Venus is sometimes called the Earth's twin because of its similar size and orbital distance from the Sun, but it's more like a backwards, inside-out Earth. Venus rotates on its axis in the opposite direction from the solar system's other planets, and it's hot — surface temperatures average around 890°F. But it looks like Venus isn't hot all over.
Titan is pretty Earth-like. It's got methane cycles akin to our planet's water cycle, and it's inclined by about 27 degrees, similar to the Earth. That incline means Titan has season like Earth does, and scientists have collected 30 years of data about the moon's seasons, the equivalent of a full year. Turns out, Titan's seasons are another similarity the moon has with our own planet.
Of places I would want to take a cruise, Titan (the largest of Saturn's moons) would probably not* be at the top of my list. It's nearly 300 degrees below zero most of the time, the atmosphere is unbreathable, and swimming in liquid ethane and methane sounds unpleasant. None of that is a problem, though, for this little robotic paddleboat.
We are well aware just how much crap there is in space. Lots of people have suggested ways of dealing with it, but first we have to find it. The Air Force has been tracking space junk for decades with technology that's decades old, but its system is in store for a major upgrade, called Space Fence.
Though earlier evidence provided clues that water once existed on Mars, NASA's Curiosity rover has found evidence of a stream that once ran across the surface.
We've seen graphic depictions mapping the relative scale of our universe, but nothing beats actually looking into the void and seeing what's really out there. This week the Hubble Space Telescope released images that take us farther than we've ever gone before.
This little smudge doesn't look like much now, but it's a newly discovered comet that's heading towards the sun. C/2012 S1, as it's known, will make its closest pass in November of next year, by which point astronomers are predicting that it may appear brighter than a full moon. Much brighter.
The ISS is pretty cool and all, and it's got a sweet view of Earth, but you know what? We live on Earth. Let's do some exploring! The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that NASA may have its eye on a more exotic location for the successor to the ISS: out beyond the orbit of the Moon, serving as a gateway to Mars and beyond.
It almost goes without saying that the greatest gift you can give a kid is the gift of learning through adventure. One father recently decided to give his four-year-old son such a treat by sending his favorite toy train to the very edge of space and back again.
Folks aboard the International Space Station captured this image of the wildfires sweeping through Idaho on September 19, 2012.