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.

  • 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. […]

  • Mars mission sheds light on habitability of distant planets
    on December 13, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Insights from NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, mission about the loss of the Red Planet's atmosphere can help scientists understand the habitability of rocky planets orbiting other stars. […]

  • Mars' atmosphere well protected from the solar wind
    on December 7, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    Despite the absence of a global Earth-like magnetic dipole, the Martian atmosphere is well protected from the effects of the solar wind on ion escape from the planet. New research shows this using measurements from the Swedish particle instrument ASPERA-3 on the Mars Express spacecraft. […]

  • Voyager 1 fires up thrusters after 37 years
    on December 2, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    A set of thrusters aboard the Voyager 1 spacecraft successfully fired up Wednesday after 37 years without use. Since 2014, engineers have noticed that the thrusters Voyager 1 has been using to orient the spacecraft, called "attitude control thrusters," have been degrading. […]

  • All missions on board for NASA heliophysics research
    on November 27, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Scientists have been studying the near-Earth environment for the better part of a century, but many mysteries -- like where the energetic particles that pervade the area originate and become energized -- still remain. In a new type of collaborative study, scientists combined data from 16 separate NASA and Los Alamos National Laboratory spacecraft to understand how a particle phenomenon in the magnetic environment around Earth occurs. These events, called substorms, can cause auroras, disrupt GPS communications and, at their most intense, damage power grids. […]

  • Earthworms can reproduce in Mars soil simulant
    on November 27, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    Two young worms are the first offspring in a Mars soil experiment. A biologist found them in a Mars soil simulant that he obtained from NASA. At the start he only added adult worms. The experiments are crucial in the study that aims to determine whether people can keep themselves alive at the red planet by growing their own crops on Mars soils. […]

  • Frictional heat powers hydrothermal activity on Enceladus
    on November 22, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    A computer simulation shows how icy moon heats water in a porous rock core. This study also offers among others an answer to the long-standing question of where the energy that can support water in liquid form on a small, cryovulcanic moon far from the sun comes from. […]

  • Previous evidence of water on Mars now identified as grainflows
    on November 20, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    Dark features previously proposed as evidence for significant liquid water flowing on Mars have now been identified as granular flows, where sand and dust move rather than liquid water, according to a new article. These findings indicate that present-day Mars may not have a significant volume of liquid water. The water-restricted conditions that exist on Mars would make it difficult for Earth-like life to exist near the surface. […]

  • Salt pond in Antarctica, among the saltiest waters on Earth, is fed from beneath
    on November 15, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    One of the saltiest bodies on Earth, an analog for what water might look like on Mars, is just one piece of a larger aquifer. […]

  • Dawn spacecraft explores dwarf planet Ceres' interior evolution
    on November 9, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    Surface features on Ceres -- the largest world between Mars and Jupiter -- and its interior evolution have a closer relationship than one might think. A recent study analyzed Ceres' surface features to reveal clues about the dwarf planet's interior evolution. […]

  • Next Mars rover will have 23 'eyes'
    on November 3, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    NASA's Mars 2020 mission will have more "eyes" than any rover before it: a grand total of 23, to create sweeping panoramas, reveal obstacles, study the atmosphere, and assist science instruments. They will provide dramatic views during the rover's descent to the Red Planet. […]

  • Return of the comet: 96P spotted by ESA, NASA satellites
    on November 3, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Sun-gazing missions SOHO and STEREO watched the return of comet 96P/Machholz when it entered their fields of view between Oct. 25-30. It is extremely rare for comets to be seen simultaneously from two different locations in space, and these are the most comprehensive parallel observations ever taken of this comet. […]

  • Study unveils changes in the brain during extended missions in space
    on November 1, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    A neuroradiologist conducted a study titled 'Effects of Spaceflight on Astronaut Brain Structure as Indicated on MRI,' the results of which will be featured in the Nov. 2 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. […]

  • NASA investigates invisible magnetic bubbles in outer solar system
    on November 1, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    Forty years ago, the twin Voyagers spacecraft were launched to explore the frontiers of our solar system, and have since made countless discoveries, including finding magnetic bubbles around two of the outer planets. […]

  • Medical-like tools for NASA to study samples of the solar system
    on October 31, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    A diagnostic tool, similar in theory to those used by the medical profession to noninvasively image internal organs, bones, soft tissue, and blood vessels, could be equally effective at 'triaging' extraterrestrial rocks and other samples before they are shipped to Earth for further analysis. […]

  • Martian landscapes formed from sand 'levitating' on a little boiling water
    on October 27, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Scientists have discovered a process that could explain the long-debated mystery of how land features on Mars are formed in the absence of significant amounts of water. Experiments reveal that Mars' thin atmosphere (about 7 mbar -- compared to 1,000 mbar on Earth) combined with periods of relatively warm surface temperatures causes water flowing on the surface to violently boil. This process can then move large amounts of sand and other sediment, which effectively 'levitates' on the boiling water. […]

  • 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. […]