A first-of-its-kind space rock filled with pristine material from the formation of the Earth itself has returned to the inner solar system, after billions of years in the cosmic boondocks. And it could help us piece together our planet’s origin story.
The case that we’re all just highly organized lumps of space candy keeps getting better. For the first time, scientists have created ribose—the key sugar underlying RNA—in laboratory conditions simulating the cold, radiation-blasted vacuum of outer space.
Astronomers have captured video evidence of a collision between Jupiter and a small celestial object, likely a comet or asteroid. Though it looks like a small blip of light, the resulting explosion was unusually powerful.
Millions of people around the globe were enthralled when the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft successfully landed on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in November 2014. Artist Ekaterina Smirnova was one of them—so much so that she has created an entire series of giant watercolor paintings inspired by the comet.
Scientists have long pondered what lies beneath the surface of comet 67P, but a study out in Nature this week has the answer: dust. Lots and lots of dust. I was hoping for space gremlins, but to planetary scientists this result is almost as exciting.
Rosetta is still orbiting Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and it’s beamed back an impressive image showing off the comet’s surface. It’s rugged and beautiful.
When the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft sent back the first images of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, scientists were surprised by how much it looked like a rubber ducky. A new analysis finally explains how this comet acquired its distinctive shape.
The ESA has released a new 3D shape model of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. This model integrates the latest images taken by the Rosetta spacecraft, and includes previously unknown features. It can be used for 3D printing or graphical representations.
An oddly dimming star located 1,500 light-years from Earth is causing all sorts of commotion in the scientific community, leading some to speculate that it may be some sort of alien megastructure. A new analysis of infrared data suggests a more natural explanation.
Water, water everywhere, but how on Earth did it get here? Many scientists believe that Baby Earth formed dry and was later soaked by an onslaught of extraterrestrial impacts. But a new study challenges that view, arguing that our planet has had water from the start. In fact, we have have inherited it from the tiny…
It was one year ago today that the Philae Lander bounced, spun, and tumbled across the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. To commemorate the historic event, the European Space Agency has released an animated video chronicling the lander’s chaotic landing.
On All Hallow’s Eve, an asteroid dubbed “Spooky” will make its closest approach to our planet. Hurtling along at an impressive 78,830 miles per hour, the 1,300-foot-wide object poses no threat to Earth...or does it? This Gizmodo video explains Spooky’s story.
The Rosetta spacecraft has taken hundreds of stunning photographs of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko over the past year, but a portion of the comet was obscured due to its odd seasonal shifts. Now, thanks to a special camera aboard Rosetta, scientists have created a sketch of its elusive dark side.
If a massive comet struck the Earth, the oceans would boil and the air would catch fire (don’t worry, this isn’t about to happen). But to alien astronomers studying our planet from afar, humanity’s brutal demise would look like nothing more than a faint flicker of light. If we could detect such impacts on distant…
Last week, a slew of scientific papers told the story of comet lander Philae’s bumpy touchdown, comet 67P’s surprisingly fluffy surface, and — most exciting — the discovery of life’s building blocks there. We haven’t found life. But we may have found part of life’s origin story, buried on this icy rock.
Humans, dark and disturbed creatures that we are, love to imagine what would happen if a massive comet struck the Earth. But what if a giant ice rock flung itself into the Sun? A team of astronomers did the math to figure out what would happen.
When it comes to fireworks, NASA doesn’t play around. A decade ago, they crashed a probe into a comet just to watch the cosmic display, and now they’ve turned that moment into a Vine.
Watch your step, Philae! 67P, the comet we landed a space probe on last fall, is apparently riddled with sinkholes. And as the massive ball of ice and dust hurls itself toward the sun, its surface is continuing to evolve.
Last week, NASA’s Messenger spacecraft ended its 11-year mission by crashing into Mercury. Of course, Messenger was doomed anyway, but sometimes a mission’s entire point is to smash one thing into a bigger thing and watch the explosion.