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.

  • 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. […]

  • Studying Pluto orbiter mission
    on October 24, 2018 at 8:36 pm

    Astronomers have made several discoveries that expand the range and value of a future Pluto orbiter mission. The breakthroughs define a fuel-saving orbital tour and demonstrate that an orbiter can continue exploration in the Kuiper Belt after surveying Pluto. […]

  • Mars: Oxygen-rich, life-supporting liquid water?
    on October 22, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    Given the right circumstances, water on Mars could hold more oxygen than previously believed, theoretically enough to support aerobic respiration, new research suggests. […]

  • NASA's first image of Mars from a CubeSat
    on October 22, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    NASA's MarCO mission was designed to find out if briefcase-sized spacecraft called CubeSats could survive the journey to deep space. Now, MarCO -- which stands for Mars Cube One -- has Mars in sight. […]

  • The threat of Centaurs for the Earth
    on October 9, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    Astrophysicists have investigated the long-term path development of Centaurs -- small icy bodies that orbit the Sun between Jupiter and Neptune. […]

  • Lunar craters named in honor of Apollo 8
    on October 5, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    The Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature of the International Astronomical Union has today officially approved the naming of two craters on the Moon to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 8 mission. The names are Anders's Earthrise and 8 Homeward. […]

  • Animal study suggests deep space travel may significantly damage GI function in astronauts
    on October 2, 2018 at 2:27 pm

    Deep space bombardment by galactic cosmic radiation (GCR) could significantly damage gastrointestinal (GI) tissue leading to long-term functional alterations, according to a new study, which also raises concern about high risk of tumor development in stomach and colon. […]

  • Experimental Martian dirt: $20 a kilogram, plus shipping
    on September 28, 2018 at 8:22 pm

    A team of astrophysicists has developed a scientifically based, standardized method for creating Martian and asteroid soil known as simulants. […]

  • Software finds the best way to stick a Mars landing
    on September 27, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    Researchers have developed a software tool for computer-aided discovery that could help mission planners make these decisions. It automatically produces maps of favorable landing sites, using the available data on Mars' geology and terrain, as well as a list of scientific priorities and engineering constraints that a user can specify. […]

  • How a tiny Curiosity motor identified a massive Martian dust storm
    on September 26, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    When dust filled the Martian atmosphere during the recent planet-wide dust storm, observations were plentiful -- even from unlikely instruments. […]

  • No longer whistling in the dark: Scientists uncover source of perplexing waves
    on September 26, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    Using data from a NASA four-satellite mission that is studying reconnection, scientists have developed a method for identifying the source of waves that help satellites determine their location in space. […]

  • Martian moon may have come from impact on home planet
    on September 24, 2018 at 6:40 pm

    Phobos, the larger of Mars' two tiny satellites, is the darkest moon in the solar system. This dark aspect inspired the hypothesis that the close-orbiting moon may be a captured asteroid, but its orbital dynamics seemed to disagree. A new study suggests Phobos' composition may be more like the volcanic crust of the Red Planet than it appears, consistent with an origin for the moon in an ancient, violent impact on Mars. […]

  • Ancient Mars had right conditions for underground life, new research suggests
    on September 24, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    A new study shows that the breakdown of water molecules trapped in ancient Martian rocks likely produced enough chemical energy to sustain microorganisms for hundreds of millions of years beneath the Red Planet's surface. […]

  • Legacy of NASA's Dawn, near the end of its mission
    on September 7, 2018 at 9:59 pm

    NASA's Dawn mission is drawing to a close after 11 years of breaking new ground in planetary science, gathering breathtaking imagery, and performing unprecedented feats of spacecraft engineering. […]

  • Curiosity rover surveys a mystery under dusty Martian skies
    on September 7, 2018 at 9:56 pm

    NASA's Curiosity rover recently surveyed its surroundings on Mars, producing a 360-degree panorama of its current location on Vera Rubin Ridge. […]

  • Mysterious 'lunar swirls' point to moon's volcanic, magnetic past
    on September 6, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    The mystery behind lunar swirls, one of the solar system's most beautiful optical anomalies, may finally be solved. The solution hints at the dynamism of the moon's ancient past as a place with volcanic activity and an internally generated magnetic field. It also challenges our picture of the moon's existing geology. […]

  • NASA's OSIRIS-REx begins asteroid operations campaign
    on August 24, 2018 at 7:05 pm

    OSIRIS-REx caught its first glimpse of asteroid Bennu last week and began the final approach toward its target. […]

  • Ice confirmed at the moon's poles
    on August 21, 2018 at 12:36 am

    Using data from NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper instrument, scientists have identified three specific signatures that definitively prove there is water ice at the surface of the Moon. […]

  • Hubble paints picture of the evolving universe
    on August 16, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    Hubble and other space and ground-based telescopes, astronomers have assembled one of the most comprehensive portraits yet of the universe's evolutionary history. […]

  • Parker Solar Probe launches on historic journey to touch the sun
    on August 12, 2018 at 10:50 am

    Hours before the rise of the very star it will study, NASA's Parker Solar Probe launched from Florida Sunday to begin its journey to the Sun, where it will undertake a landmark mission. The spacecraft will transmit its first science observations in December, beginning a revolution in our understanding of the star that makes life on Earth possible. […]

  • Spinning heat shield for future spacecraft
    on August 9, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    A newly developed prototype flexible heat shield for spacecraft could reduce the cost of space travel and even aid future space missions to Mars. […]

  • NASA's Planet-hunting TESS catches a comet before starting science
    on August 6, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    Before NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) started science operations on July 25, 2018, the planet hunter sent back a stunning sequence of serendipitous images showing the motion of a comet. […]

  • NASA assigns crews to first test flights, missions on commercial spacecraft
    on August 3, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    NASA has introduced the first U.S. astronauts who will fly on American-made, commercial spacecraft to and from the International Space Station -- an endeavor that will return astronaut launches to U.S. soil for the first time since the space shuttle's retirement in 2011. […]

  • Parker Solar Probe and the birth of the solar wind
    on July 30, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    This summer, humanity embarks on its first mission to touch the Sun: A spacecraft will be launched into the Sun's outer atmosphere. Facing several-million-degree Fahrenheit temperatures, NASA's Parker Solar Probe will directly sample solar particles and magnetic fields to resolve some of the most important questions in solar science. […]

  • Mars terraforming not possible using present-day technology
    on July 30, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    Science fiction writers have long featured terraforming, the process of creating an Earth-like or habitable environment on another planet, in their stories. Scientists themselves have proposed terraforming to enable the long-term colonization of Mars. A solution common to both groups is to release carbon dioxide gas trapped in the Martian surface to thicken the atmosphere and act as a blanket to warm the planet. […]