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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Early next year, SpaceX will attempt what no agency or company has done before: land a used rocket stage on a floating ocean platform.
The Planetary Society's LightSail spacecraft successfully completed testing to prepare it for a possible 2015 test flight.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.