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KQED Public Media for Northern CA

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    With all of the attention grabbed by high-profile cosmic expeditions in recent months, it's easy to lose sight of just how much exploration is actually taking place across the solar system.

    itokawa07_hayabusa_bigMoon_ER_magnetic_fieldJupiter-aurora-cpitokawa07_hayabusa_bigMoon_ER_magnetic_fieldJupiter-aurora-cp

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    NASA's Cassini spacecraft has already dazzled us with high-resolution pictures from the outer solar system. It has a lot more work to do before the mission's planned fiery finale.

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    "Our quest on Mars has been to 'follow the water,' in our search for life in the universe ... "

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    Earth bacteria are hardy little creatures. Could they hitch a ride to Mars and colonize a new planet?

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    NASA's Mars Atmospheric and Volatile Evolution mission identified the smoking gun in the whodunit mystery of what happened to Mars' once much warmer, thicker, wetter and more Earth-like atmosphere. Turns out the sun did it!

    mars-vikingearthvsmarsmaven atmosphere lossmars-vikingearthvsmarsmaven atmosphere loss

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    Under its Discovery program, NASA considers five proposals for new interplanetary space missions.

    veritas539px-Asteroid_Beltpsycheneocamveritas539px-Asteroid_Beltpsycheneocam

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    The job description for next class of spacepeople includes the caveat, 'Frequent travel may be required.'

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    In December, NASA's Dawn spacecraft put the dwarf planet Ceres back into the spotlight when it made its closest approach to date, sending back the most detailed views of its surface.

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    NASA's Juno spacecraft, bound for Jupiter, passed a milestone on January 13th when it became the most distant solar-powered spacecraft from the sun.

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    When it comes to space exploration, never before have there have been so many exciting reports from space than at present.

    The rover Opportunity’s selfie taken on the edge of the 14-mile wide Endeavor CraterEnceladusFlyby_E-21_690w739459main_acd97-0036-2The rover Opportunity’s selfie taken on the edge of the 14-mile wide Endeavor CraterEnceladusFlyby_E-21_690w739459main_acd97-0036-2

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    During his 340 days aboard the International Space Station, the astronaut documented his time there with hundreds of photos. Kelly says the perspective makes him feel "more like an environmentalist."

    Scot Kelly_2Scott Kelly_ earthScott Kelly_daily lifeSK_3Scot Kelly_2Scott Kelly_ earthScott Kelly_daily lifeSK_3

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    NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko spent most of a year on the International Space Station. Their landing brings an epic mission to an end.

    NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko will ride home in a Russian Soyuz similar to this one.NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko will ride home in a Russian Soyuz similar to this one.

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    Watch 2016's only total solar eclipse via the Exploratorium's live video feed.

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    NASA recently made the decision to postpone the launch of a new mission to Mars, which was originally scheduled for this month, and set its sights on a launch in 2018.

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    NASA's Cassini spacecraft has spotted the tallest mountain of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, that rises over two miles above the moon's surface.

    Continental-continental_convergence_Fig21contcontAppalachian_MountainsPIA20023-16-640×350Continental-continental_convergence_Fig21contcontAppalachian_MountainsPIA20023-16-640×350

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    Despite this week's mishap, the spacecraft has detected and confirmed an impressive 1,080 extrasolar planets since its launch in 2009.

    NewKeplerPlanetCandidates-20150723gif_diagramNewKeplerPlanetCandidates-20150723gif_diagram

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    NASA's farthest-flung solar-powered robotic probe, Juno, has finally crossed over into Jupiter territory, where the gravitational attraction of the gas giant planet is stronger than the sun's. Juno is now on the threshold of a mission that promises to solve many long-standing mysteries about our solar system's largest planet.

    jupiter-magneticfieldjupiter-interiorgreat-red-spotjupiter-magneticfieldjupiter-interiorgreat-red-spot

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    NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has mapped the surface temperatures of a "Super-Earth," giving us a rare glimpse into the environmental and weather conditions on a distant extrasolar planet.

    ESA Hubble M. KornmesserNASA  JPL-Caltech  University of CambridgeESA Hubble M. KornmesserNASA JPL-Caltech University of Cambridge

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    NASA's next robot to crawl across the surface of Mars was recently approved for a 2020 launch.

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    Today we take programs like SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) for granted. But getting it started and keeping it going were no slam dunks.

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