A major discovery has been made in the asteroid belt -- the dwarf planet Ceres is blasting water vapor into space. Such a finding has been called "unequivocal" by the researchers, according to a paper published in Nature. This is a first time water vapor has been found from an object within the asteroid belt, and shows Ceres has both an atmosphere and an icy surface.
The NASA rover Opportunity sent back a couple of surprising images from Mars last week, both of which were taken with its Pancam, revealing the rather sudden appearance of a small rock. Researchers were surprised at the quick change, and though they offered a couple possible explanations, an investigation was kicked off to try and determine how it happened. Fast-forward through the weekend, and an analysis has offered a new surprise: the chemical composition is unlike anything previously analyzed on the Red Planet.
On Friday, it was revealed the comet-destined Rosetta spacecraft would awaken from its long hibernation in preparation for a mission that has been ten years in the making, with confirmation of its successful arousal set for today. In what ended up being a nail-biting occasion for the folks awaiting the spacecraft's alter, it has been announced that a blip appeared on the European Space Agency's operations center's displays, confirming the success.
Europe's long-sleeping spacecraft, Rosetta, will be roused from its sleep to complete a mission that has been ongoing for several years. This coming Monday at 5AM EST, the spacecraft will awaken after a 2.5 year slumber ahead of a scheduled mission with the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. This follows its launch back in March 2004.
A few NASA rovers have been working their way through the Red Planet, each working to expand scientists' knowledge of Mars and its history. As part of this, large quantities of images are taken and shuttled back to Earth, where researchers analyze them. Recently, the rover Opportunity sent back two images of the same area that had one surprising difference: the sudden appearance of a rock that hadn't been there shortly before.
Astronomers have been studying a star cluster known as Messier 67 or M67 intently for a number of years. The star cluster is about 2,500 light years away from the Earth in the constellation Cancer. Scientists say that this particular star cluster is one of the most studied and has about 500 stars in a loose grouping.
Yesterday marked the liftoff of the first of eight official missions to the International Space Station for Orbital Sciences. Orbital sent its Cygnus spacecraft to the ISS atop its Antares rocket. The rocket launched successfully from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.