Posted by Dante Lauretta on 2014/06/12 06:18 CDT
This week the OSIRIS-REx team gathered at the Lockheed Martin facility in Denver to perform a “Design Reference Mission (DRM)” walkthrough. The DRM is basically the battle plan for OSIRIS-REx for accomplishing our goal of returning pristine samples from asteroid Bennu.
India's Mars Orbiter Mission has accomplished its second trajectory correction manuever, a small rocket burn lasting only 16 seconds. Meanwhile, NASA's MAVEN is testing out its instruments, with one obtaining "first light" on Mars.
The LightSail team continues to investigate problems with the spacecraft’s boom deployment system that postponed a flight system test earlier this month.
Rosetta is now in the final phase of its approach to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko after a decade-long journey. The two largest burns have now succeeded, and Rosetta reported this morning via Twitter that the second burn was close to perfect.
NASA’s Mars Exploration Analysis Group (MEPAG) recently reviewed plans by Europe, the Japanese, and NASA for future Mars exploration. The prognosis is for another exciting decade of Mars exploration.
The last six weeks have been especially busy due to an unusually high number of conferences and festivals, so I thought I'd summarize what's been going on and how The Planetary Society has been involved.
Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/06/06 05:16 CDT
The ISEE-3 Reboot Project has established two-way communication with a 36-year-old spacecraft, but more challenges lie ahead.
How scientists are working with CRISM, an aging but still exceptional spectrometer on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, to find the rocks where Opportunity's work will tell the story of ancient water on Mars.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2014/06/05 10:11 CDT
At the western rim of Endeavour Crater, Opportunity spent the month of May exploring a new clayground along Murray Ridge and the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) mission trundled into the 125th month of what was originally to be a short, 3-month tour.
Posted by Dante Lauretta on 2014/06/05 09:54 CDT
The construction of OSIRIS-REx has begun! Seeing the core structure being assembled demonstrated that OSIRIS-REx is no longer just a set of drawings and PowerPoint charts, it is starting to become a real spacecraft.
[Updated] The Senate Proposes $17.9B for NASA, Matching the House's Increase
Senate committee "deeply disappointed" with the President's budget cut for NASA
The Senate released early details about its budget for NASA in 2015. The top-line level, $17.9 billion, is an increase over the President's proposal and matches the level passed by the full House last week.
There's an old saying about Washington, D.C.: it’s a small town, based on relationships. We are establishing very good relationships with members of the U.S. Congress and the Administration. Three of us made the rounds recently, going from one Congressional Member’s office to another to support planetary exploration and a mission to Europa. Our team included Casey Dreier, our Director of Advocacy; Bill Adkins, our lobbyist in Washington; and me.
During the floor debate for the House's budget for NASA and other agencies, three members of Congress submitted amendments to shift money from NASA to other programs. We noticed.
Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/06/02 12:19 CDT
Today, I'm joining The Planetary Society full-time as a media producer. My first task is to become an embedded reporter for LightSail, the Society's solar sailing spacecraft.
The last couple of weeks have seen Curiosity return to the business of making steady headway toward Murray Buttes and, beyond them, Mount Sharp. Eight of the last 14 sols have seen drives ranging in length from 30 to 104 meters, racking up a total of more than half a kilometer. They are now occasionally working a shortened planning timeline that allows them to squeeze more drive sols into Curiosity's schedule.