The hits just keep on coming for NASA's Kepler spacecraft. Today mission scientists announced that they've identified a thousand more candidate planets around other stars. One is Kepler-22 b, a world somewhat larger than Earth where you likely could walk around in shirtsleeve temperatures.
NASA's new planet-hunting spacecraft, launched seven months ago, has a few noisy detectors that make the stars under study appear to flicker. It's a problem the mission team knew about — and decided not to repair before sending the craft irretrievably into space.
Planetary scientists are crazy about Saturn's most active moon but can't agree on what powers the towering plumes gas and particles erupting from near its south pole. New findings, published this week, hint that the water vapor might be slowly evaporating from a salt-laced ocean in deeply buried caverns.