Press Releases

Mountain View, CA. Today, astronomers have announced new evidence that small planets – the type of worlds most favorable for biology – may be more common than thought.  Once believed to accompany only stars with a large helping of heavy elements, this result suggests that – like weeds that can grow anywhere – Earth-size planets can be found around nearly any type of star.  The new work bolsters the chances that scientists will eventually succeed in discovering extraterrestrial biology.

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. – NASA and the SETI Institute are asking the public for more information to help find amateur photos and video footage of the Sunday, April 22, 2012 meteor shower that illuminated the sky over the Sierra Nevada mountains.

NASA and SETI Institute scientists are seeking the photos and video footage to better analyze the trajectory of the meteorite and learn about its orbit in space.

Astronomers have discovered why we see meteors flash through the night sky while they seemingly rain down on us gently at the same time. In a paper published in the December 20 issue of the Astrophysical Journal, models of the zodiacal cloud are reconciled with radar observations, revealing a game of hide and seek and an interesting identity switcharoo.

“This detective story was much a case of meteors you can see and those you can’t”, says lead author and planetary astronomer David Nesvorny of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Mountain View, CA - Since the discovery of its two moons, the triple asteroid Minerva has been the focus of space and ground-based telescope studies that have attempted to unravel the secrets of this intriguing system. A multiple-telescope campaign has now revealed that Minerva is unusually round for an asteroid, and has a possibly unique structure. The campaign to “weigh” the asteroid and derive its density and other characteristics was undertaken by an international team of planetary astronomers led by Franck Marchis, researcher at the Carl Sagan Center of the SETI Institute.

WASHINGTON -- NASA’s History Program Office is releasing a new book that examines the different psychological factors that affect astronauts during space travel, especially long-duration missions.

Tenerife, Canary Islands – March 25, 2011 – Among the most profound enterprises in human history is the search for our beginnings and our place among the stars. Utilizing the excitement of SETI research and NASA science, the SETI Institute is extending an invitation to that seemingly most unscientific of creatures: the artist.

Scientists at the SETI Institute, Mountain View, Calif., and NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. believe that traces of Mars’ wet past are hidden from the scrutiny of space-borne instruments under a thin varnish of iron oxide, or rust.

WASHINGTON -- Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope discovered a fourth moon orbiting the icy dwarf planet Pluto. The tiny, new satellite, temporarily designated P4, was uncovered in a Hubble survey searching for rings around the dwarf planet.

The new moon is the smallest discovered around Pluto. It has an estimated diameter of 8 to 21 miles (13 to 34 km). By comparison, Charon, Pluto's largest moon, is 648 miles (1,043 km) across, and the other moons, Nix and Hydra, are in the range of 20 to 70 miles in diameter (32 to 113 km).

WASHINGTON -- Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope discovered a fourth moon orbiting the icy dwarf planet Pluto. The tiny, new satellite, temporarily designated P4, was uncovered in a Hubble survey searching for rings around the dwarf planet.

The new moon is the smallest discovered around Pluto. It has an estimated diameter of 8 to 21 miles (13 to 34 km). By comparison, Charon, Pluto's largest moon, is 648 miles (1,043 km) across, and the other moons, Nix and Hydra, are in the range of 20 to 70 miles in diameter (32 to 113 km).

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