A new, Earth-based radar has examined material ejected from a massive impact on the Moon. The impact early in the Moon's history, by an asteroid 20-40 miles in diameter, created the crater known as Mare Orientale, a huge basin 600 miles across. Its study may help us better understand the early impact history of both Moon and Earth, and the role these impacts played in our planet?s evolution.
Black holes incredibly dense objects that can form at the end of a massive star's life. Scientists thought that because black holes range in size from several times to several billion times the size of the Sun, their behavior would differ as well. But multiple observations of the black hole at the center of the galaxy M81 prove otherwise.
The Gamma Ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) launched on June 11. This observatory will scan the universe for the most powerful form of radiation known, possibly shedding light on dark matter, microscopic black holes and other cosmic mysteries. Gamma rays have the most energy of any type of light, and are created by some of the most violent events in universe.
Astronauts who have visited the Moon quickly discovered that they would get covered with Moon dust whenever they left their spacecraft. NASA is putting together a team to look at the dust and figure out how it could affect a return to the Moon. NASA is concerned that the dust could pose health problems or clog machinery.
A third red spot has appeared on the surface of Jupiter, heralding the creation of a new, violent storm. Jupiter's Great Red Spot is a storm that's been whirling away through the planet's atmosphere for perhaps hundreds of years. These new storms may indicate changing weather on the gas giant. A white dwarf star is missing from the center of the nebula that should house it, according to a Hubble scientist working with a team on ground-based telescopes.
A Russian institute is selecting macaques that may eventually fly to Mars before humans do. Twelve monkeys have flown in Russian and Soviet spaceflights, some for around two weeks. The monkey experiment is happening at same time as one simulating conditions of interplanetary flight for humans here on the ground.
Could microbes have developed and survived in the frigid below-ground region of Mars or other solar system bodies? New results from a team developing drilling and sampling of subsurface soil in Spain found a startling result. Very tough microbes can indeed survive underneath the ground if the conditions are right, and the Mars Astrobiology Research and Technology Experiment (MARTE) team may have found the right environment.
NASA's SWIFT telescope monitors the sky for emission from powerful outbursts. On March 19, 2008, it glimpsed an explosion so bright it could be seen with the naked eye for 30 seconds despite being 7.5 billion light years away -- the farthest object ever seen with human eyes. It was a gamma ray burst, one of the incredible explosions credited to the explosions of tremendously massive stars.
And you think losing your car keys is a pain. Scientists have known since the 1960s that about half of the ordinary matter is missing from the universe. Now they've found some of it in an unusual location. A rare black hole may be nestled in the center of a cluster of stars. And astronomers are recalculating the Hubble Constant -- the rate at which the universe is expanding.
New radar observations from NASA's latest mission to Mars indicate that the red planet's crust and upper mantle are stiffer and colder than previously thought, which suggests any liquid water existing below surface and any organisms living in that water would have to exist deeper than suspected.
The first footage of a solar "tsunami" has been captured by NASA's Stereo spacecraft. This tsunami, obviously, has nothing to do with water -? it's a wave of pressure traveling extremely fast across the surface of the Sun. The shock wave hurtled through Sun's atmosphere at more than 620,000 mph.
A giant cloud of hydrogen gas is speeding toward a collision with our Milky Way galaxy. When it hits, it may set off spectacular display of stellar fireworks in a tremendous burst of star formation. But not to worry, it will be 20-40 million years before its core smashes into our galaxy.
On March 19, the most intense explosion ever recorded appeared in the night sky. It shone dimly for less than a minute, then vanished. It was a gamma ray burst 7.5 billion light years away, but so bright it could be seen -- though faintly -- by the naked eye. Astronomers estimate that the burst was as bright as 10 million galaxies combined. Such bursts are thought to be caused by hypernovae, the explosion of a star much more massive than our Sun.
Brown dwarfs are not quite stars and not quite planets. They are the missing links between the lowest mass stars and the highest mass planets possible. Scientists recently discovered the coolest brown dwarf known -? an important discovery that may shed light on the development of planets beyond our solar system.
A distant, dim flash in the sky marks the location of the biggest explosion ever recorded, as astronomers monitor a gamma ray burst brighter than 10 million galaxies combined. And astronomers have found tiny, early galaxies so thick with stars that they might never experience night as we do.
NASA's Cassini spacecraft has found evidence of material orbiting Rhea, Saturn's second largest moon, which means Rhea could have rings. This is the first time rings have potentially been found around any moon. Astronomers speculate that a collision in the moon's distant past led to the rings' formation.
The Cassini space probe was launched in 1997 and flew by Earth, Venus and Jupiter. It entered orbit around Saturn in 2004. One of Saturn's moons, Enceladus, is believed to have liquid water below its crusty surface. A daring flyby of Cassini into geyser plume of Enceladus has bolstered the idea.
Astronomers know that complex molecules are required building blocks for life, and can indicate that biological activity is present on distant worlds. Methane, which can come from volcanic eruptions, among other sources, is a key ingredient for the formation of life and also a by-product of microbial activity.
Saturn's moon, Titan, may have a deep, hidden ocean. The second largest moon in the solar system, Titan has long been thought to have an environment similar to that of early Earth, before life began putting oxygen into atmosphere. If the ocean prediction is true, Titan will join three other solar system moons suspected of hiding underground oceans.
For the first time, an organic molecule has been located in the atmosphere of a planet beyond our solar system. The planet itself can't sustain life, but could the molecule's presence is good news for life elsewhere. Back on Earth, art and science merge as the Walter's Art Museum in Baltimore, Md., displays Hubble images on its walls. The special exhibit is the brainchild of a group of curating students at Johns Hopkins University, who worked with astrophysicists to create the display.