Space Exploration

Space exploration is a broad topic covering many facets of deep-space and planetary science. Learn about space probes, Mars Rovers, SETI and other out-of-this-world subjects.

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NASA's missions in 2022 were remarkably far-ranging – from practicing how to protect Earth to prepping for the first manned mission to Mars. An astronomer sums up the year.

By Chris Impey

The two passengers might not be human, but they have a job to do. They're manning Artemis I to be zero gravity indicators.

By Kristen Hall-Geisler

Debris on Mars comes from three main sources: inactive spacecraft, discarded hardware and crashed spacecraft. What risk does this trash pose to current and future missions?

By Cagri Kilic

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After two failed launch attempts, NASA's Artemis I finally took flight early in the morning Nov. 16, 2022 after years of anticipation.

By Patrick J. Kiger

The first image released by President Joe Biden shows a galaxy cluster as it appeared 4.6 billion years ago. But the telescope will look back billions more, even as far as the Big Bang.

By Sarah Gleim

Surprisingly, the solar system isn't odorless — it has a distinct scent that some astronauts like and others think is stinky. So, what does it smell like and why?

By Valerie Stimac

Sonification is the process of taking data and turning it into sound. When it come to the universe we live in, scientists are finding that the sounds are definitely otherwordly and very beautiful.

By Valerie Stimac

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The oldest megamaser ever measured, estimated to have been emitted some 5 to 6 billion years ago, was observed in 2022 from a radio telescope in South Africa.

By Valerie Stimac

An unplanned rocket booster crash into the surface of the moon will hopefully shed some light on the mysterious physics of planetary impacts.

By Paul Hayne

NASA's DART spacecraft hit its mark Monday, Sept. 26 after years of planning. The bullseye was asteroid Dimorphos. Here's what NASA hopes to learn now.

By Patrick J. Kiger

Using the Chandra X-ray Observatory, a team of scientists discovered what could very well be the first exoplanet outside the Milky Way. It's massive and might even orbit a black hole.

By Valerie Stimac

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Two mission scientists working with the Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter give us the breakdown of the historic achievements the two Martian ships have made in the months on the Red Planet.

By Melissa Rice & Briony Horgan

Before humans can go to Mars, NASA needs to know how to prepare for the challenges. So, they're looking for a few brave men and women to live in isolation for a year at the Johnson Space Center. Want to join them?

By Valerie Stimac

The Chinese space station Tiangong, now with its first crew of astronauts, is scheduled for completion in 2022. What does that mean for the future of the aging International Space Station and multinational space cooperation?

By Patrick J. Kiger

Yep, two small-bodied Russian tortoises made it to the moon and back before man did.

By Mark Mancini

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NASA will be sending two new missions to Venus between 2028 and 2030, but why is this so exciting and what do they hope to accomplish?

By Ian Whittaker

One of the three-man crew of Apollo 11, the mission that first set foot on the moon, Michael Collins was a true American hero.

By Mark Mancini

Missions to Mars are increasing and the dream of landing a human on the red planet is no longer far-fetched — it might even happen in the next decade. So, how long does it take to get there?

By Valerie Stimac

The law is the first of its kind by any nation, but how much weight it has is yet to be seen. It is perhaps just one small step to preserve human heritage in space.

By Michelle L.D. Hanlon

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Until recently, Arecibo had the biggest radio telescope in the world, and its ability to detect distant signals made it a very powerful tool for studying the universe. It even starred in two movies.

By Patrick J. Kiger

A distant asteroid made mostly of iron is potentially worth $10,000 quadrillion, making it many times more valuable than the global economy.

By Patrick J. Kiger

NASA is sending astronauts to the moon as soon as 2024. And they'll have 4G cell service when they get there.

By David Warmflash, M.D.

The Perseverance rover will explore Mars' Jezero Crater, gathering rock samples which may prove that life once existed on the red planet.

By Patrick J. Kiger

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A new kind of survival story: Scientists discovered a star that came near a black hole and lived to tell the tale – at least temporarily.

By Nathan Chandler

Lettuce has key nutrients that give both astronauts and Earth-dwellers alike a physical and psychological boost. And the lettuce grown in space is no less nutritious than the Earth-bound variety.

By Katie Carman