Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty
Blogs

Blog Archive

 

MESSENGER Mission Update: First burn performed to lower extended mission altitude

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/04/16 07:58 CDT

The MESSENGER mission just issued a press release announcing that they have completed the first step in the two-step process of lowering the spacecraft's orbit around Mercury.

Read More »

An update on Opportunity, and a plea for some volunteer desktop publishing help

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/04/03 05:00 CDT | 2 comments

A. J. S. Rayl has just posted her monthly update on the goings-on at Meridiani planum, noting that the update recaps the 99th month of the Mars Exploration Rover mission. There's a lot of detail on how the radio-tracking campaign is going. While she's not driving, Opportunity's acting like a lander, with radio antennas on Earth performing Doppler tracking to allow very fine measurement of Mars' orbital motion.

Read More »

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Gets Energy Boost and Works Through Depths of Winter

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2012/03/31 05:40 CDT

March came in like a lion and went out like a lamb at Meridiani Planum, Mars: Opportunity felt the cold wind on her solar panels, then "settled" in a little more, working through the depths of its fifth Martian winter, as the team honored one of its own up there, and the Mars Exploration Rover mission logged month number 99 of exploration.

Read More »

What's up in the solar system in April 2012

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/03/30 02:27 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.

Read More »

Dawn Journal: Saluting the Sun

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2012/03/29 05:19 CDT

On April 18, Dawn will attain its greatest separation yet from Earth, nearly 520 million kilometers. Well beyond Mars, fewer than a dozen spacecraft have ever operated so far from Earth.

Read More »

What's up in the solar system in March 2012

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/03/27 02:53 CDT

This month will see GRAIL begin its science mission measuring the Moon's gravity field. MESSENGER will complete its primary mission at Mercury, celebrating its one-Earth-year-in-orbit anniversary with a big data release, and immediately begin work on its one-year extended mission. Mars will pass its solstice, ushering in warmer days for Opportunity. Coincidentally, this month will see Jupiter's southern winter solstice, too, though there are no spacecraft there to notice it. Out at Saturn, Cassini will have two encounters with Enceladus this month, one of them distant, one of them at 74 kilometers altitude.

Read More »

Venus Express star trackers recovered

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/03/09 07:18 CST

Just a quick note because I didn't want to let the weekend go by without telling people that Venus Express' star trackers are back online.

Read More »

Good news, bad news: GRAIL science underway, Venus Express suffers storm damage

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/03/08 06:54 CST

Two brief mission updates. First, the good news: NASA announced yesterday that the twin GRAIL spacecraft have begun the science phase of the mission, transmitting precisely timed signals to each other in order to map the Moon's gravity field. The bad news: according to ESA, since the recent solar storm passed Venus, both of Venus Express' star trackers are suddenly unable to detect stars.

Read More »

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Turns On, Tunes In, and Drops Panoramic Postcard to Earth

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2012/02/29 10:24 CST

There's no hail or snow or sleet, though it is the depth of winter at Meridiani Planum and a cold unimaginable to us has gripped the landscape.

Read More »

Dawn Journal: Bonus time at low altitude

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2012/02/29 02:43 CST

Dawn is continuing its exploits at Vesta, performing detailed studies of the colossal asteroid from its low altitude mapping orbit (LAMO).

Read More »

BepiColombo's launch date has slipped to August 2015

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/02/29 08:55 CST

ESA announced this morning that the launch of their BepiColombo mission, a cooperative effort with JAXA, has been delayed from its originally planned July 2014 to the backup launch window in August 2015.

Read More »

Phobos-Grunt Failure Report Released

Posted by Louis D. Friedman on 2012/02/06 05:24 CST

It appears that Phobos-Grunt was doomed before it launched on November 9, 2011. Cheap parts, design shortcomings, and lack of pre-flight testing ensured that the spacecraft would never fulfill its goals.

Read More »

Yay for Juno! First major course correction complete

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/02/02 03:33 CST

JPL issued a news note today that the Jupiter-bound Juno spacecraft has successfully completed the first of twelve trajectory correction maneuvers it'll perform between launch last year and Jupiter arrival in 2016. Its next maneuver will take place in August of this year. Go Juno!

Read More »

Official Phobos-Grunt Failure Report Released

Posted by Louis D. Friedman on 2012/01/31 05:32 CST

Roscosmos, the Russian Space Agency, has released its official report concerning the failure of the Phobos-Grunt spacecraft, which fell back to Earth from orbit on January 15 after failing to ignite the engines that were to take it to the largest Martian moon.

Read More »

What's Up in the Solar System in February 2012

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/01/31 01:12 CST | 1 comments

I think the word for the month of February is: "routine." The 21 missions that I'm tracking (amounting to 24 spacecraft) are nearly all in routine science operations or cruise behavior, gathering data from across the solar system or journeying to new destinations.

Read More »

Akatsuki to try for Venus orbit in June 2016

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/01/31 10:37 CST

Japan's Venus climate orbiter Akatsuki failed to enter orbit in December 2010 when a clogged valve caused catastrophic damage to its main engine. Since then, JAXA's engineers and navigators have determined that although the main engine is a total loss, there is the possibility of achieving Venus orbit on a future encounter, using only the attitude control rockets.

Read More »

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Celebrates 8, Keeps on Rockin' into Year 9

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2012/01/31 10:24 CST

As Opportunity worked away on its winter science campaign, the Mars Exploration Rover mission quietly completed its eighth Earth year of exploring the surface of the Red Planet last week, and is now roving on into Year 9 of its 90-day mission.

Read More »

Dawn Journal: How does Dawn know where "down" is?

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2012/01/30 01:23 CST

Since the last log, the robotic explorer Dawn has devoted most of its time to its two primary scientific objectives in this phase of the mission.

Read More »

Dusty girl

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/01/23 05:32 CST

Today Opportunity sent back to Earth the last few frames of the "deck pan" self-portrait she took during the waning days of 2011. Her solar panels are very dusty, which isn't helpful. It's near winter solstice in her southern location on Mars, so the angled Sun is not providing as much power as it would in a different season.

Read More »

Phobos-Grunt is no more

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/01/16 02:27 CST

Phobos-Grunt has returned to Earth, a lot sooner than it should have. Yesterday, at approximately 17:45 UT, the Russian spacecraft and its passengers, including a Chinese orbiter and the Planetary Society's LIFE experiment, descended into Earth's atmosphere.

Read More »

Items 381 - 400 of 919  Previous11121314151617181920Next
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

JOIN THE
PLANETARY SOCIETY

Our Curiosity Knows No Bounds!

Become a member of The Planetary Society and together we will create the future of space exploration.

Join Us

Featured Images

Hubble's view of Mars during the Comet Siding Spring flyby

Mars from Hubble STIS, April 26, 2012
Hubble's view of Mars on October 19, 2014 (color)
Mars as viewed by Hubble ACS/SBC, May 30, 2014
More Images

Featured Video

View Larger »

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join the New Millennium Committee

Let’s invent the future together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook! Twitter! Google+ and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!