21–40 of 65 results
organic material on Ceres

Spacecraft and Space Missions

Scientists Find Organics on Ceres

The Dawn spacecraft has detected organic compounds on the dwarf planet Ceres.

flaring M dwarf


Proxima Centauri b Likely a Desert World

Astronomers suspect the Sun’s closest stellar neighbor desiccated its potentially rocky exoplanet, destroying the planet’s chances for habitability.

Pluto's Sputnik Planum in color


Top 12 Astronomy News Stories of 2016

From the discovery of gravitational waves to the building evidence that a massive planet could exist beyond Pluto, it has been a thrilling year for astronomy research. We recap.

Curiosity on Mars cartoon

Solar System

Curiosity Tracks Mars’s Ancient Habitability

Curiosity scientists have tracked Gale Crater’s changing environment as it became more, then less, acidic over millions of years. Microbial life could have survived in these conditions.

convective M dwarf


Proxima Centauri Has Sun-Like Cycle

Observations confirm that the closest star to our solar system has a regular magnetic cycle similar to our Sun.

Propylene Oxide, chiral molecule


First Chiral Molecule Discovered in Space

The discovery of a chiral molecule in space has the potential to sort out one of the biggest mysteries in the chemistry of life.

Mars's atmospheric loss

Spacecraft and Space Missions

Mars Losing Gas to Solar Wind

NASA’s Mars orbiter MAVEN has painted a detailed picture of how the solar wind robs the Red Planet of its atmosphere.

Enceladus on 28 October 2015

Solar System

Cassini Flies Through Enceladus's Plume

On October 28th, the Cassini spacecraft took its deepest dive through the water plume spewing from the south pole of Saturn’s moon Enceladus. It passed only 30 miles (50 kilometers) above the icy surface.

Asteroid breakup (artwork)

Stellar Science

The Curious Case of KIC 8462852

The Kepler spacecraft recorded a bunch of irregular dimmings around one of its target stars, designated KIC 8462852. No natural phenomenon explains the dips well.

Hale Crater's dark streaks

Solar System

Waterlogged Salts on Mars

Scientists have confirmed that water-soaked salts likely create dark seasonal lines on Mars.

Yuri Milner's SETI announcement

Astronomy and Society

"Breakthrough Listen": Giant Leap for SETI

A $100 million donation will radically speed up the search for artificial signals from the nearest million stars — and from trillions of much farther stars in the 100 nearest galaxies.

glass on Mars


The Glint of Martian Glass

Scientists have detected glass in Martian craters, created by the fierce heat of impacts that melted the Red Planet’s surface.


Fooling with the Universe

This year’s April Fools' provides a wealth of alarming results. Catch up on all the scientific shenanigans here.


A Chaotic Planet-Forming Disk

A new map of Beta Pictoris reveals an asymmetric clump of carbon monoxide likely produced in cometary collisions. It provides a rare glimpse at the chaotic birth of a planetary system.

Solar System

Supervolcanoes on Mars

A new analysis of data from spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet suggests that gigantic calderas lie disguised on the planet’s surface. If the features are volcanoes, they could help explain the mysterious, fine-grain debris that coats Mars.


A Fix for the "Faint Young Sun"

For 40 years astrobiologists have wrestled with how to make the early Earth warm enough to support life even though the young Sun was at least 30% fainter than it is now. New climate models, powered by supercomputers, are converging on a solution.


Habitable Oasis on Mars?

The results from the Curiosity rover's first rock-drilling are in: the rock formed in the presence of fairly neutral, not-too-salty water and has a chemical makeup that might have provided energy for microorganisms.


Floating Ice on Titan?

Astronomers had thought that ice on the Saturnian moon's methane-ethane seas would sink. But a new study suggests that, if the right conditions are met, ice could actually float on this alien-Earth world.

Spacecraft and Space Missions

Kepler Zeroes in on Alien Earths

NASA's Kepler space observatory is finally achieving its goal of finding many Earth-size exoplanets with surface temperatures suitable for liquid water — and thus potentially habitable.

Tissint meteorite piece

Solar System

Freshest Mars Rock has Hints of Water

An international team of scientists has teased apart the secrets hidden inside a meteorite from Mars, including signs that the rock weathered acidic water while on the Red Planet.