NASA’s Deep Impact gives clues how to discover water on distant planets

NASA’s search for extrasolar, earth-like planets is one of the most fascinating scientific projects of our time. 300 “alien worlds” have been found so far, but it remains difficult to determine whether there is water present on those planets in order to support life as we know it. Scientists now have found a way to discover water using NASA’s over a distance of tens of millions of miles.

New telescope to map the southern skies

SkyMapper, Australia’s first new optical research telescope for 25 years, was inaugurated yesterday to map the southern skies.

Space - the final frontier

Opinion: On the 28th October, 1971, the United Kingdom launched its first - and only - satellite to be carried into orbit by a launch vehicle also designed and built in the UK. The Black Arrow launcher placed the Prospero satellite in low earth orbit some three months after the project had been cancelled by the government.

NASA preps mission to create 3D maps of lunar surface

NASA is in the final stages to of getting a new mission off the ground to come up with much more detailed maps of the moon’s surface, to find safe landing sites for human explorers and discover potential resources.

Space shuttle to stay in space another day

Bad weather convinced NASA to delay the landing of the space shuttle for one day.

Rover shows Mars's watery past

The Mars Rover Opportunity has 'reported back' after two years investigating Victoria Crater on Mars. The data shows more evidence of the planet's wet, windy and wild past.

Space shuttle Atlantis prepares for Friday landing

The crew of the space shuttle Atlantis is preparing to return to Earth after successfully repairing and upgrading the Hubble telescope. Astronauts have reportedly tested the shuttle's reaction control system steering thrusters, which will be used to control Atlantis' altitude and speed after Friday's deorbit burn.

Virgin Galactic spaceships set for test flight this year

Sir Richard Branson has told Google's Zeitgeist conference that Virgin Galactic spaceships will be ready for testing by the end of the year.

Obama discusses top NASA job with ex-astronaut today

A former astronaut is to meet Barack Obama today, and is being tipped for the top job at NASA.

SETI celebrates ten years of not finding aliens

The SETI@home project, which has involved thousands of people around the world in a search for evidence of intelligent extra-terrestrial life marks its 10th anniversary this week.

Warped bolt delays Hubble repair

A warped bolt frustrated astronauts Mike Massimino and Mike Good yesterday, forcing the spacewalkers to cancel the installation of a new protective thermal insulation panel on the Hubble telescope.

Hubble has a new camera

The Hubble Space Telescope now has a new Wide Field Camera, following yesterday's seven-hour spacewalk by astronauts John Grunsfeld and Drew Feustel.

Update: Herschel and Planck spacecraft hitch ride on Ariane 5 rocket

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has confirmed the successful launch of the European Herschel and Planck spacecraft. "The European Space Agency missions, with significant participation from NASA, hitched a ride together on an Ariane 5 rocket, but now have different journeys before them," the JPL explained in a statement. "Herschel will explore, with unprecedented clarity, the earliest stages of star and galaxy birth in the universe. Planck will look back to almost the beginning of time itself, gathering new details to help explain how our universe came to be."

Herschel and Planck launch today to study Big Bang

The Ariane 5 rocket is to launch today, carrying two telescopes which are expected to reveal important information about star birth and galaxy formation. They may also even help answer questions such as how the universe began.

Space shuttle Atlantis captures Hubble telescope

The Hubble telescope has reportedly been captured by the space shuttle Atlantis' robotic arm. "Using views from a camera centered in a structure where the telescope will be berthed, Hubble [will be lowered] into a special cradle, called the Flight Support System, or FSS, in Atlantis' payload bay," NASA explained in statement. "The telescope will be latched to the high-tech, lazy Susan-type device for the duration of the servicing work."

NASA inspects Atlantis heat shield, preps for Hubble rendezvous

NASA astronauts have deployed a robotic arm and sensor to inspect critical areas of the thermal system protecting the space shuttle Atlantis. The survey, which includes an analysis of the nose and wing leading edges, is reportedly following standard post-launch procedure. Relevant data has been relayed to shuttle imagery experts in Mission Control for analysis.

Spirit rover stuck in Martian sand

The Mars rover Spirit is stuck in soft sand on Mars, and controllers are scratching their heads trying to work out how to extricate it. PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - The Mars rover Spirit is stuck in soft sand on Mars, and controllers are scratching their heads trying to work out how to extricate it.

Rescue shuttle ready for lift off

Updated: Space Shuttle Atlantis has successfully reached parking orbit after launching from the Kennedy Space Center.

Combing the skies for Earth-like planets

Mankind is always going to be most interested in those extra-solar planets which most closely resemble Earth. Now, researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have created what they call an "astro-comb" to help astronomers detect lighter planets, more like Earth, around distant stars.

Obama orders comprehensive review of NASA's manned space program

The Obama administration has ordered a comprehensive review of NASA's manned space program. According to White House science adviser John Holdren, an external panel will be granted 90 days to examine future shuttle designs and propose improvements or alternatives. The panel will also consider extending NASA's use of the international space station beyond 2016.