Voyager spacecraft detects ‘persistent hum’ beyond our solar system
By Amy Woodyatt, CNN
2 minute read
2:46 PM EDT, Tue May 11, 2021
Two new missions to Venus -- DAVINCI+ and VERITAS -- have been selected by NASA. These missions will shed light on how Venus became the inhospitable world it is today, despite the fact that it shares many characteristics with Earth.
This illustration shows the position of NASA's Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 probes outside the heliosphere, a protective bubble created by the sun that extends well past the orbit of Pluto.
SPHEREx, the Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer, will study the beginning and evolution of the universe and determine how common the ingredients for life are within the planetary systems found in our galaxy, the Milky Way. It is targeted to launch in 2024.
This illustration shows NASA's Dragonfly rotorcraft-lander approaching a site on Saturn's exotic moon, Titan. Taking advantage of Titan's dense atmosphere and low gravity, Dragonfly will explore dozens of locations across the icy world, sampling and measuring the compositions of Titan's organic surface materials to characterize the habitability of Titan's environment and investigate the progression of prebiotic chemistry.
NASA's Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope, slated to launch in the mid-2020s, has been named the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, after NASA's first chief astronomer.
This is an artist's concept of the Europa Clipper spacecraft, which will investigate Jupiter's icy moon.
Bright swaths of red in the upper atmosphere, known as airglow, can be seen in this image from the International Space Station. NASA's ICON mission will observe how interactions between terrestrial weather and a layer of charged particles called the ionosphere create the colorful glow.
NASA's Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk mission -- known as the GOLD mission -- will examine the response of the upper atmosphere to force from the sun, the magnetosphere and the lower atmosphere.
NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite launched in April and is already identifying exoplanets orbiting the brightest stars just outside our solar system. In the first three months since it began surveying the sky in July, it has found three exoplanets, with the promise of many more ahead.
MIT News/Goddard Space Flight Center/NASA
This is an artist's concept of the Solar Probe Plus spacecraft approaching the sun. In order to unlock the mysteries of the corona, but also to protect a society that is increasingly dependent on technology from the threats of space weather, we will send Solar Probe Plus to touch the sun.
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/NASA
Breakthrough Starshot —
This illustration shows light beams from Earth pushing a tiny spacecraft's sail. The proposed Breakthrough Starshot project would send hundreds of "nanocraft" space probes 4.37 light years away -- at speeds of up to 100 million miles an hour -- to to explore Alpha Centauri, our nearest star system. The ambitious project is many years away from becoming reality.
Courtesy BREAKTHROUGH INITIATIVES
Breakthrough Starshot —
Philanthropist Yuri Milner, left, and astrophysicist Stephen Hawking host a press conference to announce Breakthrough Starshot on Tuesday, April 12, 2016, in New York City. Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg also sits on the mission's board of directors.
Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize Foundation
New Horizons —
No spacecraft had ever gone to Pluto before NASA's New Horizons made its fly-by on July 14, 2015. The probe sent back amazing, detailed images of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon. It also dazzled scientists with new information about Pluto's atmosphere and landscape. New Horizons is still going today, heading out into the Kuiper Belt.
Curiosity Mars Rover —
This image shows the Curiosity rover doing a test drill on a rock dubbed "Bonanza King" to see if it would be a good place to dig deeper and take a sample. Curiosity was launched in 2011, and it is the most advanced rover ever built. It's helping scientists determine whether Mars is, or ever was, habitable for life forms.
The Kepler space observatory is the first NASA mission dedicated to finding Earth-size planets in or near the habitable zones of stars. Launched in 2009, Kepler has been detecting planets and planet candidates with a wide range of sizes and orbital distances. Yes, we are still finding new planets.
NASA's infrared-wavelength space telescope called NEOWISE may help make us safer. The space telescope hunts for asteroids and comets, including those that could pose a threat to Earth. During its planned three-year survey through 2016, NEOWISE will identify near-Earth objects, gather data on their size and take other measurements. The probe was launched on December 14, 2009, for its original mission -- to perform an all-sky astronomical survey. The probe was put in hibernation for several years, but it was fired up again in December 2013 to hunt for asteroids. Its images are now available to the public online.