NASA

  • NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has provided new insights into a rocky exoplanet that may be very similar to the planet Mercury or Earth's Moon.
  • NASA has completed the first round of tool tests aboard the International Space Station (ISS) aimed at determining the feasibility of in-orbit refueling of satellites and deep-space missions.
  • NASA has given the official go-ahead for the Europa Clipper deep-space mission to make a detailed survey of one of Jupiter's largest moons. The unmanned mission can now proceed to its final design phase ahead of the building and testing of the spacecraft and its instruments.
  • NASA's Mars 2020 rover has received a key piece of equipment for the collection, containment, and eventual return to Earth of samples of the Red Planet as engineers installed the bit carousel of the Sample Caching System used to store and sort out the tools and core samples.
  • This week DARPA kicks off a competition called the Subterranean Challenge, where hordes of robots are unleashed into caves and tunnels to test how well they can autonomously navigate these environments. One team's designs could lead to robots that explore caves on other planets.
  • With an eye to making future unmanned and manned planetary landing missions safer, NASA has installed the first components of the advanced Mars Entry, Descent and Landing Instrumentation 2 (MEDLI2) sensor suite aboard the Mars 2020 entry vehicle.
  • If you plan to visit asteroid Bennu, you'll need a new map. The International Astronomical Union and NASA have decided that features of the asteroid currently being orbited by the space agency's unmanned OSIRIS-REx deep-space probe will be named after "birds and bird-like creatures in mythology."
  • Scientists are getting creative with propulsion methods for small spacecraft, including carrying water as fuel and converting it to steam. NASA’s OCSD mission has now leaned on this to pull off a first-of-a-kind maneuver between two of its CubeSats in low-Earth orbit.​
  • NASA's Mars 2020 rover passed its first set of eye exams as engineers work on the unmanned explorer's array of cameras. The first set of cameras was installed on the front of the rover at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in July and then given the robotic equivalent of an eye-chart test.
  • NASA has put a key component of its Orion deep-space probe through its paces, conducting a static firing of the main engine. The purpose of the 12-minute test of the qualification version of the propulsion system was to demonstrate its ability to return the capsule safely to Earth in an emergency.
  • Earth’s poles are famously icy places, but they’re far from alone in that regard. The poles of other planets and moons are often the best places to look for ice, and now a new analysis of NASA data has found evidence of much more water ice on the Moon and Mercury than previously thought.
  • While we have some idea about what kinds of signs of life to look for on other planets, many of these can also be created under natural processes. Now NASA is about to launch a new mission that can help root out these false positives by studying the interactions between stars and their planets.