Alien Neptune like planets discovered by NASA's Kepler spacecraft have masses and densities ranging between one and four times the size of Earth. Most of these 'mini-Neptunes' have a rocky core surrounded by a hydrogen- and helium-rich envelope.
Set to launch in February, the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite will, among other things, gather data that can help with efforts to monitor the effects of global warming on precipitation.
NEOWISE, an infrared telescope orbiting Earth, returns test images in preparation for hunting and characterizing near-Earth objects, especially asteroids. The information it provides will help scientists gauge the hazard different asteroids pose.
What can the Gaia satellite, launched on Thursday, tell us about the past, present, and future of our galactic neighborhood? The new satellite carries a billion-pixel camera that will furnish the largest ever 3D map of the Milky Way.