Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2014/11/04 10:02 CST
As winds whirled and converged to the west of Endeavour Crater, Opportunity's power dropped dramatically in October, but the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) pressed on. By month's end, the robot field geologist had completed her assignments – including capturing the first close-in shot of a comet from the surface of the Red Planet – and was roving onward through the darkness, driving the mission into the 130th month of what started out more than 10-and-a-half years ago to be a 3-month tour.
It's been two weeks since comet Siding Spring passed close by Mars, and six of the seven Mars spacecraft have now checked in with quick looks at their images of the encounter. I round up all the results.
The Chang'e 5 test vehicle service module did not follow the sample return capsule into Earth's atmosphere. Instead, it successfully performed a divert maneuver, and is now on its way to the Earth-Moon L2 point
Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo disintegrated shortly after the space plane's tail stabilizers prematurely deployed, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
The Chang'e 5 test vehicle landed successfully in Inner Mongolia today after an 8-day mission. It demonstrated technology that China plans to use for automated sample return by the Chang'e 5 mission in 2017.
The private spaceflight company's spaceplane was destroyed in an accident over California's Mojave Desert.
Posted by Dante Lauretta on 2014/10/31 11:52 CDT
On October 17-19, 2014, the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory on the University of Arizona campus hosted the second annual Art of Planetary Science exhibition. This exhibition featured works of art inspired by the solar system, alongside works by scientists created from their scientific data.
LightSail's random vibration test, meant to simulate the stress of an Atlas V rocket launch, shook loose new problems that the team will have to address.
On October 27, JAXA provided media with an opportunity to view the Hayabusa 2 spacecraft at the Tanegashima space center, where it's making final preparations for launch. Koumei Shibata was there, and took several photos. And artist Go Miyazaki has shared several terrific new renderings of the spacecraft in flight.
The Antares Accident: Whose Rocket Was It?
Hint: not NASA's.
Despite some in the media declaring it a NASA rocket disaster, Antares represents a new way of doing business. It's owned by a private company providing a service to NASA to resupply the space station. How is this different from other rockets NASA uses?
An Antares rocket fell back to the launch pad shortly after liftoff, exploding in a fireball that destroyed the vehicle.
The Planetary Society has a futuristic new project: the Planetary Deep Drill with Honeybee Robotics to develop a prototype of a drill that could allow drilling hundreds of meters to even kilometers through planetary ices.
The Chang'e 5 test vehicle's short mission is more than half over. It has rounded the far side of the Moon and is on its way back to Earth for a planned October 31 test of lunar sample return technology. It's not a science mission -- it's an engineering mission -- but it has managed to return an absolutely iconic photo of its distant home, seen across the very unfamiliar far side of the Moon.
Society Board Member John Logsdon describes how the decisions made by Richard Nixon in late 1969 and early 1970 effectively ended human exploration beyond Earth orbit for the indefinite future.
I have been horribly behind in posting images from Rosetta's exploration of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and that's a shame, because the spacecraft has lately been exploring the comet from a range of only 10 kilometers. From that range, the NavCam gets sub-meter resolution, and we're seeing a menagerie of odd surface features
What do “light” and “dark” mean for an object like Comet 67P/C-G? Here are some details on how Rosetta's NAVCAM images are taken and displayed to make a wide range of surface features possible.
A team of scientists at the University of Arizona plan to digitize 87,000 vintage images from the surface of the moon, of which less than two percent have ever been seen.