space exploration

Mike Massimino is one of the last people to ever see the Hubble Space Telescope in person.

From inside his orbiting space shuttle, the telescope first appeared on the horizon as a star, says Massimino, who was an astronaut on the final mission to service the space telescope in 2009.

Space travel is never routine or easy and the Apollo 13 mission to the moon proved that point. An explosion aboard the spacecraft 55 hours after liftoff forever changed NASA. The surviving astronauts and flight team recently met to remember and talk about NASA's most famous "successful failure."

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

A Russian rocket has carried a Russian cosmonaut and an American astronaut to the International Space Station, where they will live for a full year, twice as long as people usually stay.

No American has remained in space longer than 215 days. Only a few people have ever gone on space trips lasting a year or more — the longest was 437 days — and they're all Russian cosmonauts. The last year-plus stay in space occurred nearly two decades ago.

Updated at 9:45 a.m. ET.

This morning, a plucky NASA spacecraft has entered the orbit of one of the oddest little worlds in our solar system.

Ceres is round like a planet, but really small. Its total surface would cover just a third of the United States.

SDSS J0100+2802 is the rather understated name scientists have given to an exceptionally luminous, newly discovered quasar. It's 12.8 billion light years away and shines as brightly as 420 million suns. At its center, there's a super-sized black hole — as massive as 12 billion suns — that formed some 900 million years after the Big Bang.

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