Space Missions

Space Missions News -- ScienceDaily Space Missions to Venus, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter and the Moon. Learn about new space missions being planned. Read astronomy articles on recent space missions by NASA, ESA and more.

  • NASA's MAVEN mission finds Mars has a twisted magnetic tail
    on October 19, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    Mars has an invisible magnetic 'tail' that is twisted by interaction with the solar wind, according to new research using data from NASA's MAVEN spacecraft. […]

  • Solar eruptions could electrify Martian moons
    on October 18, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    Powerful solar eruptions could electrically charge areas of the Martian moon Phobos to hundreds of volts, presenting a complex electrical environment that could possibly affect sensitive electronics carried by future robotic explorers, according to a new NASA study. The study also considered electrical charges that could develop as astronauts transit the surface on potential human missions to Phobos. […]

  • A mission to Mars could make its own oxygen thanks to plasma technology
    on October 18, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Plasma technology could hold the key to creating a sustainable oxygen supply on Mars, a new study has found. It suggests that Mars, with its 96 per cent carbon dioxide atmosphere, has nearly ideal conditions for creating oxygen from CO2 through a process known as decomposition. […]

  • Potential human habitat located on the moon
    on October 18, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    A new study confirms the existence of a large open lava tube in the Marius Hills region of the moon, which could be used to protect astronauts from hazardous conditions on the surface. […]

  • Space greens beat the blues
    on October 18, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    Where people will go in the cosmos, plants will go, say researchers. Plants may also play a key role in maintaining the psychological well-being of space crews. The next frontier of space plant experimentation is to examine the psychological impact of plant life on astronauts. […]

  • Study shows how water could have flowed on 'cold and icy' ancient Mars
    on October 17, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    Research by planetary scientists finds that periodic melting of ice sheets on a cold early Mars would have created enough water to carve the ancient valleys and lakebeds seen on the planet today. […]

  • Space radiation won't stop NASA's human exploration
    on October 13, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    While it's true that space radiation is one of the biggest challenges for a human journey to Mars, it's also true that NASA is developing technologies and countermeasures to ensure a safe and successful journey to the red planet. […]

  • New insight into the limits of possible life on Mars
    on October 13, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Researchers investigating whether liquid water could exist on Mars have provided new insight into the limits of life on the red planet. […]

  • Reconstructing Cassini's plunge into Saturn
    on October 12, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    As NASA's Cassini spacecraft made its fateful dive into the upper atmosphere of Saturn on Sept. 15, the spacecraft was live-streaming data from eight of its science instruments, along with readings from a variety of engineering systems. While analysis of science data from the final plunge will take some time, Cassini engineers already have a pretty clear understanding of how the spacecraft itself behaved as it went in. […]

  • The moon once had an atmosphere
    on October 9, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    A new study shows that an atmosphere was produced around the ancient Moon, 3 to 4 billion years ago, when intense volcanic eruptions spewed gases above the surface faster than they could escape to space. […]

  • Mars study yields clues to possible cradle of life
    on October 6, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    The discovery of evidence for ancient sea-floor hydrothermal deposits on Mars identifies an area on the planet that may offer clues about the origin of life on Earth. The research offers evidence that these deposits were formed by heated water from a volcanically active part of the planet's crust entering the bottom of a large sea long ago. […]

  • Mars' moon Phobos examined in a different light
    on October 5, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    NASA's longest-lived mission to Mars has gained its first look at the Martian moon Phobos, pursuing a deeper understanding by examining it in infrared wavelengths. […]

  • Monitoring microbes to keep Marsonauts healthy
    on October 4, 2017 at 12:29 am

    To guarantee a safe environment for astronauts on long-duration space missions such as a journey to Mars, it is important to monitor how microorganisms such as bacteria adapt to the confined conditions onboard spacecraft, according to a study. […]

  • Meteorite tells us that Mars had a dense atmosphere 4 billion years ago
    on October 2, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    Exploration missions have suggested that Mars once had a warm climate, which sustained oceans on its surface. To keep Mars warm requires a dense atmosphere with a sufficient greenhouse effect, while the present-day Mars has a thin atmosphere whose surface pressure is only 0.006 bar, resulting in the cold climate it has today. It has been a big mystery as to when and how Mars lost its dense atmosphere. […]

  • A fresh look at older data yields a surprise near the Martian equator
    on September 28, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    Scientists taking a new look at older data from NASA's longest-operating Mars orbiter have discovered evidence of significant hydration near the Martian equator -- a mysterious signature in a region of the Red Planet where planetary scientists figure ice shouldn't exist. […]

  • Lava tubes: Hidden sites for future human habitats on the Moon and Mars
    on September 25, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    Lava tubes, underground caves created by volcanic activity, could provide protected habitats large enough to house streets on Mars or even towns on the Moon, according to new research. A further study shows how the next generation of lunar orbiters will be able to use radar to locate these structures under the Moon's surface.&nbs […]

  • NASA'S OSIRIS-REx spacecraft slingshots past Earth
    on September 22, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    NASA's asteroid sample return spacecraft successfully used Earth's gravity on Friday to slingshot itself on a path toward the asteroid Bennu, for a rendezvous next August. […]

  • Positive, negative or neutral, it all matters: NASA explains space radiation
    on September 22, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Charged particles may be small, but they matter to astronauts. NASA's Human Research Program (HRP) is investigating these particles to solve one of its biggest challenges for a human journey to Mars: space radiation and its effects on the human body. […]

  • Hope to discover sure signs of life on Mars? New research says look for the element vanadium
    on September 21, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    A new article suggests NASA and others hunting for proof of Martian biology in the form of 'microfossils' could use the element vanadium in combination with Raman spectroscopy to confirm traces of extraterrestrial life. […]

  • Solar eruption ‘photobombed’ Mars encounter with Comet Siding Spring
    on September 21, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    When Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) passed just 140,000 kilometers from Mars on 19th October 2014, depositing a large amount of debris in the Martian atmosphere, space agencies coordinated multiple spacecraft to witness the largest meteor shower in recorded history. It was a rare opportunity, as this kind of planetary event occurs only once every 100,000 years. […]

  • Unique type of object discovered in our solar system
    on September 20, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    Astronomers have observed the intriguing characteristics of an unusual type of object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter: two asteroids orbiting each other and exhibiting comet-like features, including a bright coma and a long tail. This is the first known binary asteroid also classified as a comet. […]

  • Devilish source of dust in atmosphere of Earth and Mars
    on September 18, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    Swirling columns of sand and dust, known as dust devils, are a feature of desert areas on Mars and on Earth. Now, a study of terrestrial dust devils has shown that around two thirds of the fine particles lifted by these vortices can remain suspended in the atmosphere and be transported around the globe. The findings have implications for the climate and weather of both planets and, potentially, human health here on Earth. […]

  • NASA's Cassini spacecraft ends its historic exploration of Saturn
    on September 16, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    A thrilling epoch in the exploration of our solar system has come to a close, as NASA's Cassini spacecraft made a fateful plunge into the atmosphere of Saturn, ending its 13-year tour of the ringed planet. Cassini's plunge brings to a close a series of 22 dives between Saturn and its rings, a feat never before attempted by any spacecraft. […]

  • First global map of water in moon's soil
    on September 13, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    A new study maps the trace concentrations of water implanted in the lunar soil by the solar wind, a water source that could be used as resource in future lunar exploration. […]

  • New gravity map suggests Mars has a porous crust
    on September 13, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    Scientists have found evidence that Mars' crust is not as dense as previously thought, a clue that could help researchers better understand the Red Planet's interior structure and evolution. […]

  • Astronauts don't develop anemia during spaceflight, NASA study suggests
    on September 12, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    Space flight anemia -- the reduction of circulating red blood cells during time spent in space -- is an established phenomenon, but it may not be a major concern during long-duration space missions, according to a study. […]

  • Pluto features given first official names
    on September 7, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    The Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature of the International Astronomical Union has officially approved the naming of 14 features on the surface of Pluto. These are the first geological features on the planet to be named following the close flyby by the New Horizons spacecraft in July 2015. […]

  • Discovery of boron on Mars adds to evidence for habitability
    on September 5, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    The discovery of boron on Mars gives scientists more clues about whether life could have ever existed on the planet, according to a new paper. […]

  • NASA's Lunar mission captures solar eclipse as seen from the moon
    on August 29, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    LRO captured an image of the Moon's shadow over a large region of the United States, centered just north of Nashville, Tennessee. […]

  • NASA's Webb Telescope will study our solar system's 'ocean worlds'
    on August 24, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    NASA's James Webb Space Telescope will use its infrared capabilities to study the "ocean worlds" of Jupiter's moon Europa and Saturn's moon Enceladus, adding to observations previously made by NASA's Galileo and Cassini orbiters. The Webb telescope's observations could also help guide future missions to the icy moons. […]