Spacewalker's near-drowning chastens agency

Feb 27, 2014

Spacewalker's near-drowning chastens agency

NASA could have prevented last summer’s near-drowning of a spacewalking astronaut at the International Space Station, an investigation panel has concluded. Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano’s helmet filled with water July 16 during his second spacewalk in a week. He barely made it back inside ...

Feb 27, 2014

NASA boasts of new planet 'mother lode'

Our galaxy is looking far more crowded and hospitable. NASA on Wednesday confirmed a bonanza of 715 newly discovered planets outside the solar system. Douglas Hudgins, NASA’s exoplanet exploration program scientist, called the announcement a major step toward the planet-hunting Kepler telescope’s ultimate goal ...

Feb 24, 2014

Newborn Earth cooled faster than thought

A microscopic grain of Earth’s oldest known mineral has been dated to 4.4 billion years ago, shedding light on our planet’s infancy and how it first came to harbor life, researchers said Sunday. The finding proves that Earth remained a fiery ball covered in ...

NASA eyes private lunar missions

Feb 9, 2014

NASA eyes private lunar missions

NASA, building on successful partnerships with private companies to resupply the International Space Station, is now looking to private entrepreneurs to help exploit resources on the moon. In its latest initiative, unveiled in late January, the U.S. space agency is proposing that private companies ...

Mars rover marks a decade of work

Jan 24, 2014

Mars rover marks a decade of work

A decade after landing on Mars, the rover Opportunity is still chugging along. Sure, it has some wear and tear. One of its six wheels and two instruments stopped working long ago. It has an arthritic joint. Its flash memory occasionally suffers a senior ...

Water plumes spotted on dwarf planet Ceres

Jan 23, 2014

Water plumes spotted on dwarf planet Ceres

The largest object in the asteroid belt just got more attractive. Scientists have confirmed signs of water on the dwarf planet Ceres, one of the few bodies in the solar system to hold that distinction. Peering through the Herschel Space Observatory, a team led ...

Comet probe to be awoken

Jan 17, 2014

Comet probe to be awoken

One of the most ambitious missions in the history of space will go into high-risk mode Monday when Europe rouses a comet-chasing probe from years of hibernation. “The most important alarm clock in the solar system” will end the scout Rosetta’s long slumber, gearing ...

Europe launches Gaia satellite to map Milky Way

Dec 20, 2013

Europe launches Gaia satellite to map Milky Way

The European Space Agency launched its star-surveying satellite Gaia into space on Thursday, hoping to produce the most accurate three-dimensional map of the Milky Way and to better understand the evolution of our galaxy. Soon after the launch from French Guiana aboard a Russian-made ...