Latest Astronomy News

NASA to test engine for 'most powerful rocket in the world'

Jan. 14, 2021 4:19 PM EST

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (AP) — NASA is preparing to test-fire engines on Saturday that could send a rocket to the moon in 2022. The Stennis Space Center, near Bay St. Louis, will test all four engines on its new Space Launch System, the only rocket that will be able to send the Orion spacecraft, astronauts...

FILE - This Dec. 6, 2018 image made available by NASA shows the InSight lander. The scene was assembled from 11 photos taken using its robotic arm. On Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, NASA declared the craft dead after failing to burrow deep into the red planet to take its temperature. (NASA via AP)

RIP: Mars digger bites the dust after 2 years on red planet

Jan. 14, 2021 3:56 PM EST

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA declared the Mars digger dead Thursday after failing to burrow deep into the red planet to take its temperature. Scientists in Germany spent two years trying to get their heat probe, dubbed the mole, to drill into the Martian crust. But the 16-inch-long (40-centimeter)...

This photo provided by NASA shows SpaceX's Dragon undocking from International Space Station on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021.  SpaceX's Dragon cargo capsule undocked with 12 bottles of Bordeaux wine and hundreds of snippets of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon vines. The capsule is aiming for a splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida coast Wednesday night. (NASA via AP)

Cheers! French wine, vines headed home after year in space

Jan. 12, 2021 11:41 AM EST

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The International Space Station bid adieu Tuesday to 12 bottles of French Bordeaux wine and hundreds of snippets of grapevines that spent a year orbiting the world in the name of science. SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsule undocked with the wine and vines — and...

This optical microscope photo provided Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020, by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), shows soil samples, seen inside C compartment of the capsule brought back by Hayabusa2, in Sagamihara, near Tokyo. Japanese space officials said Thursday they found more asteroid soil samples collected and brought back from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft, in addition to black sandy granules they found last week, raising their hopes of finding clues to the origins of the solar system. (JAXA via AP)

Japanese spacecraft's gifts: Asteroid chips like charcoal

Dec. 24, 2020 7:11 AM EST

TOKYO (AP) — They resemble small fragments of charcoal, but the soil samples collected from an asteroid and returned to Earth by a Japanese spacecraft were hardly disappointing. The samples Japanese space officials described Thursday are as big as 1 centimeter (0.4 inch) and rock hard, not breaking when...

This image released by Netflix shows Caoilinn Springall, right, and George Clooney in a scene from

Q&A: Clooney on 'Midnight Sky' and his twilight as an actor

Dec. 23, 2020 1:43 PM EST

NEW YORK (AP) — How has George Clooney been handling isolation? Aside from spending time with his wife, Amal Clooney, and their 3-year-old twins, and editing his new film “The Midnight Sky,” he's relied on, like many others, a text chain with pals and Zoom. He just got off one with Matt Damon...

2 Colorado astronauts could be headed to the moon with NASA

Dec. 21, 2020 12:47 PM EST

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Two Colorado residents were placed on a list of astronauts that could soon travel to the moon, officials said. NASA Astronauts Matthew Dominick of Wheat Ridge and Jessica Watkins of Lafayette were among 18 astronauts selected to the Artemis Program on Dec. 9, The Gazette...

In this Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020 photo made available by NASA, Saturn, top, and Jupiter, below, are seen after sunset from Shenandoah National Park in Luray, Va. The two planets are drawing closer to each other in the sky as they head towards a

Jupiter, Saturn merging in night sky, closest in centuries

Dec. 21, 2020 9:23 AM EST

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Jupiter and Saturn will merge in the night sky Monday, appearing closer to one another than they have since Galileo’s time in the 17th century. Astronomers say so-called conjunctions between the two largest planets in our solar system aren't particularly rare. Jupiter...

FILE - In this Friday, Oct. 19, 2016 file photo  Josef Aschbacher attends a press conference in Rome, Italy. The European Space Agency said Thursday that Josef Aschbacher, an Austrian scientist who leads its Earth observation program, has been appointed as the organization's next head. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, file)

European Space Agency appoints Austrian scientist new chief

Dec. 17, 2020 11:44 AM EST

BERLIN (AP) — Austrian scientist Josef Aschbacher has been appointed to head the European Space Agency as the organization grapples with the fallout from Brexit and the rise of commercial rivals outside of Europe. The agency's 22 member states elected Aschbacher, who leads ESA's Earth observation program,...

A model of China's Chang'e 5 lunar orbiter and lander are displayed before a press conference at the State Council Information Office in Beijing, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. Following the successful return of moon rocks by its Chang'e 5 robotic probe, China is preparing for future missions that could set the stage for an eventual  lunar base to host human explorers. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Moon rocks in hand, China prepares for future moon missions

Dec. 17, 2020 5:35 AM EST

BEIJING (AP) — Following the successful return of moon rocks by its Chang’e 5 robotic probe, China is preparing for future missions that could set the stage for an eventual lunar base to host human explorers, a top space program official said Thursday. China's next three lunar missions are on...

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, recovery crew members film the capsule of the Chang'e 5 probe after its successful landed in Siziwang district, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. A Chinese lunar capsule returned to Earth on Thursday with the first fresh samples of rock and debris from the moon in more than 40 years. (Ren Junchuan/Xinhua via AP)

Chinese capsule returns to Earth carrying moon rocks

Dec. 17, 2020 12:32 AM EST

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese lunar capsule returned to Earth on Thursday with the first fresh rock samples from the moon in more than 40 years, offering the possibility of new insights into the history of the solar system and marking a new landmark for China's rapidly advancing space program. The capsule of...