space
Asteroid Mining Might Just Work—If Only We Can Land on the Dang Things

The Rosetta mission’s Philae lander descended toward the two-and-a-half-mile-wide comet at a human’s walking pace. For seven tense hours, scientists in Darmstadt, Germany monitored its radio signal. They would have no idea whether they’d done everything correctly until after the moment of touchdown. If all went well, the lander would press two harpoons into the dusty surface of 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, sticking itself firmly in place. If not, well, Philae could bounce right off and be lost to space, or it could be sucked into a pit of soft dust. Read More >>

space
Interstellar Comet ‘Oumuamua Has a Built-In ‘Propulsion’ System

Remember that cigar-shaped interstellar object that whizzed through our Solar System last year? It was pretty weird, right? Well, new research shows ‘Oumuamua is even stranger than we realised. Read More >>

space
The Rosetta Image Archive Is Now Complete and Freely Available, so You Can See a Comet Like Never Before

The European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission to the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was one for the ages, providing an unprecedented look at this oddly shaped celestial object. The Rosetta probe captured nearly 100,000 images over the course of its mission, all of which are now freely available to the public in a single Rosetta archive. Read More >>

space
Wild New Theory Suggests Pluto Formed From a Billion Comets

Pluto may not be a planet, but it remains one of the most intriguing objects in the outer Solar System. Its unexpected chemical composition has confounded scientists for years, but a new theory may finally hold the answer. Pluto, according to a pair of Southwest Research Institute scientists, is basically an overgrown comet. Read More >>

space
Incredible New GIF Shows Cosmic ‘Snow’ on the Surface of a Comet

I think I’m going to let this one speak for itself: Read More >>

astronomy
A Visiting Star Jostled Our Solar System 70,000 Years Ago

Around the same time our ancestors left Africa, a dim red dwarf star came to within 0.8 light-years of our Sun, marking the closest known flyby of a star to our Solar System. New research suggests Scholz’s Star, as it’s known, left traces of this interstellar encounter by perturbing some comets in the outer Oort Cloud. Read More >>

space
What the Hell is Going on With This Comet?

There’s already a strange story behind comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák, or just 41P: It took almost 100 years to identify and occasionally flares. And now, its spin is rapidly slowing down. Read More >>

space
The First Known Interstellar Asteroid Looks Incredibly Weird 

Scientists know of 750,000 or so asteroids and comets—and all of them are part of this fine solar system. That is, all of them but one. And as new research shows, it’s weird as hell. Read More >>

space
This Is One of the Strangest Objects Ever Discovered in the Solar System

Is it an asteroid? A comet? Both? Observations by the Hubble Space Telescope are revealing new details about a strange binary asteroid that’s performing double-duty as a comet. It’s the first time scientists have ever seen such a thing. Read More >>

space
Lost Japanese Spacecraft Has Made a Key Measurement on Rosetta’s Comet

Japan’s Proximate Object Close Flyby with Optical Navigation (PROCYON) has been lost in space ever since its ion thrusters blew out in 2014. Since then, the tiny spacecraft has done its best to be useful, orbiting the Sun by itself. A new study reveals the PROCYON made some impressive observations on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the same comet the Rosetta spacecraft observed for two years before ending its mission in 2016. Read More >>

rosetta
All the Incredible Things We Learned From Our First Trip to a Comet

The historic Rosetta mission has finally come to an end. Over the past two years, the probe’s many instruments have scanned virtually every nook and cranny of this weirdly shaped rock, unleashing a treasure trove of new information about comets in general, and 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko in particular.When Halley’s Comet paid us a visit back in 1986, the European Space Agency’s Giotto spacecraft was sent to explore the incoming ball of ice and dirt. By the time the mission was over, it became glaringly obvious that if we were ever going to learn anything about comets, we’re going to have to get a bit closer. Like, a lot closer. Read More >>

space
How the Rosetta Spacecraft Will Crash Onto Comet 67P

In just seven days, the Rosetta spacecraft will smash into Comet 67P. A new visualisation shows how it’ll go down. Read More >>

space
Our Best Glimpse Yet of a Disintegrating Comet

Astronomers working with the Hubble Space Telescope have captured unprecedented images of a comet in the process of disintegration. It’s our clearest view yet of this celestial phenomenon in action. Read More >>

space
Complex Organic Molecules Discovered on Rosetta’s Comet

With only a few days left before it’s scheduled to crash-land on the surface of Comet 67P, the Rosetta spacecraft is still yielding amazing discoveries. And I’m not just talking about lost comet landers. Read More >>

space
How Scientists Found the Tiny Philae Lander on a Giant Comet

In the shadow of a cliff on an icy rock 700 million kilometres from Earth, a washing machine-sized robot by the name of Philae has spent the last two years in hibernation. We’d already given up hope of speaking with humanity’s first and only comet lander ever again, and time was running out to catch a final, fleeting glimpse of the beloved craft. In the eleventh hour, science prevailed. Read More >>