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MAVEN dodges Phobos, with (maybe) a little help from Curiosity

Emily Lakdawalla • March 06, 2017

This week MAVEN had to execute a short rocket burn in order to prevent a future collision with Phobos. Curiosity (and other rovers) may have played a role in those trajectory predictions.

Spaceflight in 2017, part 2: Robots beyond Earth orbit

Emily Lakdawalla • December 30, 2016

What's ahead for our intrepid space explorers in 2017? It'll be the end of Cassini, but not before the mission performs great science close to the rings. OSIRIS-REx will fly by Earth, and Chang'e 5 will launch to the Moon, as a host of other spacecraft continue their ongoing missions.

MAVEN Status and Extended-Mission Planning

Bruce Jakosky • July 27, 2016

The MAVEN mission to Mars was just approved for a two-year extended mission that runs through September 2018. Now is a good time to take stock of we've learned so far and to describe the plans for the extended mission.

What's up in solar system exploration: March 2016 edition

Emily Lakdawalla • February 29, 2016

Welcome to my monthly inventory of the 20-plus spacecraft actively exploring our solar system. Highlights of this month include the impending launch of the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli lander, currently planned for March 14, and the resumption of regular VMC Mars images by Mars Express.

What's up in solar system exploration: February 2016 edition

Emily Lakdawalla • January 29, 2016

What's going on with our robotic planetary missions? In February I count more than 20 planetary spacecraft exploring six targets beyond Earth or cruising to new destinations.

What's up in solar system exploration: August 2015 edition

Emily Lakdawalla • August 10, 2015

I'm back from two weeks' vacation, so it's time to catch up on the status of all our intrepid planetary missions, from Akatsuki to the Voyagers and hitting the Moon, Mars, asteroids, comets, and Saturn in between.

Seven Mars spacecraft attempted observations of comet Siding Spring. How did they go?

Emily Lakdawalla • November 03, 2014

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.

Status update: All Mars missions fine after Siding Spring flyby

Emily Lakdawalla • October 20, 2014

All seven Mars spacecraft are doing perfectly fine after comet Siding Spring's close encounter with Mars.

Preparing for A-MAVEN Science!

Karl Battams • October 03, 2014

How can we use MAVEN to learn about Comet Siding Spring, passing very close by Mars this month?

MAVEN returns first images of Mars' atmosphere

Emily Lakdawalla • September 24, 2014

On Sepember 22 at 02:24 UTC, Earth received word that MAVEN had ended its orbit insertion burn on time, completing its journey to Mars. Today MAVEN has released some of its very first data, taken by the Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph just eight hours after arrival.

MAVEN orbit insertion timeline

Emily Lakdawalla • September 21, 2014

Today's the day that MAVEN enters orbit at Mars, bringing the number of Mars orbiters up to four. So far everything looks good. The orbit insertion burn should begin tonight at 18:50 PDT / 01:50 UTC. I'll be on stage with Mat Kaplan and Rich Zurek at Planetary Radio Live, keeping up to date with the latest news from the spacecraft; here is a timeline in PDT, UTC, CEST, and IST to help you follow along.

So Close and Yet So Far: Why isn't Siding Spring going to sandblast Mars?

Tony Farnham • September 09, 2014

Comet Siding Spring is going to make a very close approach to Mars in October. Any comet dust that reaches Mars has the potential to inflict significant damage on the spacecraft orbiting the planet. As it turns out, however, Mars and its orbiters are likely to see very few, if any, impacts. Why?

Mars Orbiter Mission to test-fire main engine before orbit insertion

Emily Lakdawalla • September 04, 2014

According to a report in the Times of India, ISRO is deciding today whether to test-fire Mars Orbiter Mission's main engine to make sure it will work for their all-important orbit insertion maneuver on September 24. Both ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission and NASA's MAVEN are in good health and on track for their arrivals in three weeks.

Mars orbiters plan for their October encounter with comet Siding Spring

Emily Lakdawalla • August 13, 2014

Now that we have reasonable confidence that our Mars orbiters will be safe from the close passage of comet Siding Spring, we are free to be excited about the opportunity that the encounter represents. At a community workshop on August 11, representatives from Mars missions shared their plans for great comet science.

A Checkup on Future Mars Missions

Van Kane • June 09, 2014

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.

All's well in cruise phase for Mars-bound spacecraft MAVEN and Mars Orbiter Mission

Emily Lakdawalla • February 11, 2014

A hundred days after launch, India's Mars Orbiter Mission is doing just fine, and so is NASA's MAVEN.

What's up in planetary missions in 2014

Emily Lakdawalla • December 31, 2013

With the New Year upon us, what can we look forward to in 2014? For me, the main event of 2014 is that ESA's Rosetta mission finally -- finally! -- catches up to the comet it has been chasing for a decade. We will lose LADEE, gain two Mars orbiters, and launch Hayabusa2. The year begins with an amazing 24 spacecraft exploring or cruising toward various planetary destinations.

Why are MAVEN and Mars Orbiter Mission taking such different paths to Mars?

Emily Lakdawalla • November 22, 2013

Two spacecraft launched for Mars this month: Mars Orbiter Mission on November 5, and MAVEN on November 18. MAVEN is now on an interplanetary trajectory, while Mars Orbiter Mission is still in Earth orbit and will not depart for Mars until the end of the month. A lot of people are asking me: why the difference? Here's your answer, with input from Dave Doody.

MAVEN NASA Social: Day 2

Tanya Harrison • November 18, 2013

Bright and early this morning, we NASA Social folks met at the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex for a tour of the space shuttle Atlantis. This is the first shuttle I've seen in person, and it was a stunning sight to see.

MAVEN is on the way to Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • November 18, 2013

A perfect launch on an Atlas V rocket has sent MAVEN on her way to Mars today at 10:28 PT (18:38 UT). Today's on-time launch puts the mission on course for a September 22, 2014 arrival at Mars.

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