The odds of finding a habitable planet outside of our Solar System got a
significant boost today, as NASA announced the discovery of the most
Earthlike world orbiting the most Sunlike star yet. Named Kepler-425b,
the new world located 1,400 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus
was detected by the Kepler space telescope. It has been characterized
by the space agency as "Earth's bigger, older cousin."
A Russian-made Soyuz
TMA-17M blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome last night, as it undertook a journey to the
International Space Station. Aboard the spacecraft was NASA astronaut
Kjell Lindgren, Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) cosmonaut
Oleg Kononenko and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
astronaut Kimiya Yui. The initial launch
proceeded without incident, with the rocket successfully reaching preliminary staging orbit. However,
soon after reaching space it became apparent that the spacecraft's
port solar array had failed to open.
New ESA images allow the public to take an in-depth tour of the Imhotep region of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P). Located close to the comet's equator, Imhotep is thought to be one of the most geologically diverse regions of 67P, with observations of the area contributing greatly to our understanding of the wandering celestial bodies.
At a Royal Society event in London earlier this week, Professor Stephen Hawking, Astronomer Royal Lord Martin Rees, and entrepreneur Yuri Milner announced an ambitious 100 million dollar initiative aimed at galvanizing the search for extraterrestrial life. The initiative would seek to make use of a blend of cutting edge telescopes and crowd sourcing to bring the hunt for life in line with present day technological capabilities.
NASA's Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) has returned a breathtaking image of planet Earth from a distance of roughly one million miles from the homeworld. The image captures the full disk of our planet showing a stunning sunbathed vista of blue oceans and swirling clouds, with glimpses of the North and Central America land masses.
ESA’s Philae comet lander has once again gone silent. According to the space agency, the first spacecraft to make a soft landing on a comet lost radio contact with the Rosetta orbiter mothership on July 9. Despite this setback, engineers are still transmitting commands to the unmanned probe in the hope of reestablishing communications and getting it to continue observations.
On June 28, SpaceX suffered a major setback when its unmanned CRS-7 mission carrying supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) exploded shortly after liftoff. In a press conference today, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk laid out the preliminary findings of the post-flight investigation which indicate the cause may have been a faulty strut.
Having already provided us with numerous insights into the nature of the dwarf planet Ceres, NASA's Dawn spacecraft is ready to move into a new, lower mapping orbit, which will provide the most detailed views so far.
A team of international astronomers has discovered a gas giant orbiting a distant star with characteristics remarkably similar to those of our own Jovian planet, Jupiter. The significance of the discovery is that the gas giant was found to orbit roughly the same distance from its host star HIP 11915, as Jupiter does from the Sun. This positioning may have profound implications for creating conditions favorable to the development of a habitable Earth-like planet in HIP 11915's inner solar system.
NASA has released more findings from the New Horizons Pluto probe; revealing new discoveries and mysteries about the dwarf planet and its moons. The images and instrument readings taken before and during the unmanned spacecraft's flyby on July 14 show a planet that is more active than previously expected, with some of the youngest features in the Solar System.