Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Author: Laurel Kornfeld

Laurel Kornfeld is an amateur astronomer and freelance writer from Highland Park, NJ, who enjoys writing about astronomy and planetary science. She studied journalism at Douglass College, Rutgers University, and earned a Graduate Certificate of Science from Swinburne University’s Astronomy Online program. Her writings have been published online in The Atlantic, Astronomy magazine’s guest blog section, the UK Space Conference, the 2009 IAU General Assembly newspaper, The Space Reporter, and newsletters of various astronomy clubs. She is a member of the Cranford, NJ-based Amateur Astronomers, Inc. Especially interested in the outer solar system, Laurel gave a brief presentation at the 2008 Great Planet Debate held at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, MD.

Articles By Laurel Kornfeld

  • Cassini to conduct last, closest flyby of Titan

    April 21st, 2017

    As NASA's Cassini spacecraft moves toward its Grand Finale, it will conduct its final and closest flyby of Saturn's moon Titan on April 22, 2017. This last visit is a targeted flyby, meaning Cassini will use either its rocket engine or thrusters to alter its course.

  • Ocean worlds Enceladus and Europa could be habitable for microbial life

    April 14th, 2017

    New data obtained by NASA's Cassini mission and by the Hubble Space Telescope indicate Saturn's moon Enceladus and Jupiter's moon Europa, both referred to as ocean worlds because they harbor subsurface oceans, could be habitable for microbial life.

  • Brightness of galaxies measured using New Horizons’ data; probe enters hibernation

    April 13th, 2017

    A team of astrophysicists is using images captured by NASA's New Horizons probe during its nine-and-a-half-year journey to Pluto to measure the brightness of all the galaxies in the universe.

  • Solar activity controls Ceres’ tenuous atmosphere

    April 7th, 2017

    A new study by scientists working on NASA's Dawn mission indicates Ceres' atmosphere is controlled by solar activity rather than by its relative closeness to the Sun. In observations conducted since the 1990s, the dwarf planet's tenuous atmosphere has mysteriously appeared, disappeared, and reappeared at various times.

  • New Horizons reaches halfway mark between Pluto and second target

    April 6th, 2017

    NASA's New Horizons spacecraft reached the halfway point between Pluto and its second flyby target, KBO 2014 MU69, at midnight UTC on Monday, April 3 (8:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday, April 2) at a distance of 486.19 million miles (782.45 million kilometers) from Pluto and the same distance to MU69.

  • Juno heads for 5th flyby of Jupiter’s cloud tops

    March 26th, 2017

    Less than nine months after entering orbit around Jupiter, NASA's Juno spacecraft is set to conduct its fifth close flyby of the giant planet's cloud tops on Monday, March 27, 2017.

  • Rosetta images show changes on Comet 67P as it approached the Sun

    March 23rd, 2017

    Two separate studies of images captured by the European Space Agency's (ESA) Rosetta probe highlight increasing activity on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko as it approached perihelion, the point in its orbit closest to the Sun.

  • Nitrogen in Titan’s lakes may cause them to fizz

    March 18th, 2017

    The hydrocarbon lakes of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, may contain nitrogen that, at times, causes them to bubble and fizz, according to a NASA study that simulated conditions on Titan's surface.

  • Seven co-investigators join New Horizons team

    March 17th, 2017

    In anticipation of New Horizons' flyby of its second target – Kuiper Belt Object 2014 MU69 – on January 1, 2019, NASA and Principal Investigator Alan Stern have added seven new co-investigators to the mission team.

  • NASA scientists will discuss Venus exploration with Russian colleagues

    March 15th, 2017

    After releasing a joint report proposing a robotic mission to Venus, American and Russian scientists will meet this week to identifying shared scientific goals for the potential project.

  • Ceres’ bright spots significantly younger than crater they inhabit

    March 9th, 2017

    Researchers who studied images of Ceres' Occator Crater captured by the Dawn spacecraft's scientific imaging system have determined that its bright spots, composed largely of carbonate salts, are significantly younger than the crater in which they sit.

  • James Webb Space Telescope will search TRAPPIST-1 planets for signs of life

    March 3rd, 2017

    The seven Earth-sized planets discovered last month orbiting the star TRAPPIST-1 will be ideal targets for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), scheduled for launch next year, to probe in a search for signs of life.

  • Name themes for Pluto system features approved by IAU

    February 26th, 2017

    A set of naming themes for features on Pluto and its five moons, informally used by the New Horizons mission, has been approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), which has overseen the naming of celestial objects and their surface features since 1919.

  • Data on 2 distant asteroids tease possibility of massive planet

    February 25th, 2017

    Observations of two extreme trans-Neptunian objects (ETNOs) suggest they were once part of a binary asteroid system that was perturbed by one or more undiscovered "super-Earth" planets that may still be lurking even further in the outer Solar System.

  • Spitzer discovers star system with seven orbiting Earth-sized planets

    February 23rd, 2017

    A star system, approximately 40 light-years from Earth, with seven Earth-sized planets, including three in the habitable zone, has been discovered by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.