Cool Photos: While China’s Jade Rabbit Sleeps, NASA Watches Overhead

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has snapped an image of both the Chinese lander and the hibernating Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, rover sitting among the craters on the surface of the moon. (Related: “Cool Video: Watch HD Footage of China’s Historic Moon Rover Landing.”) Although the six-wheeled robotic geologist is only a scant 5 feet…

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5 Sky Events This Week: A Cosmic Blooming Flower and a New Year’s Shower

As festivities kick off the New Year, sky-watchers will revel in nights filled with shooting stars, the king of planets shining like a beacon, and grand planetary spectacles blooming in the heavens. Great Orion Nebula. With the moon reaching a new phase for New Year’s Eve, December 31, the dark skies are perfect for hunting…

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December 23, 2013: Meeting Mr. Everest, Singing Songs in Space and More

Every week, embark with host Boyd Matson on an exploration of the latest discoveries and interviews with some of the most fascinating people on the planet, on National Geographic Weekend. Please check listings near you to find the best way to listen to National Geographic Weekend on radio, or listen below! Hour 1 – A dozen years ago, Pete Athans, nicknamed “Mr….

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Spacesuit Flaw Prompts Christmas Eve Spacewalk

No place like home for the holidays? Two American astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) will be floating outside their orbiting home on Christmas Eve.   While a Saturday space walk to repair the orbiting laboratory’s faulty cooling pump was completed ahead of schedule, water leaks still plague one space-walk spacesuit. As a result,…

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Top 5 Space Station Repair Spacewalk Dangers

Tensions are high as the astronauts aboard the International Space Station ready themselves to conduct a series of emergency spacewalks that start this weekend, ones intended to correct a critical cooling system failure. Acting much like a car’s radiator, the malfunctioning cooling pump prevents overheating of electronics and science experiments aboard the ISS. With one…

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5 Sky Events This Week: Moon Poses with Winter Gems and Little Bear Runs With Meteors

Filled with shooting stars and Jovian moons playing tag, some of the most sparkling gifts of this holiday season can be found  this week in the night sky. Full Moon with Stellar Beacons. As the sun sets on Monday, December 16, a full moon rises in the east – the smallest of 2013. Despite the bright glare,…

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China’s Moon Rover Starts To Make Tracks

China’s Chang’e-3 spacecraft performed a  nerve-wracking 12 minute descent and touched down safely on the lunar surface on Saturday, December 14 at 8:11 am EST. Several hours later, a 140-kilogram (300-pound) six-wheeled rover named Jade-Rabbit rolled down a ramp to begin its 3-month mission exploring the lunar rocks and soil. China joins an elite club of nations–just…

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5 Sky Events This Week: Moon Swims With Fishes, Meteors Fly, and Jupiter Rises

Sky-watchers this week can follow Earth’s lone natural satellite as it glides across the sky and poses with some of the most well known celestial treasures. Moon and Pisces.  After nightfall on Monday, December 9,  look for the first quarter moon to hang just below the “Circlet,” the most easily recognizable part of the constellation…

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Hubble Spots Hazy Worlds With Watery Atmospheres

The Hubble Space Telescope has spied five alien worlds around distant stars that show clear signs of water vapor filling their atmospheres, according to a new study. The find represents the first conclusive detection and comparison of water vapor in the atmosphere of planets orbiting nearby stars. While they all have unromantic names like WASP-17b,…

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China Shoots for the Moon

China is aiming to become only the third nation ever, after Russia and the U.S., to land a spacecraft on the moon.  The Asian nation successfully launched its Chang’e-3 probe, its third lunar mission, early on Monday morning, Beijing time. The spacecraft is set to make the first soft landing on the moon in nearly four…

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