Since the first extra-solar planet was found in 1992, we've made some decent progress in exploring other worlds out there, and may even be zeroing in on that "other Earth."
The comparison between Earth-side mountain exploration and the planned expedition by the Mars rover Curiosity came to my mind as I read a book my family got me over the holidays: Last Climb, the story of the legendary Mount Everest expeditions of George Leigh Mallory.
NASA is preparing to make a big announcement concerning Mars and a recent discovery by the SAM instrument on board the rover Curiosity, though has qualified the nature of the announcement to scientifically interesting, and not "earth-shaking" as the blogosphere has hyped it in speculation.
As bizarre as black holes have been depicted in science fiction, the reality of black holes as described by science is far stranger.
Space exploration has caught up with science fiction (again): we have deployed laser-armed nuclear-powered robot on Mars, and nearly two weeks after landing, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory, the rover Curiosity, has fired that weapon on a Martian rock.
Last Sunday, NASA scored a long-distance touchdown…on Mars! The Mars Science Laboratory, nicknamed "Curiosity" is the largest, most complex spacecraft ever to have set down on the Red Planet.
While nearly all eyes are focused on Mars, two astophysicists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center have been quietly staring at the sun instead.
The first X-Class solar flare of the year went off yesterday, on March 7th, in spectacular fashion. Fortunately the flare went off where it's supposed to: on the Sun. Had this intense magneto-plasmic explosion gone off on Earth, we'd be toast; one of these releases an amount of energy on the order of 100 billion megatons of TNT.
With the New Horizons spacecraft hurtling toward its 2014 encounter with Pluto, and with the Dawn spacecraft now at its most up-close and personal encounter with Vesta, we are in the process of learning scads of information about two objects that are among the least understood and most under-explored bodies in the Solar System.
It's 600 light years from Earth, orbits a star very similar to our Sun in a period of about 290 days, and has a diameter about two and a half times that of Earth. What is it? It's the NASA Kepler mission's most recent exciting confirmed discovery, the extrasolar-planet Kepler 22B.