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Blog Archive

 

Voyager 40th anniversary: The transformation of the solar system

Ted Stryk • August 23, 2017

The Voyager missions transformed most of the large worlds of the solar system from points of light into places to be explored.

Congress gives NASA's planetary science division some love (and a Mars orbiter)

Jason Davis • July 19, 2017

The House of Representatives proposed $2.1 billion for NASA's planetary science budget, which would be an all-time high. Part of the increase would be used to start work on a new reconnaissance and communications orbiter.

NASA's audacious Europa missions are getting closer to reality

Jason Davis • February 21, 2017

Today, NASA announced progress on a spacecraft that would assess whether Jupiter's Moon Europa is habitable, and earlier this month, an agency-sponsored science team released a report on a separate lander mission that would directly search for signs of life.

New Findings are Conclusive: Europa is crying out for exploration

Casey Dreier • September 26, 2016

New scientific findings add to the evidence that Europa is spouting its liquid ocean into space. NASA has a mission to Europa in the works, but it wouldn't launch for at least a decade. Congress can make it faster, but it all depends on whether they can pass a budget this year.

Juno's instruments return riches from first perijove

Emily Lakdawalla • September 02, 2016

On August 27, Juno soared across Jupiter's cloud tops from pole to pole, with all instruments operating. NASA posted some terrific first results from several of the instruments today. And the JunoCam team released all 28 raw images taken during the close encounter.

Will Juno’s Instruments Observe the Moons of Jupiter?

Candice Hansen • August 30, 2016

It is not easy to observe Jupiter’s moons as more than points of light with Juno, because Juno will never get very close to any of the moons, but as its orbit shifts there will be opportunities to collect data on some of the moons.

Juno has arrived!

Emily Lakdawalla • July 05, 2016

For a second time, NASA has placed a spacecraft into orbit at Jupiter. The spacecraft operated exactly according to plan, and Juno successfully entered orbit today, July 5, 2016, UTC

A peek at the JunoCam approach movie

Emily Lakdawalla • July 04, 2016

We're now just about 12 hours away from Juno's Jupiter orbit insertion. As anticipation ramps up, NASA has released this sneak peek at JunoCam's approach movie, made of views of Jupiter and its largest moons shot during the final approach, up until about five days ago.

LPSC 2016: Icy Satellite Science

Jessica Noviello • April 05, 2016

This year’s Lunar and Planetary Science Conference devoted two oral presentation sessions to questions related to icy satellites in our solar system. Jessica Noviello reports back from the conference.

Three Things to Look for in NASA’s Coming Budget Request

Casey Dreier • February 04, 2016

The 2017 budget season is almost here. Next week, the White House will release its budget request for NASA. Here are three things I will immediately look for upon its release.

Europa Budget Bulge

Van Kane • January 25, 2016

Van Kane explains how the key development for NASA’s mission to Europa will be an agreement on how the agency plans to accommodate the monetary bulge that will come from funding the mission.

Capturing the Rhythm of Space: Insights from 47th DPS Meeting

Deepak Dhingra • January 07, 2016

The Division of Planetary Science (DPS) Meeting saw many exciting scientific discussions spanning the range of processes on different planetary bodies, as well as their replication in the laboratory and in models.

A Lander for NASA’s Europa Mission

Van Kane • January 05, 2016

While there’s at least eight years until it launches, this has been a pivotal year for developing NASA’s Europa mission.

New Concepts to Explore the Jovian System

Van Kane • October 28, 2015

Last year, NASA’s managers invited the European Space Agency to propose a small spacecraft to explore the Jovian system. Van Kane describes the recently-posted results of ESA's concept studies for two possible missions.

New Horizons is a Triumph for Space Advocates

Casey Dreier • July 07, 2015

New Horizons—what will be NASA’s greatest success of 2015—was cancelled multiple times in its early life, and many times before that in its previous incarnations. A mission to Pluto was not inevitable, despite the overwhelming scientific and public excitement.

NASA Goes First Class for Europa

Van Kane • June 10, 2015

Over the last several years, engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Applied Physics Laboratory have rethought the entire approach to exploring Europa. NASA now has a concept that's affordable.

Why We Don't Know When the Europa Mission Will Launch

Casey Dreier • May 27, 2015

NASA has been vague about when the new mission to Europa will launch. There's a reason for that, and it's not just orbital mechanics.

Here Are the Science Instruments NASA Will Use to Explore Europa

Casey Dreier • May 26, 2015

NASA just announced the science instruments that will be used to understand the enigmatic ocean moon of Europa. The mission is planned to launch sometime in the early 2020s.

NASA's Mission to Europa May Get More Interesting Still

Van Kane • April 11, 2015

NASA officials have asked their European counterparts if they would like to propose contributing a small probe to NASA's Europa mission planned for the mid-2020s.

Four Ideas to Bust the Floor on Outer Planet Mission Costs

Van Kane • March 26, 2015

The road to lower costs outer planet missions has been paved by NASA’s first two New Frontiers missions, the $700M New Horizons mission to Pluto and the $1.1B Juno mission to Jupiter. But can the cost of a mission to the outer solar system be cut to $450M, the limit for a Discovery mission?

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