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NASA's Juno spacecraft has spotted giant cyclones swirling at Jupiter's north and south poles.

That's just one of the unexpected and puzzling findings being reported by the Juno science team.

The morning that the space shuttle Columbia was supposed to return home, Wayne Hale was at the landing site. At age 48, Hale was an up-and-coming manager with NASA. He'd just taken a job overseeing shuttle launches. But since this was a landing day, he didn't have much to do.

Clare Roth

Every year, NASA poses a challenge to schools around the country come up with a prototype that the organization can use in its journey to Mars.

Among the eight winners this year was a team of students at the Ohio State College of Engineering.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft is giving earthlings their closest-ever views of Saturn's swirled atmosphere and its massive hurricane, beaming a trove of images and data back to Earth after the craft made its first dive between Saturn and its rings Wednesday.

Cassini is "showing us new wonders and demonstrating where our curiosity can take us if we dare," said Jim Green, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division.

Nearly 15 years after her first space launch, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson has now spent more time off-planet than any other American, at more than 534 days. Whitson, 57, is a biochemist who has twice commanded the International Space Station.

Could there be life under the icy surface of Saturn's moon Enceladus?

Scientists have found a promising sign.

NASA announced on Thursday that its Cassini spacecraft mission to Saturn has gathered new evidence that there's a chemical reaction taking place under the moon's icy surface that could provide conditions for life. They described their findings in the journal Science.

Exoplanet Discovery and Other Space Mysteries

Mar 17, 2017
An illistration of the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system, which contains seven Earth-like planets.
R. Hurt, T. Pyle / NASA/JPL-Caltech

Today at 11am. 

NASA recently discovered seven Earth-like exoplanets orbiting a star 40 light years away from Earth. Any one of the planets could possibly harbor life, but the three outermost planets lying in the star's "habitable zone" have the most likely chance. Whether they do or don't, this discovery will give scientists insight about the conditions under which life is able to evolve. We'll talk about this discovery and other space news this hour with a panel of guests.

Exoplanet Discovery and Other Space Mysteries

Mar 2, 2017
An illistration of the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system, which contains seven Earth-like planets.
R. Hurt, T. Pyle / NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA recently discovered seven Earth-like exoplanets orbiting a star 40 light years away from Earth. Any one of the planets could possibly harbor life, but the three outermost planets lying in the star's "habitable zone" have the most likely chance. Whether they do or don't, this discovery will give scientists insight about the conditions under which life is able to evolve. We'll talk about this discovery and other space news this hour with a panel of guests.

Guests:

A small, faint star relatively close by is home to seven Earth-size planets with conditions that could be right for liquid water and maybe even life.

The discovery sets a record for both the most Earth-size planets and the most potentially habitable planets ever discovered around a single star.

On Wednesday morning, NASA rewarded five members of the public — two doctors, a dentist, an engineer and a product designer — for their creative ideas for how to poop in a spacesuit.

Yes, it sounds a little bit funny. But unmet toilet needs could have life or death consequences for an astronaut in an emergency situation.

That's why thousands of people spent tens of thousands of hours on the "Space Poop Challenge," brainstorming, modeling, prototyping and number-crunching to come up with a crowd-sourced solution to the problem of human waste in a spacesuit.

Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 1 fire that killed three astronauts during a routine test on the launchpad. The accident shocked NASA as the agency was rushing to meet President Kennedy's 1961 challenge to have men on the moon by the end of the decade.

The test was a dress rehearsal for the Apollo 1 crew — Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee. The ultimate goal was to check out the command module, NASA's first three-man spacecraft that would take astronauts to the moon.

The last person to leave footprints on the moon has died. NASA reported that Gene Cernan died Monday at the age of 82, surrounded by his family.

Gene Cernan flew in space three times, including twice to the moon. Cernan was big, brash and gregarious. And if he hadn't been lucky, he could have missed his chance to walk on the moon.

Unexplained, short radio bursts from outer space have puzzled scientists since they were first detected nearly a decade ago.

The elusive flashes — known as fast radio bursts, or FRBs — are extremely powerful and last only a few milliseconds. The way their frequencies are dispersed suggests they traveled from far outside our galaxy. About 18 have been detected to date. They've been called the "most perplexing mystery in astronomy."

The 24 juniors and seniors in the astronomy class at Thomas Jefferson High School in Alexandria, Va., sink into plush red theater seats. They're in a big half-circle around what looks like a giant telescope with a globe on the end. Their teacher, Lee Ann Hennig, stands at a wooden control panel that has enough buttons and dials to launch a rocket.

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