The United Launch Alliance successfully launches NASA's ICESat-2 satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The satellite will provide more precise information on Earth's polar ice caps. It is the final mission for the Delta II rocket.
The US space agency launches a laser into orbit to assess the impact of climate change on the poles.
- BBC (Image)
- Wolf 503b, a super-Earth exoplanet twice the size of Earth, is discovered orbiting Wolf 503 ru 503 145 light years away by American, German, and Canadian researchers via the NASA Kepler Space Telescope.
- NASA discovers its first exoplanet via the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite space telescope. Pi Mensae c, a small Earth-like exoplanet, is located nearly 60 light-years away from Earth.
- NASA astronomers use the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes in research implying that "hot Saturn" (high surface-atmosphere temperatures and gas giant-mass) exoplanet WASP-39b, located 700 light-years from Earth, has a large amount of water molecules in its atmosphere.
- As predicted by NASA, the Apollo-group-type asteroid 2012 TC4 (approximately 15 m in diameter) passes a distance of 0.0003352 AU mi from Earth, well within the Moon's orbit.
- NASA and the European Southern Observatory announce the discovery of four new Earth-like planets in the Goldilocks zone of the star TRAPPIST-1, in addition to the three discovered there last year.