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Blog Archive


Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Closes in on 11th Anniversary and We Look Back on 2014
Sols 3859 - 3888

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2015/01/07 06:14 CST | 3 comments

With a wonder year of discoveries, historic feats, and bummers in the rear view mirror – and plenty of mettle to continue exploring – Opportunity ended 2014 quietly working in a temporary back-up mode, as her colleagues on Earth ramped up for the mission's marathon adventure to come in 2015.

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Short updates on Akatsuki and Chang'e missions

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/01/06 02:50 CST | 1 comments

A few recent newspaper articles provide some updates on the status of Japan's Venus mission, Akatsuki, and the service module of China's Chang'e 5 test vehicle, Xiaofei. In brief: Akatsuki still plans to attempt to enter orbit in December of this year, while Chang'e 5 T1 is headed to lunar orbit. Meanwhile, the Chang'e 3 mission has released an interesting image of M101, the Pinwheel Galaxy.

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SpaceX Set to Retry Cargo Run, Rocket Stage Landing (Updated)

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/01/05 05:14 CST | 3 comments

SpaceX will attempt to launch a Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station and land a used Falcon 9 rocket stage on an uncrewed spaceport in the Atlantic Ocean.

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Planetary exploration in 2015: The Year of the Dwarf Planet

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/12/31 10:49 CST | 8 comments

Looking ahead to what we can expect from Earth's exploration of the rest of the solar system in 2015, there's an obvious theme: Dwarf planets.

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Field Report from Mars: Sol 3875 – December 18, 2014

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2014/12/30 03:40 CST | 2 comments

Opportunity is continuing its drives along the rim of Endeavour toward Marathon Valley. Larry Crumpler tells us what to expect as the rover continues its journey.

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Dawn Journal: History of Ceres

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2014/12/29 01:25 CST | 14 comments

As Dawn looks toward the new world of Ceres, Mission Director Marc Rayman looks back on Ceres' discovery.

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Video: Ride along with Orion as It Plummets Back to Earth

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/19 05:53 CST

A new NASA video provides an astronaut's-eye video of the final ten minutes of Orion's test flight.

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A new Chang'e 3 and Yutu image archive

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/12/19 02:25 CST

A treasure trove of newly released images from the Chang'e 3 program includes a photo sequence of a waxing Earth and lots of high-resolution views of rover and lander on the Moon.

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NASA Delays Asteroid Redirect Mission Concept Selection until 2015

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/17 05:35 CST | 1 comments

NASA's efforts to capture a near-Earth asteroid and tow it back to lunar orbit will have to wait a little bit longer for a final mission concept.

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SpaceX to Attempt First-Ever Ocean Barge Rocket Landing

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/17 12:20 CST | 1 comments

Early next year, SpaceX will attempt what no agency or company has done before: land a used rocket stage on a floating ocean platform.

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LightSail Completes Testing, Announcement Expected in January

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/12 10:19 CST | 1 comments

The Planetary Society's LightSail spacecraft successfully completed testing to prepare it for a possible 2015 test flight.

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Brief Venus Express update: Not quite dead yet

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/12/11 07:06 CST | 1 comments

Venus Express is still alive and talking to Earth, but may fall into Venus' atmosphere in January.

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InSight assembly begins

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/12/11 10:31 CST | 1 comments

NASA's next Mars lander is becoming real, now under construction at Lockheed Martin.

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China plans a Mars rover and orbiter for 2020 launch opportunity

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/12/09 10:44 CST | 3 comments

China is moving forward with plans to launch an orbiter and rover to Mars in the 2020 launch opportunity. The Mars program also includes plans for sample return in 2030.

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First Look Photographs of Orion's Return to Dry Land

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/09 10:41 CST | 1 comments

NASA's Orion spacecraft is back on dry land following its offloading from the USS Anchorage late Monday night. Here are some selected photographs by Kevin Baird.

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Ceres is round!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/12/05 02:44 CST | 3 comments

Okay, so the fact that Ceres is round is not news. It's still thrilling to see Ceres begin to come into focus as a round world.

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Orion Returns to Earth after Successful Test Flight

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/05 07:46 CST

NASA’s Orion spacecraft returned safely to Earth this morning after what looked like a flawless four hour, 24-minute test flight.

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In Pictures: Orion's Scrub, from the Vehicle Assembly Building

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/04 12:27 CST

Here are some scenes from launch day, shot from the unique perspective of the Vehicle Assembly Building.

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Orion Scrub Report: Sticky Hydrogen Valves

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/04 12:13 CST

Windy weather and stuck liquid hydrogen valves forced a one-day delay of the maiden voyage of NASA’s Orion spacecraft.

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The New Horizons science mission to the Pluto-Charon system is about to begin

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/12/03 07:40 CST | 7 comments

It's been a long journey, but it's nearly over: New Horizons is just about ready to begin its science mission to Pluto, Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra. I'll remind you of New Horizons' capabilities and simulate how Pluto will appear in optical navigation images.

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