Dan Vergano

India Reaches Mars With Low-Cost Mission

India’s new entrant into orbit around Mars, the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), is a triumph for its  space agency and represents the fourth country to successfully send a spacecraft to the red planet. At a reported cost of $73 million, ...

Cosmic Dust Clouds Gravitational Wave Finding

Headline-grabbing observations of primordial gravity waves now face cloudy prospects, suggests a newly released satellite map of cosmic dust. In March, the South Pole-based BICEP2 physics team reported seeing the surprisingly strong signature of gravitational waves in maps of the ...

1833 Meteor Storm Started Citizen Science

  The science of shooting stars owes much to a storied episode of crowdsourcing, a new historical report shows, kicked off by a stunning 1833 meteor shower. Astronomers have increasingly turned to “citizen science” in the Internet era, setting up everyday ...

NASA’s Next Mars Rover Will Make Oxygen

Living off the land looks like the key to survival on Mars, so NASA’s next red planet rover will help show the way by brewing up its own oxygen, the space agency announced Thursday. The oxygen brewing effort is ...

101 Geysers Spotted Erupting From Saturn Moon

  Erupting from fractures, 101 geysers dot the surface of Saturn’s frozen moon, Enceladus, report NASA scientists. First spotted as plumes in 2005, the total number of geysers has been revealed by a long series of overflights by NASA’s Cassini ...

Space Station Astronaut Photographs, Tweets Gaza Conflict

Even in space, astronauts can’t escape troubles on Earth. International Space Station crew member Alexander Gerst tweeted an image of  “explosions and rockets” flying over Gaza and Israel on Wednesday night, which was retweeted and liked tens of thousands ...

Name That Planet! Alien Worlds Looking for Winning Names

Name that planet! Even astronomers have grown weary of planet discoveries with names that only a robot could remember, and on Wednesday they unveiled a new worldwide alien planet naming contest. Announced by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the NameExoWorlds ...

NASA Launches Carbon Observatory

  A carbon-dioxide-monitoring satellite successfully reached orbit on Wednesday morning, NASA officials announced, replacing one lost after a failed launch five years ago. The $475 million Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) mission will map carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, watching the ...

Hubble Telescope to Start Hunt for Icy World Beyond Pluto

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope will begin searching for an icy world beyond Pluto that could use some exploring, the space agency announced Monday. The  goal: finding a place for the fast-moving New Horizons spacecraft to explore after it visits ...

“The Beast” Asteroid Blazes Path Past Earth

Asteroids zip by Earth all the time, but not many make as big an impression as “The Beast,” which caromed past our astronomical neighborhood about a week ago. Now, radar observations released by NASA reveal the hidden looks of asteroid ...

Hubble Telescope Unveils Most Colorful View of the Universe Yet

NASA’s Hubble space telescope has unveiled its most colorful window into the universe yet, a glimpse of some 10,000 galaxies spread across space. Some of those universes date to the era of the first galaxies. The Hubble Ultra Deep Field (...

NASA Puts Kepler Back On the Hunt For Distant Worlds

On the hunt for alien worlds, NASA has approved a new mission for the Kepler spacecraft, despite a crippling breakdown in 2013 that seemed to mark the end of its work forever. (See: “New Role for Disabled Kepler?”) Launched in 2009, the ...

Space Shuttle 747 to Land in Museum

The jumbo jet that first carried a space shuttle coast to coast will land in a museum next month, scheduled to forever bear a copy of its most famous passenger. NASA 905 was the first of two Boeing 747 passenger jets modified ...