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E.g., 10/24/2017
E.g., 10/24/2017
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  • Dawn spacecraft over Ceres
  • Enceladus
  • Haumea's ring illustrated
Your search has returned 797 articles:
  • Science Ticker

    Dawn spacecraft will keep orbiting the dwarf planet Ceres indefinitely

    It’s a new day for the Dawn spacecraft. The NASA spacecraft, which has been orbiting the dwarf planet Ceres since 2015, just got its final marching orders: Keep orbiting Ceres indefinitely.

    The extension, which NASA announced October 19, will be the second time Dawn’s mission at Ceres has been renewed. It means Dawn will still be in orbit when Ceres makes its closest approach to the sun...

    10/20/2017 - 15:15 Astronomy, Planetary Science
  • How Bizarre

    Here’s what space toilets can teach us about finding signs of alien life

    The search for life may get an assist from the call of nature. Astronomers can learn how to study the plumes of subsurface ocean water spewing from icy moons like Saturn’s Enceladus from an unlikely source: Space toilets.

    Future spacecraft might scoop up samples of Enceladus’ plumes. Figuring out what to expect is tricky: It’s hard to replicate the plumes in Earth-based labs. But...

    10/17/2017 - 17:38 Astronomy, Planetary Science
  • News

    Oddball dwarf planet Haumea has a ring

    Haumea can do the hula-hoop. The egg-shaped dwarf planet is the first object beyond Neptune to be spotted sporting a ring of particles.

    “It now appears that rings can be common in the outer solar system,” says Jose-Luis Ortiz of the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia in Granada, Spain.

    On January 21, Ortiz and colleagues used 12 telescopes at 10 observatories to peer into the...

    10/11/2017 - 13:00 Astronomy, Planetary Science
  • News

    Why it’s good news that Pluto doesn’t have rings

    Pluto has no rings — New Horizons triple-checked. An exhaustive search for rings and dust particles around the dwarf planet before, during and after the spacecraft flew past Pluto in 2015 has come up empty.

    “It’s a very long paper to say we didn’t find anything,” says team member Tod Lauer of the analysis, posted online September 23 at But the nonresult could help scientists...

    10/04/2017 - 11:30 Astronomy, Planetary Science
  • Mystery Solved

    How a meteor shower helped solve the case of the vanishing comet

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    The reappearance of a long-lost meteor shower has finally explained what happened to a missing comet named 289P/Blanpain.

    That comet was spotted only once in 1819 and never again, unusual for a body orbiting the sun. But in 2003, astronomers found a small asteroid moving along the Blanpain orbit, suggesting the space rock might be the comet (or a piece of it) after...

    10/02/2017 - 10:00 Astronomy, Planetary Science
  • Science & the Public

    New questions about Arecibo’s future swirl in the wake of Hurricane Maria

    When Hurricane Maria’s 250-kilometer-per-hour winds slammed into Puerto Rico on September 20, they spurred floods, destroyed roads and flattened homes across the island. A week-and-a-half later, parts of the island remain without power, and its people are facing a humanitarian crisis.

    The storm also temporarily knocked out one of the best and biggest eyes on the sky: the Arecibo...

    09/29/2017 - 15:12 Astronomy, Planetary Science
  • News

    Ice in space might flow like honey and bubble like champagne

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    Ice in space may break out the bubbly. Zapping simulated space ice with imitation starlight makes the ice bubble like champagne. If this happens in space, this liquidlike behavior could help organic molecules form at the edges of infant planetary systems. The experiment provides a peek into the possible origins of life.

    Shogo Tachibana of Hokkaido University in...

    09/29/2017 - 14:01 Astronomy, Planetary Science, Astrobiology
  • News

    R.I.P. Cassini

    PASADENA, Calif. — Cassini went down fighting.

    After 20 years in space and 13 years orbiting Saturn, the veteran spacecraft spent its last 90 seconds or so firing its thrusters as hard as it could to keep sending Saturnian secrets back to Earth for as long as possible.

    The spacecraft entered Saturn’s atmosphere at about 3:31 a.m. PDT on September 15 and immediately began running...

    09/15/2017 - 09:08 Astronomy, Planetary Science, Astrobiology
  • Science Ticker

    These are Cassini’s parting shots of the Saturn system

    Here are the final images from Cassini’s last look around the Saturn system.

    In its last hours before plunging into Saturn’s atmosphere, the Cassini spacecraft turned its cameras to the mission team’s favorite objects: the hydrocarbon-shrouded moon Titan, the geyser moon Enceladus and, of course, the majestic rings.

    After sending these raw images back to Earth, Cassini reconfigured...

    09/15/2017 - 00:09 Astronomy, Planetary Science
  • Science Ticker

    The Cassini probe dies tomorrow. Here’s how to follow its end

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    It’s not every day that a spacecraft gets vaporized by the very planet it sought to explore.

    After 13 years studying Saturn and its moons, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will plunge into the ringed gas giant’s atmosphere. The mission will come to a close at about 7:55 a.m. EDT (4:55 a.m. PDT) Friday, when Saturn’s atmosphere pushes Cassini’s antenna away from Earth,...

    09/14/2017 - 14:30 Planetary Science