The planets in our solar system all orbit the Sun in one shared plane.

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Why Do the Planets All Orbit the Sun in the Same Plane?

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This artist's rendering shows the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft descending towards asteroid Bennu to collect a sample.

NASA Snags Its First Asteroid Sample

On a mission more than 200 million miles away from Earth, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft grabbed rocks from Bennu

The waxing gibbous Moon as we viewed it on December 3, 2011.

Smithsonian Voices

Is the Moon Fluffy?

Before spacecraft (and humans) set off to explore our nearest neighbor, these were some of the questions scientists were asking

Why does smaller size, like that of the anteater, benefit species in different environments, wondered one Smithsonian reader.

Why Are South American Animals Smaller Than Those on Other Continents?

You've got questions. We've got experts

Bennu is shaped like a three-dimensional diamond and seemingly smooth from far away. OSIRIS-REx is in the foreground of this artist’s replication. The spacecraft will gather a sample from Bennu next week.

Smithsonian Voices

What an Asteroid Could Tell Us About Ancient Earth

Knowing those rocks’ origins will help scientists learn more about the composition of objects in the solar system and asteroid belt

NASA's new $23 million Universal Waste Management System

NASA Just Sent a New $23 Million Space Toilet to the International Space Station

Astronauts will test out the expensive commode, which is better designed for “dual ops,” before its eventual use on deep space missions

The moon at night, as seen from Germany

Why Astronomers Want to Build a SETI Observatory on the Moon

Researchers say the location would offer a quiet spot from which to hear a signal from an intelligent civilization

The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope is name after NASA's first chief of astronomy.

How NASA’s New Telescope Will Help Astronomers Discover Free-Floating Worlds

The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will be able to detect small, distant planets without stars

A mid-1970s painting by illustrator Rick Guidice depicts an extraterrestrial colony designed by Princeton University physicist Gerard O'Neill.

How NASA Marketed Its Space Program With Fantastical Depictions of the Future

When it came to exploring the stars, Americans had to see it to believe in it

The International Space Station in 2018, as photographed by crew members from a Soyuz spacecraft

How Cold War Politics Shaped the International Space Station

A brief history detailing how the United States and Russia led the effort to create the technical marvel

An artist's rendering of the Parker Solar Probe and Solar Orbiter

How Three New Tools Will Revolutionize Our Understanding of the Sun

Two spacecrafts and a telescope are set to jumpstart a new age of solar astronomy

A robotic arm places a container with three panels of bacteria outside the International Space Station.

Scientists Discover Exposed Bacteria Can Survive in Space for Years

An experiment conducted outside the International Space Station leads to a controversial theory about how life might travel between planets

This month's picks include Caste, Veritas and The Organ Thieves.

Books of the Month

The Forged Gospel of Jesus’s Wife, Hidden Castes and Other New Books to Read

These five August releases may have been lost in the news cycle

Perseverance, which has six wheels and is about the same size as a small car, looks very much like the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity.

Smithsonian Voices

Why NASA Is Headed Back to Mars With the Rover Perseverance

Find out why the next mission to Mars is so exciting on the National Air and Space Museum's podcast AirSpace

An artist's rendering of the Perseverance rover on Mars

To Make Oxygen on Mars, NASA's Perseverance Rover Needs MOXIE

A new tool from the space agency may produce the gas, completing the next step for planning a round trip voyage

he Hope spacecraft of the United Arab Emirates' Emirates Mars Mission during testing.

Smithsonian Voices

Launching Hope to Mars

National Air and Space Museum director Ellen Stofan reflects on the significance of the United Arab Emirates upcoming mission to Mars

Quantum physicist Amruta Gadge became the first to create a Bose-Einstein Condensate—the exotic, elusive fifth state of matter—remotely.


Five Scientific Achievements That Happened During Coronavirus Lockdown

Quarantine did not stop these innovators from discovering new species, creating the elusive fifth state of matter remotely, and more

This month's selections include The Beauty and the Terror, Feasting Wild and Splash.

Books of the Month

The Dangers of Space, Military Rivals and Other New Books to Read

These five recent releases may have been lost in the news cycle

Commercial crew astronauts Bob Behnken (left) and Doug Hurley (right) stand in front of a SpaceX Dragon mock-up at the Johnson Space Center.

Smithsonian Voices

The Storied History Behind Saturday's Planned SpaceX Launch

Smithsonian curator Jennifer Levasseur examines NASA's relationship with spacecraft contractors

Artist’s impression of the triple system with the closest black hole.

Astronomers Discover the Closest Known Black Hole

The newfound 'invisible' object is only 1,000 light years from home

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