Earth microbes could contaminate Mars

Common bacteria found on spacecraft may be able to survive the harsh environs of Mars long enough to inadvertently contaminate Mars with terrestrial life.

US military loses contact with experimental hypersonic vehicle

The US military has apparently lost contact with an experimental hypersonic vehicle over the Pacific Ocean.   

Beware alien invaders, says Stephen Hawking

They say strangers are just friends you haven't met yet - but it's not a view Stephen Hawking shares. In a new documentary series for the Discovery channel, he suggests that we should be avoiding making contact with aliens at all costs.

Hubble just gets better with age

The Hubble Space Telescope celebrates its 20th birthday today with the release of another photo that could come straight from the cover of a 1970s prog rock album.

US Air Force preps classified space plane for launch

The United States Air Force (USAF) is preparing to launch a top-secret robotic space plane from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Solar observatory sends back first dramatic pictures

The new Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) could be as important to science as the Hubble Space Telescope, says NASA, as it releases its first close-up pictures of the sun.

Spacecraft gets up close to Venus

The Venus Express spacecraft has completed an 'aerodrag' exercise, using its solar wings to catch and measure faint wisps of atmosphere just 180km above the planet.

Moon's polar craters may be electrified

Lunar explorers may have another hazard to contend with - new calculations by NASA's Lunar Science Institute team indicate that the moon's polar craters may be charged to hundreds of volts.

Comet McNaught was biggest yet

British scientists reckon they've identified the largest comet yet, using data from the ESA/NASA Ulysses spacecraft to measure the region of space disturbed by the its presence.

NASA trains humanoid robot for space station duty

NASA is preparing to launch the first human-like robot to space as part of the Discovery STS-133 mission planned for September. 


Newly-discovered exoplanets found going backwards

ESO astronomers have discovered nine new exoplanets - and found that several are going the wrong way.

New SETI program to scan for low-frequency messages

A new radio astronomy facility has started mapping the universe at very low wavelengths and looking for messages from other civilisations.

Life on Titan? It stinks, says scientist

If there really is life on saturn's moon Titan, it's likely to be smelly and explosive, according to astrobiologist William Bains.

NASA announces new programs - and budgets

NASA has announced its plans for the next few years. With the Constellation program for a manned moon landing axed, the focus will instead be on missions to the International Space Station and flight beyond Earth's orbit.

Volcanoes may still be active on Venus

Venus is still capable of volcanic eruptions, data from ESA’s Venus Express spacecraft suggests.

Ice explorer satellite launches today

ESA's Cryosat-2 ice mission is set for launch today, aiming to give scientists some hard evidence on the state of the world's ice caps.

Teams compete in NASA moonbuggy race

More than 100 student teams from around the globe will this weekend take part in NASA's Great Moonbuggy Race.

Our universe may be inside a black hole, says physicist

Our entire universe may be located inside a wormhole, part of a black hole that lies within a much larger universe.

Hubble discovers mystery object orbiting brown dwarf

Astronomers have discovered a planet-like object circling a brown dwarf that appears to have formed much more quickly than was previously thought possible.

NASA releases people's pick of Mars photos

NASA has released the first Mars pictures commissioned by the public - and there's not a thumbprint or double exposure among them.