Van Kane rounds up some of the latest NASA Discovery mission proposals aiming to explore our solar system's smallest bodies.
While Pluto deservedly stole the headlines last week, Chris Russell’s Dawn update at the Exploration Science Forum at NASA Ames reminded us that the other dwarf planets are also sharing their secrets with eager scientists.
Posted by Annie Wargetz on 2015/07/17 03:12 CDT
While the OLA, OCAMS, and REXIS instruments on the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft continue working towards their deliveries, other hardware onsite at Lockheed is undergoing testing prior to installation. The hardware is put through tests here on Earth prior to launching into space.
Fantastic new images of Ceres continue to spill out of the Dawn mission, and armchair scientists all over the world are zooming into them, exploring them, and trying to solve the puzzles that they contain.
The nature of the origin of life is a topic that has engaged people since ancient times. The samples to be collected by OSIRIS-REx, returned to the Earth in 2023 and archived for decades beyond that, may indeed hide the secrets to the origin of life.
Posted by Dante Lauretta on 2015/04/21 04:55 CDT
The OSIRIS-REx team has been busy assembling and testing the Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) and the Sample Return Capsule (SRC).
New Horizons took its first color photo of Pluto and Charon, while Dawn obtained a 20-frame animation looking down on the north pole of a crescent Ceres.
PROCYON (PRoximate Object Close flYby with Optical Navigation) is a microsatellite that launched on December 3 as a secondary payload with Hayabusa2. The mission has now selected their asteroid flyby target -- a binary asteroid named 2000 DP107 -- but is reporting a problem with their ion engines.
From Italy, Bruce Betts gives background and information at the start of the Planetary Defense Conference, which addresses the asteroid threat. Bruce summarizes steps to prevent asteroid impact.
Posted by Dante Lauretta on 2015/04/02 12:49 CDT
The OSIRIS-REx mission passed another major milestone. We now have approval to build the spacecraft.
Posted by Bruce Betts on 2015/03/31 11:04 CDT
Thanks to a new focal reducer and re-aluminized mirror from a Shoemaker NEO grant, a 0.81-meter telescope in Italy is performing astrometric follow-up observations and physical studies of asteroids.