What happens when you crash into a comet? That was a question considered by astronomers when they designed the Deep Impact mission, launched in January. On July 4, the Deep Impact spaceship will reach its target, Comet Tempel 1, and fire an impactor at its surface, photographing the result. The remaining crater may tell how Tempel 1 is constructed. If, for example, the comet is an extremely loose pile of debris, the impactor may leave little or no discernable crater. But if the comet's surface is relatively firm, the impactor's ripple may leave quite a large crater. Pictured above is an artist's impression of the initial encounter between the spacecraft and the comet.
China has not been invited to join the International Space Station project, despite a news report from Russia suggesting otherwise.
Venus, currently one of the most inhospitable places in the solar system, may once have had an ample supply of water – possibly even oceans – and may have been a potentially habitable place, a new study suggests.
Today, our sun reaches its northernmost point in planet Earth's sky. Called a solstice, the date traditionally marks a change of seasons - from spring to summer in Earth's Northern Hemisphere and from fall to winter in Earth's Southern Hemisphere. In this image from 2007, NASA's Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory satellites provided the first three-dimensional images of the sun. STEREO, a two-year mission that launched October 2006, provided a unique and revolutionary view of the Sun-Earth System.
Disney's space ranger Buzz Lightyear returned from space on Sept. 11, 2009 aboard space shuttle Discovery's STS-128 mission after 15 months aboard the International Space Station. His time on the orbiting laboratory was celebrated in a ticker-tape parade together with his space station crewmates and former Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin on Oct. 2, at Walt Disney World in Florida.
From a list of 60, there are now four potential exploration sites for a future Mars probe, scheduled to launch next year.
This artist's concept shows a celestial body about the size of our moon slamming at great speed into a body the size of Mercury. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope found evidence that a high-speed collision of this sort occurred a few thousand years ago around a young star, called HD 172555, still in the early stages of planet formation. The star is about 100 light-years from Earth.
A new look at the data from one of the telescopes used to establish the existence of dark matter and dark energy raises questions about whether they really exist at all.
South Korean officials said they did not know where to pin blame, but noted the explosion occurred in the Russian-made first-stage of the rocket rather than in the Korean-made second stage. The failure of the South Korea rocket launch was an embarrassing setback.
This image from the European Space Agency's Herschel Space Observatory shows the cloud associated with the Rosette Nebula, a stellar nursery about 5,000 light-years from Earth in the Monoceros, or Unicorn, constellation. The Herschel telescope collects infrared light given out by dust. The bright smudges are dusty cocoons containing massive embryonic stars, which will grow up to 10 times the mass of our sun. The small spots near the center of the image are lower mass stellar embryos. The Rosette Nebula itself, and its massive cluster of stars, is located to the right of the picture.