News Articles

Artist’s concept of interstellar asteroid 1I/2017 U1 (‘Oumuamua)
Solar System
Nov 20, 2017
Astronomers recently scrambled to observe an intriguing asteroid that zipped through the solar system on a steep trajectory from interstellar space—the first confirmed object from another star. 
Solar System
Nov 15, 2017
We start our “Gravity Assist” virtual tour of the solar system with – where else – the Sun!  How hot is the Sun, what are solar flares, and how does space weather affect us here in Earth? Jim is joined by Project Scientist Dr. Nicky Fox of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab to... Read More
Gravity Assist Podcast Logo
Solar System
Nov 7, 2017
Heat from friction could power hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus for billions of years if the moon has a highly porous core, according to a new modeling study by European and U.S. researchers working on NASA's Cassini mission.
Black and white image of Enceladus
Solar System
Oct 30, 2017
In time for Halloween, we've put together a compilation of elusive "sounds" of howling planets and whistling helium that is sure to make your skin crawl.
Halloween image of ghost and planets
Solar System
Oct 27, 2017
A small, recently discovered asteroid -- or perhaps a comet -- appears to have originated from outside the solar system, coming from somewhere else in our galaxy. If so, it would be the first "interstellar object" to be observed and confirmed by astronomers.
Diagram showing the path of A/2017 U1
Solar System, Mars
Oct 24, 2017
The layered sedimentary deposits inside the giant canyons of Mars have puzzled scientists for decades. These light toned deposits have fine, horizontal laminations that are unlike the rugged rim rock of the Valles Marineris as seen by NASA's Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter (MRO).
Layered sedimentary deposits inside the giant canyons of Mars
Solar System, Mars
Oct 5, 2017
NASA's longest-lived mission to Mars has gained its first look at the Martian moon Phobos, pursuing a deeper understanding by examining it in infrared wavelengths.
Colors in this image of the Martian moon Phobos indicate a range of surface temperatures detected by observing the moon on Sept. 29, 2017, with the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) camera on NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter.
Solar System
Sep 28, 2017
Ten years ago, NASA's Dawn spacecraft set sail for the two most massive bodies in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter: giant asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres. The mission was designed to deliver new knowledge about these small but intricate worlds, which hold clues to the formation of... Read More
This false-color image of Ceres highlights differences in surface materials. The color diversity of the material within Occator Crater (center) and its ejecta reveals the elaborate composition of Ceres' crust.
Solar System, Planets of Our Solar System
Sep 27, 2017
NASA's New Horizons – the fastest-ever spacecraft at launch – left Earth in 2006 and hurtled through the void at nearly one million miles per day toward a mysterious world on the solar system’s outer edge. Three billion miles (4.8 billion km) and 9 1/2 years later, the spacecraft flew-by its target... Read More
New Horizons' Discoveries Keep Coming Poster
Solar System
Sep 21, 2017
We’re all familiar with vehicles that move by using wind, solar energy, gas, or electricity. But occasionally, vehicles are able to use the most efficient and powerful force of all. Gravity.  
Riding the Slingshot to Bennu Poster
Solar System
Sep 12, 2017
When the Cassini orbiter plunges into the atmosphere of Saturn on Sept. 15, a group of NASA scientists based in Greenbelt, Maryland, will be among those waiting for the spacecraft’s last long-distance ping.
Image of Cassini with Saturn in the background
Solar System
Sep 8, 2017
This set of magnified, cropped images shows NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft (highlighted in red) as it approaches Earth for its Sept. 22 Earth Gravity Assist.
Magnified image of OSIRIS-REx spacecraft (circled) approaching Earth
Solar System, Planets of Our Solar System
Aug 15, 2017
NASA’s Cassini mission will come to a spectacular close on September 15, 2017 at 5:07 a.m. PDT after almost two decades in space since its launch in 1997. The spacecraft has been orbiting Saturn and studying that system for 13 years. It’s now checking off items from a daring bucket list as it makes... Read More
Cassini's Grand Finale Poster
Solar System
Aug 1, 2017
A few NASA-funded astronomer teams are always on the hunt for potentially hazardous near-Earth objects, asteroids and comets whose orbits periodically bring them within 30 million miles of Earth’s orbit. At NASA, the Planetary Defense Coordination Office supports the search programs, while also... Read More
The Hunt for Asteroids Poster
Solar System
Aug 1, 2017
Humanity’s farthest and longest-lived spacecraft, Voyager 1 and 2, achieve 40 years of operation and exploration this August and September. Despite their vast distance, they continue to communicate with NASA daily, still probing the final frontier.
Illustration of Voyager spacecraft