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.

Laser instrument on NASA Mars Rover tops 100,000 zaps

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has passed the milestone of 100,000 shots fired by its laser. It uses the laser as one way to check which chemical elements are in rocks and soils.

Glimpsing the infrastructure of a gamma-ray burst jet

A new study using observations from a novel instrument provides the best look to date at magnetic fields at the heart of gamma-ray bursts, the most energetic explosions in the universe. An international team of astronomers from Britain, Slovenia and Italy has glimpsed the infrastructure of a burst's high-speed jet.

Do black holes come in size medium?

Black holes can be petite, with masses only about 10 times that of our sun -- or monstrous, boasting the equivalent in mass up to 10 billion suns. Do black holes also come in size medium? NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, is busy scrutinizing a class of black holes that may fall into the proposed medium-sized category.

NASA's portrait of global winds

High-resolution global atmospheric modeling provides a unique tool to study the role of weather within Earth’s climate system. NASA’s Goddard Earth Observing System Model (GEOS-5) is capable of simulating worldwide weather at resolutions as fine as 3.5 kilometers.

How to cook a comet

A comet's journey through the solar system is perilous and violent. A giant ejection of solar material from the sun could rip its tail off. Before it reaches Mars -- at some 230 million miles away from the sun -- the radiation of the sun begins to boil its water, the first step toward breaking the comet apart.

NASA's Chandra helps confirm evidence of jet in Milky Way's black hole

Astronomers have long sought strong evidence that Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, is producing a jet of high-energy particles. Finally they have found it, in new results from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the National Science Foundation's Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope.

NASA-led Firefly Mission to study lightning

Somewhere on Earth, there's always a lightning flash. The globe experiences lightning some 50 times a second, yet the details of what initiates this common occurrence and what effects it has on the atmosphere – lightning may be linked to incredibly powerful and energetic bursts called terrestrial gamma ray flashes, or TGFs -- remains a mystery.

NASA Video Illustrates MAVEN Mission's Investigation of a Lost Mars

NASA has prepared a new video to illustrate its Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission's investigation of dramatic climate change on Mars. Today, Mars is a cold and barren desert world, with no sign of life, at least on the surface.

Melting the secrets of Great Lakes ice

Two scientists from NASA and NOAA have developed a new space-based technique for monitoring the ice cover of the Great Lakes that is so accurate it can identify a narrow channel of open water cut through the ice by an icebreaker -- even at night.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft offers new view of Saturn and Earth

NASA has released a natural-color image of Saturn from space, the first in which Saturn, its moons and rings, and Earth, Venus and Mars, all are visible. The new panoramic mosaic of the majestic Saturn system taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, which shows the view as it would be seen by human eyes, was unveiled at the Newseum in Washington on Tuesday.

NASA Mars Orbiter passes Big Data milestone

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has overhauled understanding of the Red Planet since 2006, has passed 200 terabits in the amount of science data returned. The data returned by the mission alone is more than three times the total data returned via NASA's Deep Space Network for all the other missions managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., over the past 10 years.

Black holes don't make a big splash

Throughout our universe, tucked inside galaxies far, far away, giant black holes are pairing up and merging. As the massive bodies dance around each other in close embraces, they send out gravitational waves that ripple space and time themselves, even as the waves pass right through our planet Earth.

NASA and international researchers obtain crucial data from meteoroid impact

A team of NASA and international scientists for the first time have gathered a detailed understanding of the effects on Earth from a small asteroid impact. The unprecedented data obtained as the result of the airburst of a meteoroid over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk on Feb. 15, 2013, has revolutionized scientists' understanding of this natural phenomenon.

Astronomers answer key question: How common are habitable planets?

NASA's Kepler spacecraft, now crippled and its four-year mission at an end, nevertheless provided enough data to complete its mission objective: to determine how many of the 100 billion stars in our galaxy have potentially habitable planets.

NASA's Kepler ushers in a new era of astronomy

Scientists from around the world are gathered this week at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., for the second Kepler Science Conference, where they will discuss the latest findings resulting from the analysis of Kepler Space Telescope data. Included in these findings is the discovery of 833 new candidate planets, which will be announced today by the Kepler team.

Scientists map (track) Greenland ice sheet summer melt

For the first time, a NASA airborne campaign will measure changes in the height of the Greenland Ice Sheet and surrounding Arctic sea ice produced by a single season of summer melt.

New climate-studying imager makes first balloon flight

Understanding Earth’s dynamic climate requires knowledge of more than just greenhouse gases. One of the key measurements scientists measure is reflected solar radiance, or the amount of outgoing sunlight energy scattered from Earth’s surface and atmosphere. Watching solar radiances over time helps scientists gauge and better understand environmental changes like global warming.

NASA advances world's first spaceborne sodium LIDAR

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 Curiosity Mars Rover approaches 'Cooperstown'

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.