Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/06/23 06:33 CDT
Sometime between Saturday and Wednesday, China plans to launch a brand new rocket from a brand new launch site, and conduct a small-scale test of its next-generation crew capsule.
The future Chang'e 4 lunar farside landing mission is rapidly taking shape. Now the mission's team is coming to a consensus on the landing location, as well as on the mission's instrument package.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/06/16 02:55 CDT
Today NASA held a press briefing and released a press kit for the impending orbit insertion of the Juno spacecraft. The 35-minute orbit insertion burn is scheduled to begin July 5 at 03:18 UTC (July 4 20:18, PDT). Here's a timeline for events relating to orbit insertion.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/06/16 12:26 CDT
Today ESA released ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter's first photo of Mars, taken from a distance of 41 million kilometers. It's no more detail than you can get through a pair of a binoculars, just a little taste of what's to come.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/06/15 05:24 CDT
Curiosity is at a turning point in its mission to Mount Sharp, both literally and figuratively. Having drilled at three sample sites in 7 weeks, the rover took a left turn, changing its trajectory from a generally westward driving path to a southward one. It is now poised to cross the Bagnold dune field at Murray buttes.
Juno will go in to orbit at Jupiter on July 5 (July 4 in North and South American time zones), and it's carrying a camera that's going to take really awesome photos of Jupiter. But you're going to have to be patient. Emily Lakdawalla explains why.
Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/06/06 12:55 CDT
BEAM, the International Space Station's new expandable habitat module, is open for business. NASA astronaut Jeff Williams and cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka entered the module at 4:47 a.m. EDT (9:47 UTC) this morning.
Your monthly roundup of the adventures of the 20+ robots exploring our solar system.
A difficult but necessary decision by ESA and Roskosmos to postpone the launch of the ExoMars rover from 2018 to 2020 raises a question about the fate of other planetary exploration programs in the pipelines of both space agencies.
Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/05/28 11:18 CDT
BEAM is expanded and pressurized! The International Space Station's newest module, which will serve as a technology demonstrator for in-space expandable habitats, was fully filled with air this afternoon.
NASA and Bigelow Aerospace weren't able to get the space station's newest module up and running this morning. Another attempt could come as early as Friday.
OSIRIS-REx's long journey to an asteroid has begun. The spacecraft departed Colorado on Friday, May 20, travelling aboard an Air Force C-17 to the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at Kennedy Space Center.
Japan's Akatsuki Venus orbiter is well into its science mission, and has already produced surprising science results. The mission, originally planned to last two years, could last as many as five, monitoring Venus' atmosphere over the long term.
Since April 11, instead of photographing the scenery directly beneath it, Dawn has been aiming its camera to the left and forward as it orbits and Ceres rotates to map more of the dwarf planet.
May 2016 will be yet another month of fairly routine operations across the solar system -- if you can ever use the word "routine" to describe autonomous robots exploring other planets. ExoMars' cruise to Mars has started smoothly, and Juno is only two months away from Jupiter orbit insertion. Earthlings will witness a Mercury transit of the Sun on May 9.