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KQED Public Media for Northern CA

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    A recent study of data collected by NASA's Wide-Field Infrared Explorer (WISE) spacecraft may have exorcised the notion of the hypothetical existence of the fabled "Planet X."

    NASA's WISE spacecraft's infrared vision sees plenty of low-mass stars and brown dwarfs (green dot), but no Planet X. (NASA)NASA's WISE spacecraft's infrared vision sees plenty of low-mass stars and brown dwarfs (green dot), but no Planet X. (NASA)

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    Getting sick in space is no picnic. So scientists are sending bugs to the International Space Station, hoping to better predict some of the physical challenges that may befall astronauts when NASA eventually sends the first human mission to Mars.

    The Apollo 7 crew, from left to right: Command Module pilot, Donn F. Eisele, Commander, Walter M. Schirra Jr. and Lunar Module pilot, Walter Cunningham. (NASA)In the first  live television transmission from space, astronauts  Don Eisele and Walter Schirra Jr. deliver a message to viewers. (NASA)The International Space Station. (NASA)A single drosophila, or fruit fly. (Dominic Hart/NASA)Ames researchers Curran Reddy and Sharmila Bhattacharya are studying the effects of zero gravity on fruit flies' cardiovascular systems. (Dominic Hart/NASA)The Apollo 7 crew, from left to right: Command Module pilot, Donn F. Eisele, Commander, Walter M. Schirra Jr. and Lunar Module pilot, Walter Cunningham. (NASA)In the first live television transmission from space, astronauts Don Eisele and Walter Schirra Jr. deliver a message to viewers. (NASA)The International Space Station. (NASA)A single drosophila, or fruit fly. (Dominic Hart/NASA)Ames researchers Curran Reddy and Sharmila Bhattacharya are studying the effects of zero gravity on fruit flies' cardiovascular systems. (Dominic Hart/NASA)

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    Having solved a 42-year-old mystery about lunar "streamers," the $280 million LADEE spacecraft is set to vaporize when it collides with the moon around April 21st.

    An artist's depiction of LADEE in orbit around the moon. (Dana Berry/NASA Ames)That little sliver is the LADEE spacecraft, designed in Mountain View and photographed by another NASA mission, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. (NASA/ Goddard/Arizona State University)An artist's depiction of LADEE in orbit around the moon. (Dana Berry/NASA Ames)That little sliver is the LADEE spacecraft, designed in Mountain View and photographed by another NASA mission, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. (NASA/ Goddard/Arizona State University)

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    Upholding a long-standing tradition of showing us things in space that we have never seen before, the Hubble Space Telescope recently witnessed the break-up of an asteroid.

    Hubble Space Telescope image of asteroid P/2013 R3 break-up. (STScI/NASA)Hubble Space Telescope image of asteroid P/2013 R3 break-up. (STScI/NASA)

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    SpaceX is launching a rocket to the International Space Station this afternoon. The live webcast begins at 12:45 PST and the launch itself is scheduled for 1:58.

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    The planet, about 500 light-years from Earth, orbits in its star's habitable zone.

    The artistic concept of Kepler-186f is the result of scientists and artists collaborating to imagine the appearance of these distant worlds.The artistic concept of Kepler-186f is the result of scientists and artists collaborating to imagine the appearance of these distant worlds.

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    Modern explorers have found a previously unknown ocean -- but this one's on Saturn's moon Enceladus. Learn more from Chabot Space & Science Center's Ben Burress at KQED Science.

    Artist concepts of interior of Enceladus and NASA's Cassini spacecraft. (NASA)Artist concepts of interior of Enceladus and NASA's Cassini spacecraft. (NASA)

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    Recently, NASA administrator Charles Bolden rephrased the "Moon, Mars and Beyond" mission plan to better align the steps toward Mars with budgetary realities and to balance human space programs with more cost-effective robotic missions.

    Earth and Mars montageEarth and Mars montage

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    Two years ago, a solar coronal mass ejection of possibly the greatest recorded strength in history blasted by Earth's orbit. Had it impacted Earth's protective magnetic field, we could have experienced major disruptions in communication, brilliant aurora displays at tropical latitudes, damage to orbital satellites and possibly even major power blackouts.

    cme2012-stereocme2012-stereo

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    How big can an Earth-like planet be? Astronomers thought they had a pretty good handle on this question but have just been given a fresh example of how nature never ceases to outpace our imaginations and show us something unexpected.

    kepler10ckepler10c

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    The data could yield a much more precise picture of how accumulating greenhouse gases will affect the planet.

    OCO-2_PIA18374_ipIMG_4655OCO-2_PIA18374_ipIMG_4655

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    One of NASA's most senior and still-operational spacecraft reached a milestone: the rover Opportunity completed its first 25 miles traveling across the surface of Mars!

    opportunity-25mile-markopportunity-25mile-mark

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    On September 21, NASA's MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) spacecraft will go boldly where no one has gone before: to the very top of the Martian atmosphere!

    maven-verganomaven-vergano

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    Curiosity has reached the base of Mount Sharp, its primary mission goal. It's a 3-mile-high mound of sediment that preserves a geologic record of Mars going back billions of years.

    curiosity-pahrump-outcropPIA18475_ipcuriosity-pahrump-outcropPIA18475_ip

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    The annual open-ended celebration of geology and its related sciences takes place all this coming week. See what's happening and where to take part.

    ESciweek2014-2ESciweek2014-4ESciweek2014-3ESciweek2014ESciweek2014-2ESciweek2014-4ESciweek2014-3ESciweek2014

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    NASA's latest mission to Mars, MAVEN (Mars Atmospheric and Volatile Evolution), entered Martian orbit less than a month ago on September 21. It's already rewarded us with revealing insights into the disappearance of Mars' atmosphere.

    mavens-early-resultscomet-siding-springmavens-early-resultscomet-siding-spring

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    If you want to go to Mars but can’t quite afford the hundreds of billions of dollars for a ticket, there is another solution: consider instead a trip to the Atacama Desert in Chile.

    IMG_6407Boulders in the driest part of the Atacama are commonly marked by light-toned grooves worn into the surface by nearby boulders during earthquakes.  Clean sampling of biomarkers in the desert soil requires suits, gloves, masks, goggles, and sterile tools to make sure no contamination ends up in the soil sample.IMG_6407Boulders in the driest part of the Atacama are commonly marked by light-toned grooves worn into the surface by nearby boulders during earthquakes. Clean sampling of biomarkers in the desert soil requires suits, gloves, masks, goggles, and sterile tools to make sure no contamination ends up in the soil sample.

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    NASA announced that Mars' Gale Crater was once the site of a vast lake that appears to have filled up, dried out and filled up again repeatedly over a much longer period than wet conditions were believed to have persisted.

    murray_formation_gale_cratergale_crater_mount_sharpmurray_formation_gale_cratergale_crater_mount_sharp

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    Only 84 years after its discovery in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh, it is the eve of our first-ever close-up look at everyone’s favorite dwarf planet, Pluto. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will make a fly-by on July 14th, after a high-speed, nine-year voyage.

    newhorizons_at_plutohst_pluto1newhorizons_at_plutohst_pluto1

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    Newest Earth science mission could extend the accuracy range of weather forecasts, fine-tune flood forecasts.

    SMAPSMAP

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