OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD LANDSCAPES The latest generation of interplanetary spacecraft have revealed diverse landscapes on (clockwise from top left) Ceres, Enceladus, Mars, comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, Pluto and Dione.
JPL-Caltech/NASA, UCLA, MPS, DLR, IDA; JPL-Caltech/NASA, Space Science Institute; JPL-Caltech/NASA, Univ. of Arizona; NavCam/Rosetta/ESA (CC BY-SA IGO 3.0); NASA, JHUAPL, SWRI; JPL-Caltech/NASA, Space Science Institute
HOT SPOT Venus, seen in this radar map from the Magellan spacecraft, might have once been habitable, new simulations suggest.
Proxima Centauri, the nearest member of the Alpha Centauri triple star system, is just a little more than 4 light-years away from the sun. With a proposed propulsion scheme using alpha particle decay, travel time to the star's newly discovered planet would be no shorter than 4,000 years.
Illustration adapted from Pale Red Dot/ESO; Background: A. Fujii/ESO
New telescopes and spacecraft will soon help researchers scour our galaxy for signs of extraterrestrial life. But what might aliens look like? And if they do exist, why haven’t they returned our calls? These are just some of the questions addressed in the Science News special report “In Search of Aliens” (SN: 4/30/16, p. 24).