ExoMars 2016 is on its way to the Red Planet

The latest mission to Mars began its long journey today as the ExoMars 2016 lifted off at 09:31 GMT atop a Russian Proton-M/Breeze-M rocket at the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. A joint effort led by the European Space Agency (ESA) and Roscosmos, ExoMars 2016 is the first of a two-spacecraft mission to the Red Planet with the second unmanned probe scheduled to launch in 2018.Read More

Simulated Martian and lunar soils sprout their first crops

When and if colonists ever arrive on Mars, they're going to need something to eat … on a long-term, ongoing basis. That's why several research groups are looking into the feasibility of growing crops on the Red Planet. One of those teams, from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, previously tried growing food plants in simulations of both lunar and Martian soil. Although those tests proved unsuccessful, that wasn't the case the most recent time around.Read More

Mercury's dark secret

NASA's MEcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging spacecraft (MESSENGER) may have burned up last year, but the data it gathered before its demise is still being put to good use. Scientists have used the information to reveal the secret behind the dark appearance of Mercury's surface, with the results partially contradicting a recently proposed theory on the matter.Read More

A preview of the beautiful way our sun will die

This week the European Space Agency dug up one of the final images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2), to provide a preview of the end of the world. This star is all but gone now, but was once roughly the same mass as our sun. Read More

Spacecraft zooms in on lonely Ceres mountain

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has succeeded in capturing the most detailed views to date of the solitary mountain nicknamed Ahuna Mons, discovered on the dwarf planet Ceres. The images that were captured by Dawn in December 2015 will hopefully help shed light on some of the many mysteries surrounding the mountain, including its as-of-yet unknown creation process.Read More

Hubble provides fresh insights into "standard candle" supernovae

The Hubble Space Telescope has granted astronomers fresh insights into a special family of supernovae that represent a vital tool for astronomers attempting to measure vast cosmic distances. The discovery revolved around observing the aftermath of a Type Ia supernova, analyzing the properties of the residual light.Read More

SES-9 mission launch successful, but Falcon 9 landing less so

After successfully delivering a satellite into a geosynchronous transfer orbit, SpaceX attempted to land its Falcon 9 booster on a seabarge, the "Of Course I still Love You," in the Atlantic Ocean. The video feed cut out at the last instant, keeping everyone guessing as to the fate of the unmanned first stage rocket, but SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has now confirmed in a tweet that the landing attempt was unsuccessful.Read More


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