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.

  • Prolonged spaceflight could weaken astronauts' immune systems
    on January 23, 2019 at 10:44 pm

    Researchers report impaired NK-cell function during long-duration space travel. […]

  • Scientists find increase in asteroid impacts on ancient Earth by studying the Moon
    on January 17, 2019 at 7:20 pm

    A team of scientists has determined the number of asteroid impacts on the Moon and Earth increased by two to three times starting around 290 million years ago. Previous theories held that there were fewer craters on both objects dating back to before that time because they had disappeared due to erosion. The new findings claim that there were simply fewer asteroid impacts during that earlier period. […]

  • New Ultima Thule discoveries from NASA's New Horizons
    on January 3, 2019 at 4:11 pm

    Data from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, which explored Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule earlier this week, is yielding scientific discoveries daily. […]

  • NASA's New Horizons mission reveals entirely new kind of world
    on January 2, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    Scientists from NASA's New Horizons mission released the first detailed images of the most distant object ever explored -- the Kuiper Belt object nicknamed Ultima Thule. Its remarkable appearance, unlike anything we've seen before, illuminates the processes that built the planets four and a half billion years ago. […]

  • Juno mission captures images of volcanic plumes on Jupiter's moon Io
    on January 2, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    The Juno spacecraft captured new images of a volcanic plume on Jupiter's moon Io during a December 21 flyby. JunoCam, the Stellar Reference Unit (SRU), the Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM), and the Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVS) observed Io for over an hour, providing a glimpse of the moon's polar regions as well as evidence of an active eruption. […]

  • New Horizons successfully explores Ultima Thule
    on January 1, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    NASA's New Horizons spacecraft flew past Ultima Thule in the early hours of New Year's Day, ushering in the era of exploration from the enigmatic Kuiper Belt, a region of primordial objects that holds keys to understanding the origins of the solar system. […]

  • New Horizons spacecraft homing in on Kuiper Belt target
    on December 31, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    Only hours from completing a historic flyby of Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69, nicknamed Ultima Thule, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is on course and ready to gather scientific data on the small object's geology, composition, atmosphere and more. Closest approach takes place in the early morning hours of New Year's Day -- 12:33 a.m. EST -- marking the event as the most distant exploration of worlds ever completed by humankind. […]

  • The coolest experiment in the universe
    on December 21, 2018 at 9:18 pm

    NASA's Cold Atom Laboratory on the International Space Station is the first facility in orbit to produce clouds of "ultracold" atoms, which can reach a fraction of a degree above absolute zero. Nothing in nature is known to hit the temperatures achieved in laboratories like CAL, which means the orbiting facility is regularly the coldest known spot in the universe. […]

  • NASA's InSight places first instrument on Mars
    on December 21, 2018 at 9:16 pm

    NASA's InSight lander has deployed its first instrument onto the surface of Mars, completing a major mission milestone. New images from the lander show the seismometer on the ground, its copper-colored covering faintly illuminated in the Martian dusk. […]

  • Getting a glimpse inside the moon
    on December 19, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    New research provides the first-ever model of our Moon's rotational dynamics, taking into consideration its solid inner core. Their model helps to explain why, as seen from Earth, the Moon appears to wobble on its axis. […]

  • Mars InSight lander seen in first images from space
    on December 14, 2018 at 1:43 am

    On Nov. 26, NASA's InSight mission knew the spacecraft touched down within an 81-mile-long (130-kilometer-long) landing ellipse on Mars. Now, the team has pinpointed InSight's exact location using images from HiRISE, a powerful camera onboard another NASA spacecraft, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). […]

  • NASA's Juno mission halfway to Jupiter science
    on December 12, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    On Dec. 21, NASA's Juno spacecraft will be 3,140 miles (5,053 kilometers) above Jupiter's cloud tops and hurtling by at a healthy clip of 128,802 mph (207,287 kilometers per hour). This will mark the solar-powered spacecraft's halfway point in data collection during its prime mission. […]

  • NASA's InSight takes its first selfie
    on December 12, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    NASA's InSight lander used a camera on its robotic arm to take its first selfie -- a mosaic made up of 11 images. This is the same imaging process used by NASA's Curiosity rover mission, in which many overlapping pictures are taken and later stitched together. […]

  • NASA's Voyager 2 probe enters interstellar space
    on December 10, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    For the second time in history, a human-made object has reached the space between the stars. NASA's Voyager 2 probe now has exited the heliosphere -- the protective bubble of particles and magnetic fields created by the Sun. […]

  • NASA InSight lander 'hears' Martian winds
    on December 7, 2018 at 9:49 pm

    NASA's Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport InSight lander, which touched down on Mars just 10 days ago, has provided the first ever "sounds" of Martian winds on the Red Planet. […]

  • NASA's Mars InSight flexes its arm
    on December 7, 2018 at 9:47 pm

    New images from NASA's Mars InSight lander show its robotic arm is ready to do some lifting. With a reach of nearly 6 feet (2 meters), the arm will be used to pick up science instruments from the lander's deck, gently setting them on the Martian surface at Elysium Planitia, the lava plain where InSight touched down on Nov. 26. […]

  • NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft arrives at asteroid Bennu
    on December 4, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    NASA's Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft completed its 1.2 billion-mile (2 billion-kilometer) journey to arrive at the asteroid Bennu Monday. The spacecraft executed a maneuver that transitioned it from flying toward Bennu to operating around the asteroid. […]

  • Mars new home 'a large sandbox'
    on November 30, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    With InSight safely on the surface of Mars, the mission team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is busy learning more about the spacecraft's landing site. They knew when InSight landed on Nov. 26 that the spacecraft had touched down on target, a lava plain named Elysium Planitia. Now they've determined that the vehicle sits slightly tilted (about 4 degrees) in a shallow dust- and sand-filled impact crater known as a "hollow." InSight has been engineered to operate on a surface with an inclination up to 15 degrees. […]

  • NASA Hears MarCO CubeSats Loud and Clear from Mars
    on November 27, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    NASA's MarCO mission was built to see whether two experimental, briefcase-sized spacecraft could survive the trip to deep space, and the two CubeSats proved more than able. After cruising along behind NASA's InSight for seven months, they successfully relayed data back down to Earth from the lander during its descent to the Martian surface on Monday, Nov. 26. […]

  • InSight Is catching rays on Mars
    on November 27, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    NASA's InSight has sent signals to Earth indicating that its solar panels are open and collecting sunlight on the Martian surface. […]

  • NASA InSight lander arrives on Martian surface to learn what lies beneath
    on November 26, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    Mars has just received its newest robotic resident. NASA's Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander successfully touched down on the Red Planet after an almost seven-month, 300-million-mile (458-million-kilometer) journey from Earth. […]

  • NASA InSight Team on course for Mars touchdown
    on November 26, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    NASA's Mars Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) spacecraft is on track for a soft touchdown on the surface of the Red Planet on Nov. 26. Engineers will be keeping a close eye on the stream of data indicating InSight's health and trajectory, and monitoring Martian weather reports to figure out if the team needs to make any final adjustments in preparation for landing. […]

  • Mars moon got its grooves from rolling stones
    on November 20, 2018 at 5:58 pm

    Computer models shine a light on the origin of the Mars moon Phobos' distinctive grooves. […]

  • Overflowing crater lakes carved canyons across Mars
    on November 16, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    Today, most of the water on Mars is locked away in frozen ice caps. But billions of years ago it flowed freely across the surface, forming rushing rivers that emptied into craters, forming lakes and seas. New research has found evidence that sometimes the lakes would take on so much water that they overflowed and burst from the sides of their basins, creating catastrophic floods that carved canyons very rapidly, perhaps in a matter of weeks. […]

  • Scientists capture the 'sound' of sunrise on Mars
    on November 9, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    Scientists have created the soundtrack of the 5,000th Mars sunrise captured by the robotic exploration rover, Opportunity, using data sonification techniques to create a two-minute piece of music. […]

  • Evidence of outburst flooding indicates plentiful water on early Mars
    on November 5, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    The presence of water on Mars has been theorized for centuries. Early telescopes revealed ice caps, and early astronomers noted channels that were hypothesized to be natural rivers or creature-created canals. […]

  • Electrically charged dust in microgravity is surprisingly orderly
    on November 5, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    In a lab on Earth, electrically charged dust generally lines up either along the downward pull of gravity or across it. Scientists got a surprise when examining data from a similar experiment on the International Space Station orbiting 248 miles above Earth. Rather than the dust bouncing around randomly, the dust often wiggled around in straight lines, even without gravity. […]

  • NASA's Dawn mission to asteroid belt comes to end
    on November 2, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    NASA's Dawn spacecraft has gone silent, ending a historic mission that studied time capsules from the solar system's earliest chapter. […]

  • Naturally occurring 'batteries' fueled organic carbon synthesis on Mars
    on October 31, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    Mars' organic carbon may have originated from a series of electrochemical reactions between briny liquids and volcanic minerals, according to analyses of three Martian meteorites. The discovery that natural systems can form a small corrosion-powered battery that drives electrochemical reactions between minerals and surrounding liquid has major implications for astrobiology. A similar process could occur anywhere that igneous rocks are surrounded by brines, including the subsurface oceans of Jupiter's moon Europa and Saturn's moon Enceladus. […]

  • NASA retires Kepler Space Telescope
    on October 31, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    After nine years in deep space collecting data, NASA's Kepler space telescope has run out of fuel needed for further science operations. NASA has decided to retire the spacecraft within its current, safe orbit, away from Earth. Kepler leaves a legacy of more than 2,600 planet discoveries from outside our solar system, many of which could be promising places for life. […]