NASA’s Dust-Choked InSight Lander Likely Won’t Make It to the End of the Year

NASA announced in May that its InSight Mars lander—a spacecraft that has spent nearly four years investigating Martian geology and seismic activity—would likely scientific cease operations in mid-summer and terminate all operations by the end of the year, due to low power levels. Now, the agency plans to stretch InSight’s scientific endeavors until late August … Read more

The Mites That Live and Breed on Your Face Have Anuses, Genome Study Finds

An illustration of Demodex folliculorum. Photo: Shutterstock (Shutterstock) Scientists have finally unraveled the genetic secrets of humanity’s coziest roommates: Demodex folliculorum, also known as the skin mite. Among other things, the findings confirm that these moths actually do have uses, contrary to previous speculation. They also indicate that the microscopic animals may not be as … Read more

SpaceX Just Pulled Off Three Launches in 36 Hours

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launched Germany’s SARah 1 military imaging satellite into orbit on June 18.Photo: SpaceX It was a busy weekend for SpaceX, with the private space company launching three of its Falcon 9 rockets into orbit over a period of three days. SpaceX’s final launch may even have been carrying a classified government … Read more

Test to Maneuver ISS with Cygnus Spacecraft Didn’t Go as Planned

The Cygnus space freighter approaching the ISS on February 21, 2022. Photo: NASA NASA is currently evaluating the ability of docked Cygnus spacecraft to serve as boosters for the International Space Station, but a recent test of the concept was quickly stopped, for reasons that aren’t yet clear. The engine firing of Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus … Read more

NASA Set for Latest Megarocket Launch Rehearsal—and the Pressure Is On

The Orion capsule atop SLS, with the full Moon in the background. Photo: NASA Kennedy NASA is under immense pressure to succeed this weekend during its fourth attempt at a launch rehearsal for its Space Launch System. Another failed test of the gigantic rocket would be an embarrassing—and worrying—setback for the Artemis Moon program, which … Read more

NASA Selects Astronauts to Fly on First Crewed Starliner Test Flight

In anticipation of Boeing’s first crewed test flight of Starliner, NASA has chosen two astronauts to fly on board the troubled spacecraft, in a mission that could launch later this year. On Friday, NASA announced that veteran astronauts Suni Williams and Butch Wilmore will fly on board the Crew Flight Test (CFT), the launch date … Read more

Strange, Isolated Group of Polar Bears Discovered in Greenland

A Southeast Greenland polar bear on glacier, or freshwater, ice at 61 degrees north in September 2016.Photo: Thomas W. Johansen/NASA Oceans Melting Greenland Researchers have identified a previously unknown population of polar bears living in isolation Southeast Greenland. The bears hunt for seals in fjords, on freshwater ice shelves, instead of on rapidly receding sea … Read more

What’s This Weird Balancing Rock on Mars?

This image was taken by Perseverance on Sol 466, or June 12, 2022 by Earth’s calendar. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU My colleague noticed something strange in the latest batch of photos from NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover: A roundish rock appears to be carefully balanced atop a jagged outcrop. How did that get there? The photo was taken … Read more

13,000-Year-Old Tusk Reveals Life of ‘Fred,’ a Mastodon Who Died in Battle

A mounted skeleton of the Buesching mastodon.Photo: Eric Bronson, Michigan Photography Researchers have detailed the life and grisly death of a male mastodon that died 13,200 years ago by scrutinizing the chemical composition of one of its tusks. The tusk revealed the mastodon grew up in the Great Lakes area and, later in life, made … Read more

Astra Rocket Fails to Deliver Two NASA Satellites to Orbit

The upper stage of the Astra rocket shut down before delivering the payload to orbit.Photo: NASA NASA lost two small satellites on Sunday after a rocket malfunctioned en route to orbit. The two TROPICS CubeSats were the first pair of a six-satellite constellation designed to study tropical cyclones, but the space agency is still hoping … Read more