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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Completes 11th Year of Surface Operations!
Sols 3889 - 3918

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2015/02/03 05:54 CST

On January 24th, something wonderful happened on Mars. Opportunity completed her 11th year of exploring the surface of the Red Planet! The veteran rover couldn't exactly go to Disneyland to celebrate this amazing achievement, so she did what she loves to do – roved on.

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Talking to Pluto is hard! Why it takes so long to get data back from New Horizons

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/01/30 09:53 CST | 7 comments

As I write this post, New Horizons is nearing the end of a weeklong optical navigation campaign. The last optical navigation images in the weeklong series will be taken tomorrow, but it will likely take two weeks or more for all the data to get to Earth. Two weeks! Why does it take so long?

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Dawn Journal: Closing in on Ceres

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2015/01/30 08:31 CST | 7 comments

Dawn's chief engineer Marc Rayman gives an update on the mission as it gets ever closer to its next target: The dwarf planet Ceres.

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Field Report from Mars: Sol 3902 - January 15, 2015

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2015/01/22 05:10 CST

Larry Crumpler gives an update on the status of Opportunity's traverse toward Marathon Valley.

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Curiosity update, sols 814-863: Pahrump Hills Walkabout, part 2

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/01/21 07:24 CST | 5 comments

Curiosity has spent the last two months completing a second circuit of the Pahrump Hills field site, gathering APXS and MAHLI data. The work has been hampered by the loss of the ChemCam focusing laser, but the team is developing a workaround. Over the holidays, the rover downlinked many Gigabits of image data. The rover is now preparing for a drilling campaign.

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Tracking a Ghost Mission 238 Million Km Away

Posted by Daniel Scuka on 2015/01/10 09:14 CST | 2 comments

Daniel Scuka describes the impending demise of the Venus Express spacecraft.

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Dragon Reaches Orbit, but Falcon Stage Crashes on Recovery Ship

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/01/10 05:00 CST | 6 comments

SpaceX’s ambitious attempt to land the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket on an autonomous ocean platform was "close, but no cigar."

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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 | 2 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

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

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