News

InSight spreads solar wings in critical test

27 January 2018 Astronomy Now

NASA’s Mars Insight lander deployed its solar wings in a critical milestone on the road to launch from California in May. InSight will reach the red planet in late November, landing near the equator to study the interior of Mars.

News

Astrophysicist proposes new definition of a planet

22 January 2018 Astronomy Now

Pluto hogs the spotlight in the continuing scientific debate over what is and what is not a planet, but a less conspicuous argument rages on about the planetary status of massive objects outside our solar system. The dispute is not just about semantics, as it is closely related to how giant planets like Jupiter form.

News

Neutron star merger yields new puzzle for astrophysicists

19 January 2018 Astronomy Now

The afterglow from the distant neutron star merger detected last August has continued to brighten — much to the surprise of astrophysicists studying the aftermath of the massive collision that took place about 138 million light-years away and sent gravitational waves rippling through the Universe.

News

Asteroid missions on track to reach their destinations in 2018

18 January 2018 Stephen Clark

Pioneering spacecraft from NASA and the Japanese space agency promise to reveal two unexplored asteroids later this year, officials said Wednesday, beginning surveys that will culminate in daring descents to capture samples for return to Earth, where eager scientists await a hands-on look at the specimens.

News

Ingredients for life revealed in meteorites that fell to Earth

16 January 2018 Astronomy Now

Two wayward space rocks, which separately crashed to Earth in 1998 after circulating in our solar system’s asteroid belt for billions of years, share something else in common: the ingredients for life. They are the first meteorites found to contain both liquid water and a mix of complex organic compounds such as hydrocarbons and amino acids.