cosmic family tend to be mysteriously aligned — a surprising result given their different histories and varied properties.
NASA's black-hole-hunter spacecraft, the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, has "bagged" its first 10 supermassive black holes. The mission, which has a mast the length of a school bus, is the first telescope capable of focusing the highest-energy X-ray light into detailed pictures.
NASA has narrowed to four the number of potential landing sites for the agency's next mission to the surface of Mars, a 2016 lander to study the planet's interior.
The stationary Interior Exploration Using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander is scheduled to launch in March 2016 and land on Mars six months later.
A monster storm that erupted on Saturn in late 2010 – as large as any storm ever observed on the ringed planet -- has already impressed researchers with its intensity and long-lived turbulence.
For the first time, astronomers have seen the image of a distant quasar split into multiple images by the effects of a cloud of ionized gas in our own Milky Way Galaxy. Such events were predicted as early as 1970, but the first evidence for one now has come from the National Science Foundation's Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) radio telescope system.
This light-year-long knot of interstellar gas and dust resembles a caterpillar on its way to a feast. But the meat of the story is not only what this cosmic caterpillar eats for lunch, but also what's eating it. Harsh winds from extremely bright stars are blasting ultraviolet radiation at this "wanna-be" star and sculpting the gas and dust into its long shape.
An analysis of gravity and topography data from the Saturnian moon Titan obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft suggests there could be something unexpected about the moon's outer ice shell.
New evidence has purportedly emerged which supports the long-debated theory that life on Earth may have started on Mars.
When NASA’s Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) begins operation aboard the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission managed by NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., it will attempt to show two-way laser communication beyond Earth is possible, expanding the possibility of transmitting huge amounts of data.
The largest 3-D printed rocket engine component NASA ever has tested blazed to life Thursday, Aug. 22 during an engine firing that generated a record 20,000 pounds of thrust.
Anybody who says NASA researchers don't know how to have a smashing good time has not met a team at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. They are test engineers whose job it is to make aircraft safer by crashing them.
The Chelyabinsk meteorite either collided with another body in the solar system or came too close to the Sun before it fell to Earth, according to research announced today (Tuesday 27th August) at the Goldschmidt conference in Florence.
Ten years after a Delta II rocket launched NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, lighting up the night sky over Cape Canaveral, Fla., the fourth of the agency's four Great Observatories continues to illuminate the dark side of the cosmos with its infrared eyes.
This image shows the potentially hazardous near-Earth object 1998 KN3 as it zips past a cloud of dense gas and dust near the Orion nebula.