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While Apollo 17 astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt visited Earth's moon for three days in December 1972, they drove their mission's Lunar Roving Vehicle 19.3 nautical miles (22.210 statute miles or 35.744 kilometers). That was the farthest total distance for any NASA vehicle driving on a world other than Earth until yesterday.
NASA's first mission to sample an asteroid is moving ahead into development and testing in preparation for its launch in 2016.
Johnny Cash may have preferred this galaxy's burning ring of fire to the one he sang about falling into in his popular song. The "starburst ring" seen at center of a new image in red and yellow hues is not the product of love, as in the song, but is instead a frenetic region of star formation. The galaxy, a spiral beauty called Messier 94, is located about 17 million light-years away.
What is the long-range weather forecast for the giant planets Uranus and Neptune? These planets are home to extreme winds blowing at speeds of over 1000 km/hour, hurricane-like storms as large around as Earth, immense weather systems that last for years and fast-flowing jet streams. Researchers set an upper limit for the thickness of jet streams on Uranus and Neptune.
An international team of astronomers have reported the first scientific results from the Karoo Array Telescope (KAT-7) in South Africa.
On May 31, 2013, asteroid 1998 QE2 will sail serenely past Earth, getting no closer than about 3.6 million miles (5.8 million kilometers), or about 15 times the distance between Earth and the moon. And while QE2 is not of much interest to those astronomers and scientists on the lookout for hazardous asteroids, it is of interest to those who dabble in radar astronomy and have a 230-foot (70-meter) -- or larger -- radar telescope at their disposal.
Much like the inside of an operating room, in the clean room at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., engineers worked meticulously to implant part of the eyes of the James Webb Space Telescope. They scrubbed up and suited up to perform one of the most delicate performances of their lives. That part of the eyes, the MIRI, or Mid-Infrared Instrument, will glimpse the formation of galaxies and see deeper into the universe than ever before.
Taking before and after pictures of the Martian terrain, researchers have identified nearly 250 fresh impact craters on the Red Planet. The results provide scientists with a better yardstick to estimate how frequently craters are blasted on Mars, allowing them to assess recently formed features with greater accuracy.
Scientists have created the first global topographic map of Saturn's moon Titan, giving researchers a valuable tool for learning more about one of the most Earthlike and interesting worlds in the solar system.
The intense gravity of a supermassive black hole can be tapped to produce immense power in the form of jets moving at millions of miles per hour.
A truss design devised to help workers process space shuttles continues to find new uses as a space shuttle engineer-turned-entrepreneur adapts it to everything from a solar-powered electric generator to a mobile cellphone tower.
On May 13, 2013, the sun emitted an X2.8-class flare, peaking at 12:05 p.m. EDT. This is the the strongest X-class flare of 2013 so far, surpassing in strength the X1.7-class flare that occurred 14 hours earlier. It is the 16th X-class flare of the current solar cycle and the third-largest flare of that cycle. The second-strongest was an X5.4 event on March 7, 2012. The strongest was an X6.9 on Aug. 9, 2011.
Given a legitimate need to protect Earth from the most intense forms of space weather -- great bursts of electromagnetic energy and particles that can sometimes stream from the sun -- some people worry that a gigantic "killer solar flare" could hurl enough energy to destroy Earth, but this is not actually possible.
Detecting alien worlds presents a significant challenge since they are small, faint, and close to their stars. The two most prolific techniques for finding exoplanets are radial velocity (looking for wobbling stars) and transits (looking for dimming stars). Astronomers have just discovered an exoplanet using a new method that relies on Einstein's special theory of relativity.
When we look into the distant cosmos, the great majority of the objects we see are galaxies: immense gatherings of stars, planets, gas, dust, and dark matter, showing up in all kind of shapes. A new Hubble picture registers several, but the galaxy catalogued as 2MASX J05210136-2521450 stands out at a glance due to its interesting shape.
Gone are the days of being able to count the number of known planets on your fingers. Today, there are more than 800 confirmed exoplanets -- planets that orbit stars beyond our sun -- and more than 2,700 other candidates. What are these exotic planets made of? Unfortunately, you cannot stack them in a jar like marbles and take a closer look. Instead, researchers are coming up with advanced techniques for probing the planets' makeup.
The water found on the moon, like that on Earth, came from small meteorites called carbonaceous chondrites in the first 100 million years or so after the solar system formed, researchers from have found.
New research finds that water inside the moon's mantle comes from the same source as water on Earth. The Moon is thought to have formed after a giant impact to a still-forming Earth 4.5 million years ago. These new findings suggest that Earth may have had water at the time of that impact, and some of that water may have been transferred to the moon.
Astronomers have found signs of Earth-like planets in an unlikely place: the atmospheres of a pair of burnt-out stars in a nearby star cluster. The white dwarf stars are being polluted by debris from asteroid-like objects falling onto them. This discovery suggests that rocky planet assembly is common in clusters, say researchers.
In a dark, starless patch of intergalactic space, astronomers have discovered a never-before-seen cluster of hydrogen clouds strewn between two nearby galaxies, Andromeda (M31) and Triangulum (M33). The researchers speculate that these rarefied blobs of gas -- each about as massive as a dwarf galaxy -- condensed out of a vast and as-yet undetected reservoir of hot, ionized gas, which could have accompanied an otherwise invisible band of dark matter.