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.

  • Clear as mud: Desiccation cracks help reveal the shape of water on Mars
    on April 19, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    As Curiosity rover marches across Mars, the red planet's watery past comes into clearer focus. […]

  • NASA planet hunter on its way to orbit
    on April 19, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) launched on the first-of-its-kind mission to find worlds beyond our solar system, including some that could support life. Researchers will use spectroscopy to determine a planet's mass, density and atmospheric composition. Water, and other key molecules, in its atmosphere can give us hints about a planets' capacity to harbor life. […]

  • Optimizing space travel efficiency
    on April 18, 2018 at 11:43 pm

    Sending a human into space and doing it efficiently presents a galaxy of challenges. Scientists have explored ways to integrate the logistics of space travel by looking at a campaign of lunar missions, spacecraft design, and conducting research, to create a framework to optimize fuel and other resources. […]

  • Meteorite diamonds tell of a lost planet
    on April 18, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    Scientists have examined a slice from a meteorite that contains large diamonds formed at high pressure. The study shows that the parent body from which the meteorite came was a planetary embryo of a size between Mercury and Mars. […]

  • Martian moons model indicates formation following large impact
    on April 18, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    Scientists posit a violent birth of the tiny Martian moons Phobos and Deimos, but on a much smaller scale than the giant impact thought to have resulted in the Earth-moon system. Their work shows that an impact between proto-Mars and a dwarf-planet-sized object likely produced the two moons. […]

  • Pluto's largest moon, Charon, gets its first official feature names
    on April 12, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    Legendary explorers and visionaries, real and fictitious, are among those immortalized by the IAU in the first set of official surface-feature names for Pluto's largest moon, Charon. […]

  • Artificial intelligence helps predict likelihood of life on other worlds
    on April 4, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    Developments in artificial intelligence may help us to predict the probability of life on other planets. The study uses artificial neural networks (ANNs) to classify planets into five types, estimating a probability of life in each case, which could be used in future interstellar exploration missions. […]

  • Is there life adrift in the clouds of Venus?
    on March 30, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    In the search for extraterrestrial life, scientists have turned over all sorts of rocks. Mars, for example, has geological features that suggest it once had -- and still has -- subsurface liquid water. Scientists have also eyed Saturn's moons as well as Jupiter's as possible havens for life in the oceans under their icy crusts. Now, however, scientists are dusting off an old idea that promises a new vista in the hunt for life beyond Earth: the clouds of Venus. […]

  • Elon Musk's vision to colonize Mars updated in New Space
    on March 26, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    In a new article, Elon Musk, CEO and Lead Designer at SpaceX, presents the updated design for the Big Falcon Rocket, the powerful rocket intended to propel a newly modified space vehicle to the International Space Station and beyond to fulfill his vision for establishing a human presence on Mars. […]

  • Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions
    on March 19, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    A new theory about how oceans and volcanoes interacted during the early history of Mars supports the idea that liquid water was once abundant and may still exist underground. Geophysicists propose that the oceans originated several hundred million years earlier than thought, as the volcanic province Tharsis formed, and that greenhouse gases enabled the oceans. The theory predicts smaller oceans, more in line with estimates of water underground and at the poles today. […]

  • Space radiation more hazardous: Implication sfor astronauts and satellites
    on March 15, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    It might sound like something from a science fiction plot - astronauts traveling into deep space being bombarded by cosmic rays - but radiation exposure is science fact. As future missions look to travel back to the moon or even to Mars, new research cautions that the exposure to radiation is much higher than previously thought and could have serious implications on both astronauts and satellite technology. […]

  • Three NASA satellites recreate solar eruption in 3-D
    on March 9, 2018 at 10:07 pm

    Scientists have developed a model that simulates how shocks following coronal mass ejections, or CMEs, propagate from the sun -- an effort made possible only by combining data from three different NASA satellites. […]

  • Mineralogy of potential lunar exploration site
    on February 28, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    Scientists have long wanted to retrieve rock samples from the Moon's South Pole-Aitken basin, and a new study could be helpful in locating an ideal landing site. […]

  • The moon formed inside a vaporized Earth synestia
    on February 28, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    A new explanation for the Moon's origin has it forming inside the Earth when our planet was a seething, spinning cloud of vaporized rock, called a synestia. The new model resolves several problems in lunar formation. […]

  • The ideal settlement site on Mars? Hotspots, if you asked a crop
    on February 27, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    Selecting the perfect landing site will be essential for the successful establishment of the first Mars colony. Growing food crops will be one of the key tasks for the astronauts. Scientists have identified places on Mars that are favorable for plant species to grow. […]

  • On second thought, the Moon's water may be widespread and immobile
    on February 23, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    A new analysis of data from two lunar missions finds evidence that the Moon's water is widely distributed across the surface and is not confined to a particular region or type of terrain. […]

  • NASA's James Webb Space Telescope to reveal secrets of the Red Planet
    on February 20, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    Mars rovers and orbiters have found signs that Mars once hosted liquid water on its surface. Much of that water escaped over time. How much water was lost, and how does the water that’s left move from ice to atmosphere to soil? During its first year of operations, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will seek answers. Webb also will study mysterious methane plumes that hint at possible geological or even biological activity. […]

  • Did surface life evolve on Mars? Newly published research casts increased doubt
    on February 6, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    Surface life on Earth is abundant because of the availability of sunlight, surface water, generally moderate climate conditions. But the planet Mars would have never experienced such habitable conditions at the surface, according to new research. However, below the surface, hydrothermal systems on Mars may have provided the right environment for life on the Red Planet, researchers argue. […]

  • Moon's slow retreat from frozen Earth
    on February 6, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    Researchers provide new insight into the moon's excessive equatorial bulge, a feature that solidified in place over four billion years ago as the moon gradually distanced itself from the Earth. […]

  • Atmospheres of exoplanets in TRAPPIST-1 habitable zone probed
    on February 5, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have conducted the first spectroscopic survey of the Earth-sized planets within the habitable zone around the nearby star TRAPPIST-1. Hubble reveals that at least three of the exoplanets (d, e, and f) do not seem to contain puffy, hydrogen-rich atmospheres similar to gaseous planets such as Neptune. The results, instead, favor more compact atmospheres like those of Earth, Venus, and Mars. […]

  • Viruses are everywhere, maybe even in space
    on January 18, 2018 at 7:25 pm

    Viruses are the most abundant and one of the least understood biological entities on Earth. They might also exist in space, but as of yet scientists have done almost no research into this possibility. […]

  • New technique for finding life on Mars
    on January 18, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    Miniaturized scientific instruments and new microbiology techniques successfully identified and characterized microorganisms living in Arctic permafrost -- one of the closest analogs to Mars on Earth. By avoiding delays that come with having to return samples to a laboratory for analysis, the methodology could also be used on Earth to detect and identify pathogens during epidemics in remote areas. […]

  • Magnified and stretched out image of extremely distant galaxy
    on January 11, 2018 at 9:29 pm

    An intensive survey deep into the universe by NASA's Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes has yielded the proverbial needle-in-a-haystack: the farthest galaxy yet seen in an image that has been stretched and amplified by a phenomenon called gravitational lensing. […]

  • Steep slopes on Mars reveal structure of buried ice on Red Planet
    on January 11, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    Researchers have found eight sites where thick deposits of ice beneath Mars' surface are exposed in faces of eroding slopes. The ice was likely deposited as snow long ago. The deposits hold clues about Mars' climate history and also may make frozen water more accessible than previously thought to future robotic or human exploration missions. […]

  • Scientist's work may provide answer to Martian mountain mystery
    on January 11, 2018 at 7:15 pm

    By seeing which way the wind blows, a fluid dynamics expert has helped propose a solution to a Martian mountain mystery. He explains the common Martian phenomenon of a mountain positioned downwind from the center of an ancient meteorite impact zone. […]

  • Astronomers to build space telescope to explore nearby stars
    on January 11, 2018 at 3:05 am

    A new mission will launch a small satellite telescope into space to study the environment in other solar systems around the Galaxy's most common type of star. […]

  • Genes in Space-3 successfully identifies unknown microbes in space
    on December 29, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    Being able to identify microbes in real time aboard the International Space Station, without having to send them back to Earth for identification first, would be revolutionary for the world of microbiology and space exploration. The Genes in Space-3 team turned that possibility into a reality this year, when it completed the first-ever sample-to-sequence process entirely aboard the space station. […]

  • Mars: Not as dry as it seems
    on December 20, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    Two new articles have shed light on why there is, presumably, no life on Mars. Although today's Martian surface is barren, frozen and uninhabitable, a trail of evidence points to a once warmer, wetter planet, where water flowed freely -- and life may have thrived. The conundrum of what happened to this water is long standing and unsolved. However, new research suggests that this water is now locked in the Martian rocks. […]

  • Powerful new tool for looking for life beyond Earth
    on December 20, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    NASA has developed an innovative new spectroscopy instrument to aid the search for extraterrestrial life. The new instrument is designed to detect compounds and minerals associated with biological activity more quickly and with greater sensitivity than previous instruments. […]

  • Spanning disciplines in the search for life beyond Earth
    on December 13, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Following a gold rush of exoplanet discovery, the next step in the search for life is determining which of the known exoplanets are proper candidates for life -- and for this, a cross-disciplinary approach is essential. […]