Two New Moons Found Around Jupiter

Jupiter has long been known to have the most moons of all the planets in the Solar System—just barely surpassing Saturn’s official 62, although that’s not taking into consideration the larger chunks of icy material within Saturn’s rings—and its leading margin has just increased even further with the discovery of two more moons, bringing Jupiter’s…

What Is Space?

This is a blog post I wrote in March of 2008—a year before there was even Lights in the Dark! I’m sharing it again because it’s fun…I hope you think so too. We’ve all seen the grade-school models of the solar system. Maybe you made one in science class. Out of painted styrofoam balls or…

Here’s Why We Will Definitely Attempt a Landing on Europa

Both the book and the movie 2010 told us we can pretty much go wherever we want in the Solar System except Europa; “ATTEMPT NO LANDING THERE.” But Europa is exactly where we should go, especially if we want to take advantage of the best chances we know of to find extraterrestrial life. This ice-covered cue…

NASA Develops a Test to ID Extraterrestrial Life

NASA researchers have modified a decades-old chemistry technique called capillary electrophoresis to identify the amino acids necessary for life, and have tested its success in California’s Mono Lake. The lake’s exceptionally high alkaline content makes it a challenging habitat for life—and an excellent substitute for the salty subsurface water believed to be on Mars and the icy moons Enceladus and Europa. “Using…

2017 Will Be a Busy Year for Florida’s Space Coast

Florida’s Space Coast is anticipating 32 rocket launches in 2017, according to the USAF’s 45th Space Wing which manages Patrick AFB and the launch region around Cape Canaveral. This is nine more than the amount that launched from the Cape in 2016 (two of which I was lucky enough to be present for) but still…

X-Ray Observatory Finds Galactic Black Holes Hidden “Like Monsters Under The Bed”

Many if not all galaxies—including our Milky Way—harbor enormous, supermassive black holes at their centers, surrounded by disks of superheated gas and orbiting stars caught in a deadly gravitational grip. When these black holes swallow large amounts of gas or even whole stars, they can fire out huge flares of material and radiation that’s can be seen far across the…

JWST Isn’t the Next Hubble, It’s the First James Webb

For more than 25 years the Hubble Space Telescope has been giving us unprecedented and breathtaking views of our Universe, looking deep into distant galaxies and revealing the structures and secrets of our own Milky Way. Hubble literally allowed us to rewrite the book(s) on what we know about the Universe, and to this day it’s still going strong. But…

Did NASA Purposely Cut Space Station Footage of a UFO?

Various news outlets today have run with a story about a supposed UFO spotted on live video streamed from the International Space Station, in which a bright object is visible “descending” into Earth’s atmosphere. The video* was shared on YouTube by a self-proclaimed UFO hunter—which basically means someone who stares at ISS feeds on their…

NASA Sets Sail to Study Ocean and Climate

NASA has launched on another mission of exploration, except this time it wasn’t on a rocket ship from Cape Canaveral but rather on a research ship from Cape Cod. NASA’s North Atlantic Aerosols and Marine Ecosystems Study—aka NAAMES—is a five-year-long investigation to resolve key processes controlling ocean system function, their influences on atmospheric aerosols and clouds…

Hear the Call of Cthulhu with New Pics of Pluto

If you’ve been waiting and dreaming for more high-resolution images of Pluto, the stars are now right: there’s a new mosaic from New Horizons out that snakes across the dwarf planet’s rugged (and notably non-Euclidean) surface, displaying many types of fascinating terrain: craters, pits, jumbled ice mounds, and the edges of a large dark region dubbed “Cthulhu” after…