Xenon is a peculiar element. It certainly has one of the most mysterious names (from the Greek xenos, or “stranger”). As a noble gas, it refuses to bond with other elements except under exotic conditions. And its uses are all about as creepy as its name: Folks use it for its eerie glow, to detect radiation, or in its…
Japan’s Proximate Object Close Flyby with Optical Navigation (PROCYON) has been lost in space ever since its ion thrusters blew out in 2014. Since then, the tiny spacecraft has done its best to be useful, orbiting the Sun by itself. A new study reveals the PROCYON made some impressive observations on Comet…
A glowing green ball of ice and rock is zipping past the Earth and on December 31st, it can be spotted near the crescent moon—in a dark sky, with the aid of some good binoculars. But for those hoping this comet will veer off course and take aim straight at our sorry planet? Sorry, 2016 isn’t that merciful.
With the historic Rosetta mission now over, the ESA has compiled a four-minute simulation showing the spacecraft’s complete journey as it weaved around Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.
The historic Rosetta mission has finally come to an end. Over the past two years, the probe’s many instruments have scanned virtually every nook and cranny of this weirdly shaped rock, unleashing a treasure trove of new information about comets in general, and 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko in particular.
The Rosetta spacecraft has spent three years peering at Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko from orbit—but this week, its watch will end. Tomorrow, Rosetta begins a controlled descent to its final resting place on the edge of an enormous pit, where it’ll remain frozen until the space rock itself is destroyed, or until the…
In just seven days, the Rosetta spacecraft will smash into Comet 67P. A new visualization shows how it’ll go down.
Astronomers working with the Hubble Space Telescope have captured unprecedented images of a comet in the process of disintegration. It’s our clearest view yet of this celestial phenomenon in action.
In two weeks, the European Space Agency will crash-land its prized Rosetta spacecraft, marking a dramatic end to the whirlwind two-year science mission that saw humanity’s first-ever comet landing. It’ll be 48 action-packed hours as Rosetta descends to its ultimate resting place on Comet 67P—and to get you properly…
In the shadow of a cliff on an icy rock 700 million kilometers from Earth, a washing machine-sized robot by the name of Philae has spent the last two years in hibernation. We’d already given up hope of speaking with humanity’s first and only comet lander ever again, and time was running out to catch a final, fleeting…
The European Space Agency lost contact with its Rosetta mission’s plucky little lander, Philae, in May 2015. Now the orbiter’s high-resolution camera has found Philae wedged into a dark crack on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
Reminding us of our own fragile mortality, a large, bright comet just streaked across the sky and straight into our nearest neighboring star. You will absolutely believe what happened next because it has happened to you in a nightmare, admit it.
Seventy-one days from now, the Rosetta spacecraft will end its historic mission by crashing onto the surface of its target, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Mission planners have now selected the spacecraft’s final, mission-ending destination—and it’s a good one.
Halley’s Comet pays us a visit every 76 years or so, but its exact arrival date cannot be predicted. A team of European astronomers has finally come up with an explanation for this comet’s erratic behavior.
Set yourself a reminder for September 30—that’s when the Rosetta spacecraft will make a controlled descent and crash on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. After 12 years in space and nearly two years circling around this dusty, weirdly-shaped comet, this historic mission is finally coming to an end.
If you thought a comet that contains the building blocks of life and creates its own weather couldn’t get any more interesting, think again. Scientists finally have a theory as to why comet 67P—also known as Rosetta’s comet—has two distinct lobes. It’s actually two distinct comets, which break up, orbit one another,…
Comets brush by us all the time, but they’re usually not close enough for us to catch anything more than a glimpse as they streak through the sky. But, thanks to one very close comet, Hubble just got an incredible insider view.
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.