The research shows how changes in salinity may affect life in aquatic habitats on Earth and widens the possibilities for where life may be found throughout our solar system.Read more
The Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science (CCAPS) fosters cooperative research among astronomers, engineers, geologists and other researchers with specialties relevant to space sciences. Connected to and contained within the Department of Astronomy, CCAPS administers research grants and contracts across several Cornell Departments. CCAPS was founded in 1959 as the Center for Radiophysics and Space Research, by Cornell professor Thomas Gold (1920-2004), and renamed in 2015.
The Carl Sagan Institute
The interdisciplinary Carl Sagan Institute is actively searching for signs of life on other worlds, creating novel strategies – a “forensic toolkit” -- for discovering life from the solar system to the Galaxy. Researchers at CSI explore planets, moons and planetary systems, including how they form and evolve, and whether they can harbor life.
Cornell astronomers have been, and are, leading the direction of space exploration, including having chaired NASA’s Advisory Council and Space Science Advisory as well as panels for the Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey 2023-2032. Cornell astronomers currently have roles in almost three-quarters of all active NASA missions, including the Perseverance Mars2020 and Insight missions currently on Mars; the Juno mission exploring Jupiter; the forthcoming Europa Clipper mission to an ocean world, the James Webb Space Telescope that will search for exoplanets; and the Dragonfly mission to Titan.
Featured Mission: James Webb Space Telescope
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope — the largest and most powerful space science observatory ever built — is designed to give astronomers unprecedented insight into the mysteries of the cosmos. Webb is an international program led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency. It is scheduled to launch this fall. Cornell University scientists are playing key roles in the mission.
The bright, brief flashes – as short as a few minutes in duration, and as powerful as the original explosion 100 days later – appeared in the aftermath of a rare type of stellar cataclysm.Read more
Telescopes could better detect potential chemical signatures of life in the atmosphere of an Earth-like exoplanet more closely resembling the age the dinosaurs inhabited than the one we know today, Cornell astronomers find.Read more
Crevasses play an important role in circulating seawater beneath Antarctic ice shelves, potentially influencing their stability, finds Cornell-led research based on first-of-its-kind exploration by an underwater robot.Read more
The quartz crystals are only about 10 nanometers across (one-millionth of one centimeter), so small that 10,000 could fit side-by-side across a human hair.Read more
The new camera "is actually a very different way of observing the sky,” said A&S research scientist Amit Vishwas ’10, M.Eng.,’14, Ph.D. ’19.Read more
SPIF: Bringing Research and Educational Support to the Community
The Spacecraft Planetary Image Facility (SPIF) is an active research facility, providing assistance to students and planetary scientists worldwide in GIS and image processing. It is also a public facility open to visitors, and provides outreach services and PreK-12 educational support throughout the Central New York region, and beyond through virtual programs. SPIF supports the Cornell Department of Astronomy in undergraduate education, student research, NASA mission science operations, and community outreach. The facility is located on Cornell's main Ithaca campus in the Space Sciences Building. It has been in operation since 1980 and is currently sponsored by the Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science (CCAPS).