Comet Orbiter Rosetta's Dramatic Finale Will Leave You Misty Eyed

Comet orbiter Rosetta has captured our hearts these past twelve months, but like all space probes before it, this one will eventually be put out to pasture. Of course, a productive scientific mission demands a dramatic finale, and so, when Rosetta runs out of fuel and funding next September, the European Space Agency… »11/05/15 2:30pm11/05/15 2:30pm

What Other Scientists Are Saying About Today's "Life on a Comet" Claim

This morning, several news outlets gave voice to an extraordinary claim: Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, where the spacecraft Philae awoke last month, could be home to alien life. But extraordinary claims, we all know, require extraordinary evidence. So guess what these morning’s claims were lacking! »7/06/15 2:58pm7/06/15 2:58pm

The Ultimate Shadow Selfie: Rosetta's Silhouette On Comet 67P

This brand new image from the OSIRIS scientific imaging camera of European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft reveals two fascinating things. First, we have an incredibly detailed view of the surface of Comet 67P. Second, look at that fuzzy, dark patch at the bottom of the photo—it's the shadow of the spacecraft itself! »3/03/15 7:30am3/03/15 7:30am

An Unexpected Discovery On The Surface Of Rosetta's Comet

Scientists have presented their initial observations of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in seven articles published Thursday in the journal Science. Among the more surprising finds: images of ripples and dunes on the comet's surface, unexpected given that the comet lacks an atmosphere (and therefore wind) and… »1/23/15 10:04am1/23/15 10:04am

We're Running Out of the Nuclear Fuel That Powers Space Travel

Rosetta's lander lasted just 60 hours on a comet after it bounced into the dark shadows of a cliff, where its solar panels couldn't power the vehicle. Why didn't it carry a more reliable power source, say a nuclear battery like one that's unfailingly fueled Voyager for decades? It's a simple question with a… »12/02/14 12:30pm12/02/14 12:30pm