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All about China's new rocket and spaceport, which may see action this Saturday

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.

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Plans for China's farside Chang'e 4 lander science mission taking shape

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/06/22 12:09 CDT | 2 comments

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.

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Timeline of Juno Jupiter Orbit Insertion events

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.

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ExoMars sights Mars

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.

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Curiosity update, sols 1311-1369: Drilling at Lubango, Okoruso, and Oudam, and a turn to the south

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.

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What to expect from JunoCam at Jupiter

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/06/09 09:37 CDT | 15 comments

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.

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Dawn Journal: In the Details

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2016/06/08 06:33 CDT | 4 comments

Dawn is continuing to record the extraordinary sights on dwarf planet Ceres. The experienced explorer is now closer to the alien world than the International Space Station is to Earth.

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Take a look inside the station's new expandable module with astronaut Jeff Williams

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.

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What's up in the solar system, June 2016 edition: Juno approaches Jupiter

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/06/01 05:23 CDT | 5 comments

Your monthly roundup of the adventures of the 20+ robots exploring our solar system.

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ExoMars Domino Effect

Posted by Anatoly Zak on 2016/05/30 08:10 CDT | 5 comments

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.

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BEAM expanded and pressurized: Your news, commentary and tweet roundup

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.

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Space station module expansion called off after BEAM doesn't budge

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/05/26 10:58 CDT | 1 comments

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.

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OSIRIS-REx shipped to Florida for September launch

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/05/23 07:53 CDT | 1 comments

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.

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Akatsuki begins a productive science mission at Venus

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/05/19 06:02 CDT | 4 comments

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.

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Pretty Pictures of the Cosmos: The Eye of Sauron

Posted by Adam Block on 2016/05/18 12:46 CDT

Astrophotographer Adam Block shares his latest image, this time of a menacing spiral galaxy.

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ExoMars Rover Seeks Exit From Dire Straits

Posted by Anatoly Zak on 2016/05/17 06:16 CDT | 3 comments

The European Space Agency and Roskosmos have admitted the inevitable—the launch of the joint ExoMars-2018 project will have to be postponed for two years to 2020.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 4365 - May 5, 2016

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2016/05/13 10:43 CDT

Opportunity arrived at its current location on sol 4345 to begin investigation of an outcrop on the crest of a ridge near the west end of Marathon Valley.

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Dawn Journal: A New Angle on Ceres

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2016/05/04 01:31 CDT | 27 comments

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.

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What's up in the solar system, May 2016 edition: Good news in cruise for Juno and ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/05/03 11:17 CDT | 5 comments

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.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 4333 - April 1, 2016

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2016/04/26 07:32 CDT

Opportunity has climbed west and up Marathon Valley in one of the final campaigns before moving on and beginning the summer field activities to the south southward.

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