Tag Archives: Featured Post


Protecting Planets in the Era of Private Space Exploration

Space exploration comes with many risks, including cross contamination between worlds. NASA has historically followed planetary protection protocols to prevent Earth bugs from getting to other planets, or vice versa. But ever-increasing commercial space activity is starting to put strain on the current system.

This artist’s impression shows an imagined view of the three planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth that were discovered using the TRAPPIST telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory. These worlds have sizes and temperatures similar to those of Venus and Earth and may be the best targets found so far for the search for life outside the Solar System. They are the first planets ever discovered around such a tiny and dim star. In this view one of the inner planets is seen in transit across the disc of its tiny and dim parent star.

Now That We’ve Found TRAPPIST’s Earth-like Planets, the Real Works Begins

The discovery of TRAPPIST’s Earth-like planets is a remarkable achievement for the scientific community. But in a way, the real work begins now and may last for generations, if not for centuries.


Eyes on the Skies at Owens Valley Radio Observatory

Staying overnight at Owens Valley Radio Observatory in California provides a unique opportunity for unprecedented stargazing and fun.


China Wants Lunar Answers with Chang’e 5

After a decade of preparatory missions to the moon, China is crackling its knuckles before its newest probe visits our sidekick’s mysterious, ice-laden poles.