NASA’s Dawn mission, having performed remarkably at the asteroid Vesta, is homing in on Ceres. The spacecraft’s ion engines will bring it to a capture orbit around this 590 mile diameter dwarf planet on March 6th, 2015 – at a distance some 2.5 times further from the Sun than the Earth.
Since quite early in the history of the discovery of planets around other stars it’s been apparent that the likelihood of certain types of planets around a star is related to the abundance of heavy elements in that system.
A new analysis of outer solar system orbits suggests that there really could be a hitherto unseen giant planet orbiting far from the sun—but what are the implications?
A new explanation for the strange grooves on the surface of the martian moon Phobos suggests that the entire satellite already shows signs of how it will eventually be destroyed.
Pluto's small moons are revealed in the latest image data and analysis from New Horizons' historic encounter—these may be the best view humanity ever gets of these distant objects
A pair of scientific papers suggest that the ALMA observatory may have detected 2 new "planet-scale" objects associated with the outer realms of the solar system. But should we be awed or skeptical?
A new estimate of Earth's total tree population shows previous estimates were seven times too low, and there are implications for efforts to understand the nature of life here and elsewhere in the universe
Earlier this week I had the very great pleasure of catching up with Lee Billings, the author of Five Billion Years of Solitude, a beautifully written and provocative new book about the quest to find other Earths, other life in the universe.
About a month ago an intriguing pair of images from NASA’s Opportunity rover on Mars showed a curious rock that had seemingly appeared our of nowhere during the course of 12 days.
Join me for some icy-sweet geology in the outer solar system, and learn why New Horizons is a great way to spend just under a stadium's worth of money
We’re used to thinking of the space between the stars as void, bereft of all but the most sparsely distributed atoms and molecules, or the occasional microscopic grain of silicon or carbon dust.
Scientific discoveries across all fields just keep coming and coming. Here’s a small assortment of goodies from the past couple of weeks.
Dear Animal Planet: All monsters are not created equal. We make monsters out of the minuscule, and even monsters out of nothing. You do both.
Echoing a famous experiment, the OSIRIS-REx mission treats Earth as a target of opportunity
Vibrant images of our planet are common now, but it was only 70 years ago when we first caught a glimpse of Earth from a height of more than 100 miles. Watch a history of photographing Earth, from the first captured German rockets to iconic images like Earthrise and the Pale Blue Dot.This video was reproduced with permission and was first published on March 16, 2017. It is a Nature Video production.
Another great webcam joins the plethora of animal cams! Who can get enough of peeking in on animals as they go about their day? At seaotters.com/live , the world’s first HD live stream of CA sea otters in the wild catches otters at Elkhorn Slough, the largest tract of tidal salt marsh in California outside [...]
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is returning some fabulous geology from tiny Pluto. Come explore!
In an idle moment, while staring at a set of solar system data, it occurred to me that it might be interesting to display a set of planetary surfaces on an equal footing, where the overall texture of these worlds was visible (although topography is probably a more [...]
When is a planet a planet? Always, whether it's a hecto-planet or a milli-planet
From accordion genomes to icy flows and binary trans-Neptunian objects