The comet that disappeared: What happened to Ison? 19 August 2016, 10:23 pm Comet ISON, a bright ball of frozen matter from the earliest days of the universe, was inbound from the Oort Cloud at the edge of the solar system and expected to pierce the Sun's corona on November 28. Scientists were expecting quite a show. A new study suggests the comet actually broke up before reaching the sun.
A new Goldilocks for habitable planets 19 August 2016, 9:30 pm The search for habitable, alien worlds needs to make room for a second 'Goldilocks,' according to a researcher. A new study suggests that simply being in the habitable zone isn't sufficient to support life. A planet also must start with an internal temperature that is just right.
Venus-like exoplanet might have oxygen atmosphere, but not life 18 August 2016, 4:26 pm The distant planet GJ 1132b intrigued astronomers when it was discovered last year. Located just 39 light-years from Earth, it might have an atmosphere despite being baked to a temperature of around 450 degrees Fahrenheit. But would that atmosphere be thick and soupy or thin and wispy? New research suggests the latter is much more likely.
NASA prepares to launch first U.S. Asteroid sample return mission 18 August 2016, 1:10 am NASA is preparing to launch its first mission to return a sample of an asteroid to Earth. The mission will help scientists investigate how planets formed and how life began, as well as improve our understanding of asteroids that could impact Earth.
NASA asteroid redirect mission completes design milestone 18 August 2016, 1:06 am Following a key program review, NASA approved the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) to proceed to the next phase of design and development for the mission's robotic segment. ARM is a two-part mission that will integrate robotic and crewed spacecraft operations in the proving ground of deep space to demonstrate key capabilities needed for NASA's journey to Mars.
Brown dwarfs reveal exoplanets' secrets 15 August 2016, 7:49 pm Brown dwarfs are smaller than stars, but more massive than giant planets. As such, they provide a natural link between astronomy and planetary science. However, they also show incredible variation when it comes to size, temperature, chemistry, and more, which makes them difficult to understand, too. New work surveyed various properties of 152 suspected young brown dwarfs in order to categorize their diversity and found that atmospheric properties may be behind much of their differences.
New worlds new horizons: A midterm assessment 15 August 2016, 5:49 pm While scientists have made remarkable advancements in astronomy and astrophysics since the beginning of this decade -- notably the first detection of gravitational waves and the discovery of distant Earth-like planets -- unforeseen constraints have slowed progress toward reaching some of the priorities and goals outlined in the Academies' 2010 decadal survey of these disciplines, says a new report.
NASA's Fermi mission expands its search for dark matter 12 August 2016, 10:04 pm Dark matter, the mysterious stuff that makes up most of the material universe, continues to vex scientists, but three creative studies using NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have helped whittle down some possibilities.