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Powerful Jets From Mars-Bound Comet Spied by Hubble

After lurking in the outer reaches of the solar system for the past one million years, a comet is heading for a close encounter with Mars. The Hubble Space Telescope is keeping tabs on the icy interloper, seen in just-released images. Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring), which now lies some 353 million miles (568 million…

Space Shuttle 747 to Land in Museum

The jumbo jet that first carried a space shuttle coast to coast will land in a museum next month, scheduled to forever bear a copy of its most famous passenger. NASA 905 was the first of two Boeing 747 passenger jets modified by the space agency to wing space shuttles from landing runways back to…

NASA Unveils Stunning New Milky Way Portrait

Talk about an out-of-this-world map! NASA has unveiled a stunning new clickable panoramic portrait of our home galaxy, the Milky Way. The zoomable, 360-degree view was constructed from more than two million infrared snapshots taken over the past ten years by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. “If we actually printed this out, we’d need a billboard…

First Person: What I’m Learning on a Simulated Mars Mission

By Jim Urquhart for National Geographic “Mars has been flown by, orbited, smacked into, radar examined, and rocketed onto, as well as bounced upon, rolled over, shoveled, drilled into, baked, and even blasted. Still to come: Mars being stepped on.”—Buzz Aldrin In a remote stretch of Utah desert, five scientific researchers and one journalist, myself, came together this month…

Hangout With an Astronaut: Ask Your Questions

Since the year of mankind’s inaugural trip to space in 1961, 341 people have crossed the celestial borders of outer space. These new-age navigators represent the pinnacle of human achievement. What is it about their daring voyages that elicit wonderment in those watching from Earth? Becoming an astronaut is a difficult, but not impossible dream. Join us for our next Google+ Hangout to discover one astronaut’s path to becoming a crew member on the International Space Station.

Catch the Space Station This Week on TV and in the Skies Above

What’s it like to live and work in space? On Friday, March 14, at 8 p.m. EDT you will find out, thanks to an exciting two-hour live National Geographic TV Channel broadcast from the International Space Station (ISS) and NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The National Geographic Channel, in partnership with NASA, are…

Orion Star Factory May Be Deadly to Planets

  The Great Orion Nebula not only looks like a giant star factory, but new research suggests it also is a destroyer of young worlds. New high-frequency radio observations obtained through the radio telescopes at the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in northern Chile show for the first time that the giant gas cloud, located…

Budget Provides Blueprint for Climate, Energy Goals

President Barack Obama unveiled his 2015 budget proposal Tuesday, outlining his spending and policy priorities for the upcoming year. In it, President Obama earmarked funding for both his Climate Action Plan and Climate Resiliency Fund. The budget for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—the agency that released stricter fuel standards this week—represented a $309 million decrease from the current fiscal year budget. The nearly $8 billion…

Lopsided Supernova Blasts Uncovered

Some jumbo stars commit stellar suicide in surprisingly lumpy explosions, according to a new study in Nature. Scientists led by Caltech’s Brian Grefenstette looked at Cassiopeia A, a supernova that first appeared in nighttime skies around the year 1670. The supernova’s wispy remnants rest some 11,000 light-years away from Earth, stretched across some 59 trillion miles (95 trillion…

5 Sky Events This Week: Red Planet, Lord of the Rings, and Space Mountain

The bright moon moves into late-night skies this week, offering backyard observers some early-evening opportunities to hunt down celestial sights ranging from a fading supernova to a giant asteroid. Last-chance supernova. For Monday, February 17, and the rest of the week, the exploding star SN 2014J will be visible in darker skies in the early evening, thanks to the…

Intense Starburst Spotted in Nearby Galaxy

Things are rocking right now in our own galactic neighborhood. Backyard telescope users already knew about the Cigar Galaxy, or M82, located in the Great Bear constellation, Ursa Major. Now it has two new cosmic secrets to explore. Two weeks ago a supernova—a giant exploding star—was discovered by British university students within the galaxy, which is…

Awesome First Snapshot of Earth From Curiosity Rover

Not much more than just a few pixels on the photo above, that bright dot in the twilight Martian sky is Earth, as seen by NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover. A first view of the rover’s picture of its home planet, taken from the surface of Mars, even shows Earth’s moon. And while NASA engineers say…

Newly Discovered Planet Wobbles as It Spins

A newly discovered planet wobbles as it spins, astronomers say, though it’s in no danger of falling down. The planet, dubbed Kepler-413b, wobbles as it spins around on its north-south axis circling its stars. The wobbles have altered the planet’s tilt by as much as 30 degrees (the angle between the 12 o’clock and the 1…

Obama Doesn’t Need Congress to Move Forward on Clean Energy

A week before President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, a new report says Obama could advance key measures of his Climate Action Plan with or without the cooperation of Congress. “When they believed a national situation warranted action, some past presidents interpreted their authority broadly and exercised it aggressively,” the report said. “That is the practice of presidential authority Americans…

Here’s Your Chance to Hitch a Ride to an Asteroid

A trip to the moon on gossamer wings? While most of us Earthlings will never get to visit other worlds, here’s your chance to fly your name, at least, on a spacecraft heading to a distant asteroid in 2016. A microchip with the names etched on it will be secured to the side of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx (Origins Spectral…