Press Releases

Mountain View, Calif. (SETI Institute) - The discoverers of Pluto's two tiniest moons are inviting the public to help select names for the new moons. 

By tradition, the moons of Pluto have names associated with Hades and the underworld. Beginning today, people can vote by visiting: 

http://plutorocks.seti.org

WASHINGTON -- A star thought to have passed the age when it can form planets may in fact be creating new worlds. The disk of material surrounding the surprising star called TW Hydrae may be massive enough to make even more planets than we have in our own solar system.

Herschel is a European Space Agency (ESA) telescope, with science instruments provided by a consortium of European institutes, and with important participation from NASA. 

WASHINGTON -- Researchers using the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) have captured new images of a seven light-year-diameter ring of gas and dust surrounding the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy, and of a neighboring cluster of extremely luminous young stars embedded in dust cocoons.

Mountain View, CA -- Newly released NASA Hubble Space Telescope images of a vast debris disk encircling the nearby star Fomalhaut and a mysterious planet circling it may provide forensic evidence of a titanic planetary disruption in the system. 

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. - Scientists found treasure when they studied an exceptional meteorite recovered April 22, 2012 at Sutter's Mill, the gold discovery site that led to the 1849 California Gold Rush.

An international team of 70 researchers reported in today's issue of “Science” that this meteorite provided the most pristine look yet at the surface of the type of primitive asteroid that NASA hopes to send astronauts to in the future.

PASADENA, Calif. - William Borucki, science principal investigator for NASA's Kepler mission at the agency's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field in California, is the recipient of the 2013 Henry Draper Medal awarded by the National Academy of Sciences. 

Borucki is honored for his founding concept and visionary leadership during the development of Kepler, which uses transit photometry to determine the frequency and kinds of planets around other stars. 

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - NASA's Kepler mission Monday announced the discovery of 461 new planet candidates. Four of the potential new planets are less than twice the size of Earth and orbit in their sun's "habitable zone," the region in the planetary system where liquid water might exist on the surface of a planet. 

Based on observations conducted from May 2009 to March 2011, the findings show a steady increase in the number of smaller-size planet candidates and the number of stars with more than one candidate. 

Matija Ćuk and Sarah Stewart propose a new model to explain the remarkably similar chemistry of the Earth and Moon. A giant impact onto a fast-spinning Earth ejects material from Earth into orbit, which forms a Moon that is depleted in iron and has a composition similar to Earth's mantle. After the impact, the rapidly rotating Earth is slowed down by a gravitational interaction between the Sun and the Moon called an orbital resonance.

Watching active volcanic eruptions should definitely be done from a distance, but a group of California researchers has figured out how to do it from the comfort of home. Using an ingenious combination of Earth-based telescopic surveys and archival data, they have gathered nearly 40 distinct snapshots of effusive volcanic eruptions and high temperature outbursts on Jupiter’s tiny moon, Io, showing details as small as 100 km (60 miles) on the moon’s surface.

Stowaways in a small car-sized asteroid that crashed in northern Sudan in 2008 have revealed what happened to a mysterious dwarf planet that is dusting Earth with a rare type of meteorites. That dwarf planet did not survive the “Late Heavy Bombardment” that cratered the Moon surface, an international team of researchers report in the latest issue of the journal Meteoritics and Planetary Science.

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