Japan Space Agency JAXA Confirms the Contents of Asteroid Mission “Treasure Box”

In 2018 and 2019, Japanese space agency JAXA’s space probe Hayabusa2 spent 16 months following the asteroid Ryugu—and touching down on its surface twice. Hayabusa2 landed in Australia this month and JAXA confirms that its “tamatebako” (or “treasure box”) contained not only dark debris and small rocks but also a gas sample—the first-ever gases captured from deep space. Read more about JAXA’s milestone findings at …

JUICE Craft to Search for Life on Jupiter’s Galilean Moons

The European Space Agency plans to send the JUICE (short for Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer) spacecraft on an expedition to three of Jupiter’s 79 moons for various reasons—one being the potential for life. As the vessel’s name suggests, it will be surveying the icy Galilean moons—from deep ice wells on Ganymede, to an ocean on Callisto and abnormalities within the “most promising place to look for …

Our Cosmos is a Spacecraft Graveyard

While it’s common to think of the universe as dark, mysterious and infinite, it’s less often that we consider all the human-made space junk floating around nearby. The cosmos is a graveyard of spacecraft—each with its own story. These defunct vessels “glide silently in Earth’s vicinity” with “their mission to chronicle the wonders of the universe long ended.” The Kepler, for instance, trails our planet since running …