Space Research & Astronomy

Strong evidence for liquid water flows on present-day Mars

By Bryan Dyne, 29 September 2015

The dark streaks observed on Mars are most likely salt deposits left behind from liquid water flows across the Martian surface.

Discovery of the most Earth-like planet to date

By Don Barrett, 25 July 2015

At a time of the momentous discovery of planets around other stars, no money can be found to examine them.

Pluto and Earth

By Patrick Martin, 17 July 2015

The flyby of Pluto by the spacecraft New Horizons—a scientific achievement of the first order—stands in contrast to the seemingly intractable social crises on our own planet.

New Horizons spacecraft completes Pluto flyby

By Bryan Dyne, 15 July 2015

The Pluto encounter is the first time that a spacecraft has ever visited the distant world.

Pentagon chief outlines plans for space war versus China and Russia

By Thomas Gaist, 8 July 2015

The Pentagon is developing new space war capabilities and modernizing its nuclear arsenal to prepare for “great power struggles” against China and Russia.

New Horizons spacecraft prepares for Pluto flyby

By Bryan Dyne, 8 July 2015

Pluto, a world too small and distant to be seen in detail even with Earth’s best telescopes, is the farthest object explored by a space probe.

What we learned about Mercury from the Messenger spacecraft

By Bryan Dyne, 22 June 2015

Over the course of its lifetime, Messenger has sent back more than 275,000 images of the planet Mercury.

Twenty-five years of the Hubble Space Telescope

By Bryan Dyne, 24 April 2015

While it is a public relations boon for NASA, Hubble's true importance lies in its continued and vast contributions to astronomy.

New discoveries show that Mars may have once been habitable

By Bryan Dyne, 28 March 2015

Recent evidence of nitrogen in the soil and of an ancient Martian ocean increases the likelihood that Mars once housed life.

Dawn spacecraft enters orbit around Ceres

By Bryan Dyne, 7 March 2015

Dawn is the first spacecraft to successfully orbit two extraterrestrial bodies.

Orion spacecraft makes first orbital flight

By Patrick Martin, 8 December 2014

The unmanned test flight is only the first step in plans to resume US manned space flight by the year 2021.

New telescope reveals first detailed image of a planetary system in formation

By Bryan Dyne and Don Barrett, 1 December 2014

An international telescope array entering operation has produced the first detailed image showing a planetary system in formation around a young star

The comet landing: A new milestone in space exploration

By Bryan Dyne, 15 November 2014

The landing of Philae is an important reminder that humanity is capable of great things—capabilities that are constrained not by the productive capacity of mankind, but by the organization of society.

Philae spacecraft lands successfully on comet

By Don Barrett and Bryan Dyne, 13 November 2014

With its touchdown on Wednesday, the Philae module became the first spacecraft to land on the surface of a comet.

Capitalism and the space program

By Don Barrett, 12 November 2014

Technical limitations cannot explain the failure of mankind to maintain a constant tempo of more and more ambitious explorations throughout the solar system and into interstellar space.

Deadly SpaceShipTwo crash follows explosion of unmanned Antares rocket

By Bryan Dyne, 1 November 2014

The two space disasters in the span of one week highlight the growing prominence of private companies in space missions.

US and Indian probes successfully reach Mars orbit

By Patrick Martin, 25 September 2014

Mangalyaan is designed to showcase the growing technical abilities of the Indian Space Research Organization, especially following the failure of a Chinese mission to Mars in 2012.

A historic first in solar system exploration

Rosetta spacecraft becomes first manmade probe to orbit a comet

By Don Barrett, 8 August 2014

The European Space Agency probe reached its target comet after a journey of more than ten years.

Ten years at Saturn with the Cassini spacecraft

By Don Barrett, 4 July 2014

Over the past decade, Cassini has continuously returned data on Saturn's rings, numerous moons and the planet itself.

Earth-sized planet in a star’s habitable zone confirmed

By Bryan Dyne, 21 April 2014

This is the first exoplanet detected that potentially has liquid water on its surface.

Cosmos reboot falls short of the mark

By Bryan Dyne, 14 April 2014

The remake of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, has its moments, but does not go far enough either in its exposition of science or its criticism of anti-science.

Imprint of primordial gravitational waves detected

By C. Frederick Graves, 24 March 2014

The finding by astronomers working at the South Pole provides confirmation of a key aspect of the Big Bang theory, called the inflationary hypothesis.

US continues to militarize space

By Douglas Lyons, 18 March 2014

The US military is planning to launch two satellites later this year and two more in 2016 to lay the basis for space hegemony over countries such as China and Russia.

New study estimates billions of Earth-sized planets orbiting Sun-like stars in the Milky Way galaxy

By Bryan Dyne, 9 November 2013

Data from the Kepler spacecraft has established that Earth-sized planets in the habitable zone of Sun-like stars are common in the Universe.

Peter Higgs and François Englert awarded 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics

By Bryan Dyne, 21 October 2013

The theoretical prediction and subsequent discovery of the Higgs boson has provided a greater insight into the origin of mass of subatomic particles.

NASA scientists announce historic leap in human exploration

Voyager 1 spacecraft enters interstellar space

By Kevin Reed, 4 October 2013

Voyager 1 has done science continuously for 36 years and spanning a journey of 19 billion kilometers.

One year of the Mars rover Curiosity

By Bryan Dyne, 6 August 2013

During its mission so far, NASA’s Curiosity rover has found strong evidence that life similar to terrestrial microbes could have existed on ancient Mars.

A decade of infrared space astronomy comes to a close

The end of the Herschel Space Observatory mission

By Don Barrett, 7 May 2013

On April 29, the Herschel Space Observatory exhausted its supply of ultra-cold liquid helium coolant, required to do its most sensitive observations.

Two planetary systems with potentially Earth-like conditions

By Bryan Dyne, 22 April 2013

Earth-like extra-solar planets have been found orbiting in the “habitable zone,” where radiation levels would permit the existence of the building blocks of life.

US sequester cuts force NASA to halt outreach programs

By Bryan Dyne, 28 March 2013

NASA is halting all public outreach programs as a result of $900 million in budget cuts forced by the sequester.

Earth-mass planet found orbiting the nearest star

By Bryan Dyne, 24 October 2012

A planet with similar mass to the Earth has been found orbiting α Centauri B, our closest interstellar neighbor.

Voyager spacecraft approaching interstellar space—35 years after launch

By Bryan Dyne, 28 September 2012

Voyager 1 and 2 have flown through the Solar System for 35 years and now Voyager 1 is on the verge of becoming humanity’s first interstellar spacecraft.

The Mars landing

By Patrick Martin, 10 August 2012

Despite efforts to portray it as a triumph for “American values,” the successful landing of the Curiosity rover was the product of collective social effort and scientific planning that is the antithesis of profit-mad individualism.

Curiosity rover lands on Mars: A milestone of space exploration

By Bryan Dyne, 7 August 2012

Curiosity, NASA’s latest Mars rover, has successfully landed on target at Gale crater.

The 2012 transit of Venus

By Don Barry, 5 June 2012

The Sun, the planet Venus and the Earth will line up so that Venus appears to pass across the disk of the Sun.

New search for life among Jupiter’s ice moons

By Aidan Claire, 17 May 2012

The European Space Agency (ESA) has announced a €1.1 billion unmanned mission to the ice moons of the planet Jupiter.

The end of the US space shuttle program

By Patrick Martin, 19 August 2011

The American manned space program is shutting down indefinitely, an event that has considerable historical significance.

Herschel telescope discovered twisted ring of gas and dust at the centre of our galaxy

By William Whitlow, 5 August 2011

The Herschel Space Observatory has identified a twisted ring of dust and gas at the centre of the Milky Way galaxy. Parts of the ring have been seen before but this is the first time it has been observed as a whole.

Dawn spacecraft reaches the asteroid Vesta

By Patrick Martin, 20 July 2011

The NASA mission will study the two largest asteroids, first Vesta, then Ceres.

Extra-solar planet could sustain Earth-like life

By Bryan Dyne, 6 June 2011

The planet Gliese 581 d is believed to be twice the mass of Earth, and could sustain liquid water on the side that faces its star.

First spacecraft begins orbiting the planet Mercury

By Patrick Martin, 25 March 2011

MESSENGER is the first space mission to Mercury in more than three decades.

Large Hadron Collider will continue experiments into 2012

By Bryan Dyne and Don Barry, 18 March 2011

The physics research conducted in 2010 has allowed for the Large Hadron Collider to extend its operations through 2011 and 2012.

Planet formation viewed by astronomers

By Chris Talbot, 11 March 2011

Astronomical observation directly confirms the nebular hypothesis of Kant and Laplace.

Stardust spacecraft gives second glimpse of comet Tempel 1

By a reporter, 18 February 2011

The fly-by took place on February 14, some 210 million miles from Earth

Smallest rocky planet outside our solar system discovered

By Chris Talbot, 28 January 2011

NASA has confirmed this month that its Kepler space observatory has now identified the smallest yet planet outside our solar system, exoplanet Kepler-10b.

Mars rovers mark seven years on the planet’s surface

By Patrick Martin, 22 January 2011

The two robot exploration vehicles have revolutionized scientific understanding of the planet.

Bacteria that consumes arsenic boosts search for “alien” life

By Chris Talbot, 10 December 2010

The new bacteria was discovered by a research team at Mono Lake, California.

Gamma-ray bubbles discovered around our galaxy

By Chris Talbot, 18 November 2010

A giant structure around our Milky Way galaxy has been discovered by the NASA Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.

Scientists directly image an extra-solar planet’s orbit around a young star

By Bryan Dyne, 19 July 2010

For the first time in the history of the search for planets outside the solar system, astronomers have observed a planet going from one side of its parent star to the other.

Solar Dynamics Observatory―an eye on the Sun

By Bryan Dyne, 13 March 2010

One month after its successful launch, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory has begun capturing high-resolution images of solar phenomena at 10-second intervals.

Spacecraft Kepler discovers five extrasolar planets

By Bryan Dyne, 2 February 2010

NASA reported last month that Kepler, the first spacecraft dedicated to searching for planets beyond our solar system, has discovered its first five extrasolar planets. Though they are uninhabitable for Earth-like life—four of the five are even larger than Jupiter—their rapid discovery indicates that Kepler is fully capable of achieving its primary mission, finding a planet resembling Earth, in future years.

Moon experiment shows presence of water

By Patrick Martin, 17 November 2009

The deliberate crashing of a US rocket into the surface of the Moon has produced evidence of “a significant amount” of water ice, a discovery that could revolutionize the exploration of the Earth’s satellite and even open the way to long-term settlement.

Newly repaired Hubble telescope releases first images

By Bryan Dyne, 23 September 2009

The first images from the repaired and upgraded telescope include a dazzling combination of planetary nebula, star clusters and galaxies.

Four hundred years since Galileo’s astronomical discoveries

By Hector Cordon, 15 August 2009

The International Year of Astronomy 2009 has been designated by the International Astronomy Union and UNESCO in honor of the 400th anniversary of the discoveries of Galileo Galilei and Johannes Kepler, two of the most important pioneers of modern astronomy.

Forty years since the first Moon landing

By Patrick Martin, 20 July 2009

Forty years ago, two American astronauts became the first human beings to land on the Moon. This historic feat is all the more remarkable because manned exploration of Earth’s satellite inaugurated by Apollo 11 ended little more than three years later.

Hubble Space Telescope receives final upgrade

By Bryan Dyne, 23 June 2009

New instruments on the Hubble Space Telescope are currently undergoing calibration following the latest upgrade to the venerable scientific instrument.

New space telescope to search for earth-sized planets

By Bryan Dyne, 24 March 2009

On March 6, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration successfully launched the Kepler mission, which will observe 100,000 stars in search of smaller, Earth-sized planets.

First images taken of extrasolar planets

By Hector Cordon, 1 December 2008

In a breakthrough expected to foster further discoveries, two teams of astronomers have for the first time directly imaged planets orbiting stars outside the solar system.

China’s first space walk signals new rivalry in outer space

By John Chan, 13 October 2008

China's third manned space flight, launched on September 25 and returning to earth on September 28, was its most ambitious. Some 40 years after the Soviet Union and the US, China has become only the third country to conduct a space walk.

Carl Sagan (1934-1996): An appreciation

By Joseph Bradshaw, 13 January 1997

Detailed discussion of his work and materialist outlook, and includes a focus on his attitude to Trotsky.