Nov 20, 2019

A new name for a far away world

Arrokoth as seen by New Horizons. Photo: NASA/JHU-APL

The most distant world ever observed from close range has an official name: Arrokoth, meaning "sky" in the Powhatan/Algonquian language.

The big picture: NASA's New Horizons had its close flyby of the body — located 1 billion miles past Pluto — on New Year's Day 2019.

“We graciously accept this gift from the Powhatan people. Bestowing the name Arrokoth signifies the strength and endurance of the indigenous Algonquian people of the Chesapeake region.”
— Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, in a statement

Between the lines: Scientists originally nicknamed the object "Ultima Thule," however, controversy around that name erupted when Newsweek first reported that the name was historically tied to the Nazi regime.

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A new view of the Milky Way

Photo: NASA/MIT/TESS

The Milky Way shines in a photo taken by a space telescope designed to hunt for planets circling stars far from our own solar system.

Details: The image by NASA's TESS was released on Nov. 5 and was created by piecing together 208 photos taken by the telescope during its first year gathering science from orbit.

Go deeperArrowNov 19, 2019

NASA's difficult road to the Moon

Photo: NASA

A new report paints a stark picture of NASA's progress toward accomplishing its Artemis mission to the Moon in 2024.

Why it matters: The report from NASA's inspector general — and others like it — reveals some of what lurks below the positive face the space agency puts forward announcing its accomplishments and hyping its future endeavors.

Go deeperArrowNov 19, 2019

Where to hunt for life on Mars

Mars as seen by the Curiosity rover. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

After decades of sending missions to Mars, NASA is now zeroing in on regions of the red planet that they think have the best chance of determining whether the world has hosted — or hosts — life.

The big picture: Scientists are now able to point to parts of Mars that were once likely wet and warm, with geological signatures similar to the rivers, deltas and lakes on Earth — upping the odds that those parts of Mars could have once been friendly to life.

Go deeperArrowNov 19, 2019