Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/10/06 06:16 CDT
A couple of weeks ago, there was a flurry of rumor that ISRO was ready to announce some results from its Mars Orbiter Mission's methane sensor. The Indian space agency held a press event for the one-year-in-orbit anniversary of Mars Orbiter Mission and released a book containing mission photos, but did not unveil any new scientific results.
JAXA announced today the results of the naming contest for Hayabusa2. The target of the sample-return mission, formerly known as 1999 JU3 and still numbered 162173, is now named 162173 Ryugu.
Opportunity continued her walkabout around Marathon Valley in September and sent home more evidence of significant water alteration and, perhaps, an ancient environment inviting enough for the emergence of life.
NASA announced the first-round selections for its next Discovery mission today. A total of five planetary mission concepts -- three targeted at asteroids, two at Venus -- will move to the next stage of the competition.
Since I last checked in with Curiosity, the rover has been steadily driving southward, heading directly toward the Bagnold dune field. They are looking for a place to drill into the Stimson sandstone unit, but have been distracted by intriguing pale haloes around frock fractures. Despite a rough road, the wheels are not showing significant increase in damage.
Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/09/16 03:03 CDT
NASA's Orion spacecraft has officially moved from preliminary design to fabrication, but the agency says the first crewed flight of the vehicle could slip two years, from 2021 to 2023.
This summer the Chinese space agency has been making progress toward its planned 2017 launch of the Chang'e 5 robotic sample return mission, performing low-altitude imaging of the future landing site.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2015/09/03 08:04 CDT
Opportunity drove farther into Marathon Valley in August, dug into what appears to be a water-altered rock, and took a lot of picture postcards in what is turning out to be a distinctively different site from any that the mission has found since the robot field geologist landed in 2004.
The New Horizons mission has formally selected its next target after Pluto: a tiny, dim, frozen world currently named 2014 MU69. The spacecraft will perform a series of four rocket firings in October and November to angle its trajectory to pass close by 2014 MU69 in early January 2019. In so doing, New Horizons will become the first flyby craft to pass by a target that was not discovered before the spacecraft launched.
The assembly of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft continues, with many elements integrated onto the spacecraft ahead of schedule. Last month both OTES and OVIRS were delivered to Lockheed Martin and installed on the science deck.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/08/14 07:14 CDT
Since my last update, Curiosity has driven back and forth repeatedly across a section of rocks below Marias pass. The rover finally drilled at a spot named Buckskin on sol 1060, marking the drill's return to operations after suffering a short on sol 911. Now the rover is driving up into Marias Pass and onto the Washboard or Stimson unit.
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.
Nearly seven Earth years after Opportunity set its sites on Endeavour Crater, the rover cruised into Marathon Valley, the once-but-a-dream destination.
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