On the sixth anniversary of leaving Earth to embark on a daring deep-space expedition, Dawn is very, very far from its erstwhile planetary residence. Now humankind's only permanent resident of the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, the seasoned explorer is making good progress toward the largest object in that part of the solar system, the mysterious dwarf planet Ceres.
The European Space Agency will announce two major science missions this November, one of which is likely to be devoted to solar system exploration.
Indian media reported over the weekend that the Mars Orbiter Mission has passed some senior review, and has been approved to proceed toward a launch date of October 28, a week later than previously planned.
On sol 3425 Opportunity "waded ashore" at Solander Point after crossing a sea of sand between here and Cape York. Cape York was an "island" remnant of the rim of Endeavour crater that Opportunity left back in May. Since then it has been driving south to the next largest and mountainous remnant of the crater rim, Solander Point.
After a journey of more than 30 years, ICE is coming back to Earth next year. But do we know how to regain control of it, and can we find the means to do so?
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/09/13 07:25 CDT
Some good news to start your weekend: the newest member of our deep-space fleet, LADEE, has successfully completed its checkout phase and is now officially in its cruise phase. It is still in Earth orbit, headed for Lunar Orbit Insertion on Sunday, October 6.
I noticed something funny while examining MAVEN assembly and testing videos.
Watch LADEE Launch to the Moon with The Planetary Society
Live Webcast Begins HERE at 7:30pm PDT / 10:30pm EDT
Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/09/06 08:45 CDT
Starting at 7:30pm PDT/10:30pm EDT, we will webcast a special event around the launch of NASA's next lunar spacecraft. Watch our special coverage with lunar scientists and live video from the launch site, as well as NASA TV footage of the launch itself.
Posted by Ken Herkenhoff on 2013/09/05 02:49 CDT
From sols 373 to 383 (August 23 to September 3, 2013), Curiosity traveled about 250 meters toward Mount Sharp over five drives, trying out her new AutoNav capability.
There wasn't a dull moment for the Mars Exploration Rover mission in August as Opportunity drove up to the base of the Solander Point section Endeavour Crater's eroded rim, crossed over a geological boundary between ancient eras, maneuvered through a boulder field, scooting unscathed from a near-miss with a rock that could have ended it all, and at month's end delivered her team to what looks to be another scientific gemstone on the Red Planet.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/09/04 01:10 CDT
Communication with the Deep Impact spacecraft was lost some time between August 11 and August 14. The team has determined the cause of the problem, and is trying to figure out how to restore communication.
Traveling confidently and alone, Dawn continues to make its way through the silent depths of the main asteroid belt. The interplanetary adventurer is on its long journey to the uncharted dwarf planet Ceres, by far the largest of all asteroids.
New Horizons has just completed a summer of intensive activities and entered hibernation on Aug. 20. The routine parts of the activities included thorough checkouts of all our backup systems (result: they work fine!) and of all our scientific instruments (they work fine too!).
United States Geological Survey scientist Ken Herkenhoff posts regular updates on the Curiosity science team's plans for the rover on Mars.