Solar System

We live in an amazing planetary system. From the yawning Valles Marineris on Mars and the subsurface ocean hiding beneath the ice crust of Jupiter’s moon Europa, to the eerily Earth-like terrain of Saturn’s moon Titan, the solar system brims with wonders. And let’s not forget the Sun, with its mysteriously hot corona and its solar flares.

Here you’ll find the latest news from our ongoing exploration of the solar system. Whether it be stunning pictures from NASA’s Curiosity rover or new revelations about planets’ history and formation, we bring you authoritative reports on the coolest and most important developments in planetary science and heliophysics.

Cone of zodiacal light stretching into the sky from behind a dark silhouette of evergreen trees.

Zodiacal Light – Captivated by Comet Dust

October's a perfect time to see the zodiacal light, a tapering tower of comet dust standing high in the eastern sky before dawn. Here's how to find it. Wednesday morning, 5:30 a.m. I'm driving too fast down a country road in search of a clear sky to watch the total lunar eclipse. Totality is underway, but clouds...

Curious lunar feature Ina D

(Geologically) Recent Volcanoes on the Moon?

Images from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter show dozens of small, curious features that might be volcanic eruptions in the past 50 to 100 million years. Countless astronomers, both amateur and professional, have spent untold hours scrutinizing the Moon through telescopes for hints of volcanic activity. Numerous claims of "transient lunar phenomena" (TLP) have been...

This image shows an artist concept of NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN)  spacecraft, which reached the Red Planet on September 21, 2014.Lockheed Martin

MAVEN Makes It to Mars

On September 21st, after a 33-minute-long rocket firing, NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft slipped into orbit around the Red Planet.

Crescent cradles the 'old moon'

Earthshine, the Moon’s Darker Side

With a subtle beauty all its own, the earthshine we see glowing in the lunar night invites us to consider Earth's many connections to the Moon This week's crescent Moon offers more than two horns to hang your hat on. Take a close look, and you'll see an entire circle of moonlight. Sunlight illuminates...

Artist's rendering of Mars 2020 rover.
NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA Gears Up for Mars 2020 Rover

Six years from now, there will be a new NASA robot heading to the Red Planet: the Mars 2020 rover. On July 31st mission planners unveiled the rover’s seven scientific instruments, which will pave the way for human exploration of Mars.

New Horizons visits Pluto in 2015

One Year Until New Horizons

New Horizons will reach Pluto a year from today, and the scientific community is abuzz with speculation about what the space probe might see when it gets there. Meanwhile, the New Horizons team scours the skies for a Kuiper Belt Object that New Horizons can visit after its Pluto flyby.