I have a couple of updates on my post from yesterday: confirmation that Chang'E 2 is indeed gone from L2, and more specifics on encounter dates with Toutatis.
According to a Chinese spaceflight forum, Chang'E program chief scientist Ouyang Ziyuan recently announced that Chang'E 2 has departed the Sun-Earth L2 point and is now en route to asteroid 4179 Toutatis!
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/06/13 11:50 CDT
NuSTAR, the most sensitive X-ray telescope ever developed, launched successfully at 16:00 UT. This was a fun launch to watch, because the launch vehicle was a Pegasus XL air-launched rocket, dropped like a bomb from open bay doors of an L-1011 airplane.
There was good news and bad news in this morning's press briefing about Curiosity rover's upcoming landing on Mars, just eight weeks from now. First, the good news: the landing ellipse has shrunk. The bad news: there's a contamination problem with the drill, and the Odyssey orbiter is in safe mode.
Posted by Stuart Atkinson on 2012/06/05 10:00 CDT
Since you last visited, Opportunity has continued to drive downhill – well, what passes for ‘downhill’ on Cape York! – and is now not far at all from the northern edge of the Cape. From where she is now she sees the Meridiani desert stretching away to the north and west, the eastern hills on her right, and the Cape itself behind her. And around her? lots and lots of Homestake-like gypsum veins.
Posted by Marc Rayman on 2012/06/05 03:30 CDT
Dawn is beginning its departure from Vesta, spiraling upward from its low-altitude mapping orbit to a higher one from which it will map north polar terrain not visible during the earlier mapping orbit.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2012/06/02 05:43 CDT
The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity strolled out of her winter haven this May to continue the expedition around Endeavour Crater, roving into yet another Martian spring.
Chris Biddy from Stellar Exploration Inc. presented information about our LightSail project at the 2012 Aerospace Mechanisms Symposium.
This month, Opportunity is roving again, while Curiosity approaches Mars; Cassini's finally seeing rings, and will fly by Mimas, Titan, and Tethys; GRAIL has completed its primary mission and is journeying toward the second; Dawn is climbing to the HAMO2 orbit; and a rare transit of Venus is coming up on June 5/6.
SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft has been successfully grappled with the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 and berthed with the station's Harmony module.
On May 22, the Space-X Falcon rocket with its cargo capsule on top launched from Cape Canaveral and reached orbit ready to dock with the International Space Station. So far everything is going perfectly. It’s a huge step. Congratulations to Space-X, Elon Musk and his team.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2012/05/03 10:06 CDT
As winter began to retreat in the southern hemisphere of the Red Planet, Opportunity was commanded to finish up her science assignments in April in preparation for leaving its refuge, and the Mars Exploration Rover mission rolled through its 100th month of exploration.
Marc Rayman's monthly check-in with the Dawn mission describes the achievements of the spacecraft in its Low-Altitude Mapping Orbit (including near-global high-resolution imaging!) and explains what's next.
Last week, India launched RISAT 1, a new Earth-observing satellite. How does its synthetic aperture radar compare to that of Envisat, which has fallen silent?
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/05/01 10:16 CDT
Welcome to my monthly roundup of the activities of our intrepid robotic emissaries across the solar system! I count 16 spacecraft that are actively performing 13 scientific missions at Mercury, Venus, the Moon, Mars, Vesta, Saturn, and at the edge of the heliosphere. This month's highlight: Cassini's about to fly close past Enceladus and Dione.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/04/19 01:38 CDT
I made myself a cheat sheet to many of Vesta's distinctive-looking craters, and also wrote down a list of the major dates in the timeline of Dawn's exploration of Vesta.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/04/18 12:00 CDT
The Twitterverse is buzzing this morning with news that the Science Programme Committee of the European Space Agency has recommended that the next large European mission be JUICE, a mission to explore the three icy Galilean satellites and eventually to orbit Ganymede.