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Blog Archive

 

What’s next for China in lunar exploration?

Andrew Jones • January 23, 2019

China has big plans for the future, including lunar sample return, a robotic research base, and potentially human missions.

Israeli Beresheet Moon lander ships to Florida for mid-February launch

Jason Davis • January 22, 2019

Launch is currently set for 19 February, and Beresheet will spend two months traveling to the Moon ahead of touchdown in April.

Miseries mount as shutdown drags on

Casey Dreier • January 18, 2019

The partial government shutdown that shuttered NASA continues with no end in sight. The U.S. space program sits idle, the vast majority of its workforce sent home. Space science and exploration projects are disrupted. Paychecks are absent. And an unsettling realization has dawned on hundreds of thousands of public employees and contractors affected by the shutdown: this time is different.

Planetary Deep Drill completes second field test

Jason Davis • January 18, 2019

The work builds on a Planetary Society-sponsored test and paves the way for an ambitious expedition in Greenland this year.

Slava Linkin, 1937-2019

Louis D. Friedman • January 17, 2019

Slava Linkin, one of the leading planetary scientists in the Soviet Union and later Russia, passed away on 16 January 2019. Viachelslav Mikhailovich Linkin was an enormously important participant in Planetary Society history.

Your Guide to the Total Lunar Eclipse on 20 January

Bruce Betts • January 17, 2019

The eclipse will be visible throughout most of North America, South America, the eastern Pacific Ocean, the western Atlantic Ocean, Europe, and western Africa.

Hayabusa2 team sets date for sample collection, considers two touchdown sites

Jason Davis • January 16, 2019

Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft will try to collect a sample from asteroid Ryugu during the week of 18 February, mission officials said during a press briefing last week.

A few new images of MU69

Emily Lakdawalla • January 15, 2019

New Horizons is back in action after going quiet for a period of solar conjunction following the 1 January flyby of 2014 MU69 (informally nicknamed "Ultima Thule"). The spacecraft is returning new data, as exemplified by these images.

Chang'e-4 update: Both vehicles healthy, new imagery from the Moon’s far side

Jason Davis • January 11, 2019

Everything is going well 9 days after China's Chang'e-4 mission made a historic landing on the far side of the Moon, the country's space program said today.

Chang'e 4: Why the Moon's far side looks red in new images

David Rothery • January 09, 2019

In Apollo images — and to our own eyes, from Earth — the Moon is grey. What's going on?

InSight Update, sols 25-42: Seismometer sensors working!

Emily Lakdawalla • January 09, 2019

Engineers have leveled the seismometer and made progress on adjusting the position of the tether so that it doesn't interfere for the experiment. Most significantly for the mission, they have balanced the Very Broad Band sensors -- 3 of SEIS’ 6 seismic sensors -- and confirmed that they are generating good data.

The Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Still Silent, Team Still Hopeful

A.J.S. Rayl • January 06, 2019

It’s now been more than six and a half months that the longest-lived robot on another planet has been incommunicado.

Chang'e-4 deploys rover on far side of the Moon

Jason Davis • January 03, 2019

The rover is named Yutu-2, China's space agency announced.

China successfully lands Chang'e-4 on far side of Moon

Jason Davis • January 02, 2019

It’s a space feat no nation has accomplished until now.

MU69 appears as a bi-lobed baby comet in latest New Horizons images

Emily Lakdawalla • January 02, 2019

The latest images downlinked from New Horizons show MU69 to be a textbook example of a contact binary. How do contact binaries form? Updated with images released on 3 January.

Happy New Year! The New Horizons flyby was successful!

Emily Lakdawalla • January 01, 2019

New Horizons has "phoned home" as expected, 4 hours after its closest approach to 2014 MU69. Its brief transmission contained no science data, but gave the scientists welcome news: New Horizons has successfully pulled off the most distant flyby ever.

News brief: OSIRIS-REx arrives in orbit at Bennu

Emily Lakdawalla • December 31, 2018

Today at 19:43 UTC, OSIRIS-REx entered orbit at asteroid Bennu. In so doing, it accomplished both the tightest orbit (at an altitude under 2 kilometers) and the orbit of the smallest object ever. UPDATE: Early science results from OSIRIS-REx discussed at New Horizons MU69 flyby event.

New Horizons fast approaching 2014 MU69

Emily Lakdawalla • December 27, 2018

Unaffected by the shutdown of the U.S. government, New Horizons is still on course for its New Year’s encounter with 2014 MU69 (nicknamed “Ultima Thule”). This post collects the latest images from New Horizons' approach to the tiny Kuiper belt object and will be updated regularly.

A new look at Europa, with old data

Ted Stryk • December 26, 2018

Ted Stryk shows us a new color, near-global view of Europa made from Galileo spacecraft data captured in 1996.

Happy Holidays. NASA is Shut Down.

Casey Dreier • December 22, 2018

A partial government shutdown has shuttered NASA's operations for at least a week. Critical programs like the International Space Station will continue. This is the third shutdown of 2018 and another pointless disruption for the hardworking men and women at the U.S. space agency.

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