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Cotton Seed Sprouts In China's Lunar Lander

By Sasha Ingber
The China National Space Administration

A mini biosphere was sent up in China's Chang'e-4, which landed on the far side of the moon in early January. Photos show the small, green shoot of a cotton plant in a container aboard the spacecraft.

(Image credit: China National Space Administration/Xinhua News Agency/AP)

  • January 15th 2019 at 21:14

Iran Is Preparing A Launch. But Is It For A Space Rocket Or A Missile?

By Geoff Brumfiel
Iran

Iran says its intentions are peaceful, but the U.S. worries the planned launches are really about developing weapons — specifically, intercontinental ballistic missiles.

(Image credit: Iranian Defense Ministry via AP)

  • January 14th 2019 at 12:02

SpaceX To Lay Off 10 Percent Of Its Workforce

By Richard Gonzales
Space-X

A spokesman said the reduction would not be necessary except for "extraordinarily difficult challenges ahead."

(Image credit: Matt Hartman/AP)

  • January 12th 2019 at 02:06

Astronomers' New Tool May Help Solve Intergalactic Mystery

By Joe Palca
CHIME Pathfinder prototype radio telescope

Fast Radio Bursts are extremely powerful bursts of energy coming from far beyond the Milky Way. No one knows what's causing them but a new telescope in Canada should help find an explanation.

(Image credit: Keith Vanderlinde/Dunlap Institute)

  • January 10th 2019 at 11:01

Chinese Spacecraft Lands On Far Side Of The Moon

Chinese scientists have landed a spacecraft on the far side of the moon. Rachel Martin speaks with Brown University planetary scientist James Head about whether it is a big milestone.

  • January 4th 2019 at 16:15

A Look At The Methodical Plan China Has Laid Out For Space Exploration

By Nell Greenfieldboyce

China's space program has landed a wheeled rover on the far side of the moon that's never seen from Earth. It's part of a systematic plan that the country has for space exploration.

  • January 3rd 2019 at 22:19

How China's Space Ambitions Fit Into Its Larger Geopolitical Strategy

China's astronomical ambitions are not purely scientific. NPR's Mary Louise Kelly talks with U.S. Naval War College Professor Joan Johnson-Freese about China's larger geopolitical strategy.

  • January 3rd 2019 at 22:19

China Becomes First Country To Land On Far Side Of Moon, State Media Announce

By Matthew S. Schwartz
This photo, provided by China National Space Administration via Xinhua News Agency, is the first image of the moon

Lunar lander Chang'e 4 successfully touched down on Thursday morning. China's Xinhua News published a photo it says was taken by the probe "on the never-visible side of the moon."

(Image credit: Imaginechina via AP)

  • January 3rd 2019 at 09:00

Images Reveal A 'Snowman' At The Frigid Outer Reaches Of Our Solar System

By Nell Greenfieldboyce

Scientists say Ultima Thule, a newly explored world out beyond Pluto, is a relic from our solar system's earliest days.

(Image credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute)

  • January 2nd 2019 at 22:32

News Brief: Government Shutdown, Russia Detains U.S. Citizen, NASA Probe

By Rachel Martin

Congressional leaders go to the White House for a border security briefing. A U.S. citizen is in Russian custody on suspicion of spying. And, NASA's New Horizons probe makes history.

  • January 2nd 2019 at 10:58

NASA Gets Some Help From Guitarist Brian May On Its New Horizons Probe

Queen guitarist Brian May is also an astrophysicist. He consulted with NASA on its New Horizons probe, which this week started sending back signals from the outer reaches of our solar system.

  • January 2nd 2019 at 10:58

NASA's New Horizons Spacecraft Conducts Farthest-Ever Fly-By Of An Object

NASA's New Horizons flew by the most distant object ever visited by a spacecraft Tuesday. NPR's Audie Cornish talks with planetary scientist Heidi Hammel about what data from the fly by shows.

  • January 1st 2019 at 22:52

NASA Probe Sends Pictures Of An Object 4 Billion Miles From The Sun

By Ian Stewart

The first images of the object, just a few pixels wide, arrived Tuesday morning. Higher-resolution photographs will be sent back to Earth in the coming weeks.

  • January 1st 2019 at 19:00

China's Lunar Lander To Explore Moon's Far Side

By Joe Palca
The Chinese lunar lander Chang

Early in 2019, China hopes to land a rover — the first soft landing on the moon's far side. The mission is exploratory, and will lay groundwork for a trip by Chinese astronauts to the lunar surface.

(Image credit: NASA/Goddard)

  • January 1st 2019 at 10:58

Way Beyond Pluto, An Icy World Is Ready For Its Close-Up

By Nell Greenfieldboyce
An artist

Minutes after the turn of the new year, NASA's New Horizons probe will fly by a minor planet in the most distant exploration of a world ever attempted.

(Image credit: JPL/NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Steve Gribben)

  • December 31st 2018 at 11:04

Nancy Grace Roman, 'Mother Of Hubble' Space Telescope, Has Died, At Age 93

By Russell Lewis
Astronomer Nancy Grace Roman, known as the "Mother" of Hubble, died at 93.

Roman was one of the first female executives at NASA, its first chief of astronomy and she played an instrumental role in making the Hubble Space Telescope a reality. She died on Dec. 25.

(Image credit: Courtesy of NASA)

  • December 30th 2018 at 13:58

What's Next For Tiny Satellites?

By Joe Palca
A cubesat, like this briefcase-sized MarCO, was key to relaying telemetry during the recent InSight mission to Mars. It was the first time this kind of mini-spacecraft had flown into deep space.

Two briefcase-sized satellites gave the control room of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in November what scientists had never been able to get before: real-time information about a spacecraft's landing.

(Image credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • December 26th 2018 at 22:06

Huge Martian Crater 'Korolev' Appears Topped With Miles Of Pristine Snow

By Denise Couture
The Korolev Crater in the northern lowlands of Mars is nearly 51 miles across and filled with ice. The photo was created from several images captured by the Mars Express spacecraft as it orbited the planet in April.

The European Space Agency's new images show a 51-mile-wide ice-filled depression in the surface of Mars caused by the impact of a meteorite or other celestial body.

(Image credit: Björn Schreiner/ESA/DLR/FU Berlin)

  • December 22nd 2018 at 00:06

James Green: Could The Building Blocks Of Life Exist Elsewhere In Our Solar System?

By NPR/TED Staff
Could the building blocks of life exist elsewhere in our solar system?

Earth may not be the only place in our solar system with life, says James Green. New data shows life might have existed on Mars, and could exist now. But what does that mean for us on Earth?

(Image credit: James Green)

  • December 21st 2018 at 15:23

Lucianne Walkowicz: Should We Be Using Mars As A Backup Planet?

By NPR/TED Staff
Lucianne Walkowicz on the TED stage.

Lucianne Walkowicz is all for space exploration, but says we shouldn't expect Mars to save us from a damaged Earth. She warns us not to lose sight of preserving the home we already have.

(Image credit: James Duncan Davidson/TED)

  • December 21st 2018 at 15:23
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