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Rosetta spacecraft has stopped listening for Philae lander

Rosetta spacecraft has stopped listening for Philae lander. illustration of Rosetta and Philae approaching comet 67/P ~~ ATG medialab/ESA

Comet Siding Spring makes close pass by Mars

Spacecraft orbiting Mars hunkered down behind the planet to safely observe comet Siding Spring's close approach, as shown in this illustration. (Spacecraft are not to scale.)

Cassini spacecraft preps for one last flyby of Enceladus

December 19 marks the last time the Cassini spacecraft flies in for a close look at the Saturnian moon Enceladus.

Astronomical milestones of 2015

The New Horizons mission to Pluto was the No. 1 science story of the year. Here some other notable space missions.

Two chunks of the same comet buzzing Earth this week

JUST VISITING Comets 252P/LINEAR and P/2016 BA14, possibly pieces of the same comet, will buzz Earth today and tomorrow. ~~ JPL-Caltech/NASA

Second stop planned for mission to Pluto

A promising second target (circled) for New Horizons streaks between two distant stars (bright spots) in this series of images from the Hubble Space Telescope.

Stellar vomiting produces dark galaxies, simulations suggest

PUFF BALLS Supernovas can stretch out compact galaxies and turn them into ghostly systems (two illustrated here) that are low on stars but as wide as the Milky Way. ~~ A. Di Cintio, C. Brook, NIHAO simulations and Hubble Space Telescope

Japanese spacecraft reaches Venus — five years late

The Japanese Space Agency’s Akatsuki spacecraft succeeded at a second attempt at orbiting Venus, five years after an engine failure prevented its intended mission.

Cassini preps to shower in Enceladus’ ocean

The Cassini spacecraft is gearing up for one last plunge through the water geysers on Enceladus, an icy moon of Saturn.