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Toxic Cloud on Titan is Laced With Cyanide

ESA October 1, 2014 The international Cassini mission has revealed that a giant, toxic cloud is hovering over the south pole of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, after the atmosphere has cooled in a dramatic fashion. Scientists analysing data from the mission found that this giant polar vortex contains frozen particles of the toxic compound hydrogen cyanide. “The discovery suggests that ... Read More »

Mars Spacecraft Prepares for Orbit Insertion

NASA JPL September 17, 2014 NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft is nearing its scheduled Sept. 21 insertion into Martian orbit after completing a 10-month interplanetary journey of 442 million miles (711 million kilometers). Flight Controllers at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Littleton, Colorado, will be responsible for the health and safety of the spacecraft throughout the process. ... Read More »

Candidate Landing Sites for Philae Lander Chosen

NASA JPL August 25, 2014 The European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission has chosen five candidate landing sites on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko for its Philae lander. Philae’s descent to the comet’s nucleus, scheduled for this November, will be the first such landing ever attempted. Rosetta is an international mission spearheaded by the European Space Agency with support and instruments provided by NASA. ... Read More »

Cassini Sees Clouds Form Over Titan Lake

NASA JPL August 12, 2014 NASA’s Cassini spacecraft recently captured images of clouds moving across the northern hydrocarbon seas of Saturn’s moon Titan. This renewed weather activity, considered overdue by researchers, could finally signal the onset of summer storms that atmospheric models have long predicted.   CONTINUE Image credit: NASA JPL-CalTech Space Science Institute Read More »

Rosetta is Closing in on the Comet

NASA JPL July 31, 2014 Less than a week before Rosetta’s rendezvous with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, images obtained by OSIRIS, the spacecraft’s onboard scientific imaging system, show clear signs of a coma surrounding the comet’s nucleus. A new image from July 25, 2014, clearly reveals an extended coma shrouding 67P’s nucleus. “Our coma images cover an area of 150 by 150 ... Read More »

Size of Alien Super-Earth Precisely Measured

NASA JPL July 23, 2014 Thanks to NASA’s Kepler and Spitzer Space Telescopes, scientists have made the most precise measurement ever of the radius of a planet outside our solar system. The size of the exoplanet, dubbed Kepler-93b, is now known to an uncertainty of just 74 miles (119 kilometers) on either side of the planetary body. The findings confirm ... Read More »

Curiosity Rover Finds Large Iron Meteorite on Mars

NASA July 15, 2014 This rock encountered by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is an iron meteorite called “Lebanon,” similar in shape and luster to iron meteorites found on Mars by the previous generation of rovers, Spirit and Opportunity.  Lebanon is about 2 yards or 2 meters wide (left to right, from this angle). The smaller piece in the foreground is ... Read More »

Rosetta’s Comet Outgassing 2 Glasses of Water Per Second

ESA June 30, 2014 ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft has found that comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko is releasing the equivalent of two small glasses of water into space every second, even at a cold 583 million kilometres from the Sun. The first observations of water vapour streaming from the comet were made by the Microwave Instrument for Rosetta Orbiter, or MIRO, on 6 June, ... Read More »

Boulder-sized Asteroid to be Captured, NASA Says

NASA June 19, 2014 NASA is on the hunt for an asteroid to capture with a robotic spacecraft, redirect to a stable orbit around the moon, and send astronauts to study in the 2020s — all on the agency’s human Path to Mars. Agency officials announced on Thursday recent progress to identify candidate asteroids for its Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), ... Read More »

Near-Earth Asteroid 2014 HQ124 – Mapped by Radar

NASA JPL June 12, 2014 NASA scientists using Earth-based radar have produced sharp views of a recently discovered asteroid as it slid silently past our planet. Captured on June 8, 2014, the new views of the object designated “2014 HQ124” are some of the most detailed radar images of a near-Earth asteroid ever obtained. An animation of the rotating asteroid ... Read More »

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