Satellites and space missions

Saturn's hexagon has mysteriously changed color

Saturn's famous hexagon, a structure on the planet's north pole has changed its color from blue to gold over the last four years. The cause is still unknown, and researchers are working to figure it out. The hexagon, a six-sided jet stream, is about 32 000...

October 27, 2016

ExoMars 2016 to enter the Red Planet's orbit on October 19, 2016

ESA has announced the ExoMars 2016 mission is expected to enter the orbit of Mars on October 19, 2016, and has invited media representatives to attend the event at ESA's ESOC control center in Darmstadt, Germany. The ExoMars program was established to...

October 17, 2016

New ISS instrument to enhance knowledge on quantum phenomena

Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL), the compact, atom-chip based scientific instrument, is expected to be installed on the International Space Station (ISS) during late 2017. The instrument will provide the scientific community with new, interesting, insights into quantum...

October 12, 2016

Unusual discovery: Stars with three planet-forming discs of gas

Researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute in Germany have discovered a spectacular system consisting of two stars with three rotating planet-forming accretion discs around them. This is a binary star system where each star has its own planet-forming disc and in...

October 12, 2016

High altitude water plumes erupting off the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa

Astronomers have again imaged what may be water vapor plumes erupting off the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa, bolstering other observations suggesting the icy moon erupts with high altitude water plumes. The observation increases the possibility that missions...

September 26, 2016

China's Heavenly Palace to fall to Earth late 2017

After about six years in space, China's first prototype space station -- Tiangong-1 -- is expected to fall into the Earth's atmosphere in the latter half of 2017, Chinese officials said at a press conference last week. Tiangong-1 (Chinese for "Heavenly...

September 20, 2016

New insight into the space environment surrounding Pluto

Chandra X-ray Observatory was aimed several times at Pluto from February 2014 through August 2015 and made a surprising detection of X-rays being emitted from this largest and best-known object in the Solar System's outermost regions. The observations offer new...

September 19, 2016

OSIRIS-REx launched toward near-Earth asteroid Bennu, sample return expected in September 2023

NASA's first-ever asteroid sample return mission, OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer), was launched September 8, 2016 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The spacecraft thus started its two-year 193...

September 09, 2016

Juno takes first-ever images of Jupiter's north pole, sees weather activity unlike anything seen before

NASA's Juno spacecraft has executed the first of 36 orbital flybys on August 27, 2016, when it came about 4 200 km (2 500 miles) above Jupiter's swirling clouds. It was Juno's first flyby with instruments switch on and it sent back first-ever images of...

September 02, 2016

ESA's Sentinel-1A satellite hit by a space particle

European Space Agency reported today that a solar panel on its Copernicus Sentinel-1A satellite was hit by a millimetre-size (0.04 inches) space particle in orbit on August 23, 2016. Thanks to onboard cameras, ground controllers were able to identify the affected...

August 31, 2016

Will the International Space Station be decommissioned soon?

Have you ever looked up at the night sky and seen a strange, slowly moving light cross the horizon? Chances are it wasn’t an alien spacecraft, but instead, the International Space Station flying by. This extraordinary structure has been in orbit since 1998 and...

August 28, 2016

Contact with STEREO-B solar observatory reestablished after 22 months

After 22 months of failed communication attempts, NASA's Deep Space Network has finally reestablished communication with STEREO-B solar observatory. The STEREO Missions Operations team plans further recovery processes to assess observatory health, re-establish...

August 23, 2016

OSIRIS-REx to launch toward Asteroid Bennu and come back with its sample in 2023

In September or early October 2016, NASA will launch its first mission to return a sample of an asteroid to Earth. The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft will travel to the near-Earth...

August 17, 2016

World's first quantum communication satellite launched

China has successfully launched the world's first quantum communication satellite - Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS) - from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern Gobi Desert at 17:40 UTC on August 16, 2016 (01:40 local time on August 17)....

August 16, 2016

A flotilla of CubeSats will be launched from the ISS to study Earth's thermosphere

A flotilla of 50 CubeSats, miniaturized satellites weighing an average of 2 kg (4.4 lb) each, will be launched from the ground and the International Space Station in the European-led QB50 mission to explore the little-understood region above Earth known as the...

August 10, 2016

Solar Probe Plus to fly into the Sun's upper atmosphere and touch the star

NASA's Solar Probe Plus mission has moved one step closer to its launch, scheduled for summer 2018, after passing a design review. After the successful review, the mission will transition to final assembly and implementation. It is the first mission into the...

August 09, 2016

Venus weather patterns reveal planet's surface

New research, based on data from ESA's Venus Express satellite, for the first time reveals how the weather patterns on Venus are directly connected to the surface topography of the planet. Results suggest the Venus' thick cloud cover could offer further...

July 30, 2016