The small satellite that's paying big dividends

Think of the International Space Station, and most likely you imagine an orbiting laboratory, where scientists observe how plants, materials, and humans react to microgravity conditions. But during the past decade, the station ...

Do the TRAPPIST-1 planets have atmospheres?

In February of 2017, the scientific community rejoiced as NASA announced that a nearby star (TRAPPIST-1) had a system of no less than seven rocky planets. Since that time, astronomers have conducted all kinds of follow-up ...

SOFIA finds clues hidden in Pluto's haze

When the New Horizons spacecraft passed by Pluto in 2015, one of the many fascinating features its images revealed was that this small, frigid world in the distant solar system has a hazy atmosphere. Now, new data helps explain ...

Making planets in a rocket

How are celestial bodies created? Aside from philosophical questions, researchers are taking practical steps to investigate the very first moments when planets are born—on a sounding rocket launching from Sweden next week.

Research redefines lower limit for planet size habitability

In The Little Prince, the classic novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the titular prince lives on a house-sized asteroid so small that he can watch the sunset any time of day by moving his chair a few steps.

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