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Blog Archive

 

LightSail Prepares for Its Day-in-the-Life Test

Jason Davis • August 12, 2014

LightSail-A's radio system has been fixed, and the spacecraft is now preparing for its August 20 day-in-the-life test.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Sets Historic Distance Record and Roves On

A.J.S. Rayl • August 08, 2014

It's official: Opportunity has traveled farther and lived longer than any other vehicle on another planet, driving to a place in history with an out-of-this-world distinction no one even imagined when the robot field geologist left Earth 11 years ago.

Twinkling worlds in motion: New Horizons' first optical navigation images of Pluto and Charon

Emily Lakdawalla • August 07, 2014

What's that in the distance? A binary star? Those are two little round worlds dancing in circles, whirling around a point in space located between the two of them. It's Pluto and Charon, clearly separated by New Horizons' camera.

Rendezvous with a crazy world

Daniel Fischer • August 06, 2014

Beaming scientists all around, spectacular images on large TV screens, and the best - or at least most exciting - yet to come: such was the extraordinary scene at the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, today as the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft reached its cometary destination.

"We're at the comet!" Rosetta has arrived at comet 67P

Emily Lakdawalla • August 06, 2014

After a journey of more than a decade, Rosetta has finally arrived at comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Confirmation of the successful rocket firing came at about 9:30 UTC via a webcast from ESA's Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

Today's the day Rosetta arrives at a comet!

Emily Lakdawalla • August 05, 2014

In less than a day, Rosetta will officially arrive, becoming the first spacecraft ever to orbit a comet! Watch an ESA Livestream of the arrival, and check out the latest photos.

Buzz Mercury's North Polar Region in This New MESSENGER Video

Jason Davis • August 05, 2014

A new video shows what a traveler aboard Mercury's MESSENGER spacecraft would see as they zipped over the planet's north polar region.

Field Report From Mars: Sol 3737 – July 30, 2014

Larry Crumpler • August 04, 2014

Larry Crumpler updates us on the Opportunity rover, which now holds the distance record for a rover on another planet and is about to climb up its highest crater rim segment yet.

Dawn Journal: Not-So-Quiet Cruise

Marc Rayman • August 01, 2014

Dawn's Mission Director updates us on the status of the mission, and tells us what Dawn and Star Wars have in common.

[Updated]: NASA Selects 7 Science Instruments for its Next Mars Rover

Casey Dreier • July 31, 2014

Seven science instruments will help the Mars 2020 rover identify biosignatures and understand the history of the rocks it encounters on the surface of the red planet.

NASA Announces the Suite of Science Instruments on its Next Mars Rover Today

Casey Dreier • July 31, 2014

Today marks the unveiling of the suite of science instruments that will travel to Mars to look for signs of past life and help determine samples to store for possible return to Earth. The next rover mission will launch in 2020.

Rosetta update: Long journey to a comet nearly complete

Emily Lakdawalla • July 29, 2014

A journey of nearly a decade is almost over. Rosetta is making its final approach to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and the comet's strange shape is beginning to come into focus. As of today, the spacecraft is only 2000 kilometers away from the comet, and 8 days away from arrival.

Curiosity update, sols 671-696: Out of the landing ellipse, into ripples and pointy rocks

Emily Lakdawalla • July 24, 2014

For the last four weeks, the name of the game for Curiosity has been driving. But these weeks of driving have been more challenging than they used to be.

Chang'e 3 update: Both rover and lander still alive at the end of their eighth lunar day

Emily Lakdawalla • July 21, 2014

Despite the fact that it hasn't moved for 6 months, the plucky Yutu rover on the Moon is still alive. Its signal is periodically detected by amateur radio astronomers, most recently on July 19. A story posted today by the Chinese state news agency offers a new hypothesis to explain the failure of the rover's mobility systems.

New Horizons to take new photos of Pluto and Charon, beginning optical navigation campaign

Emily Lakdawalla • July 18, 2014

Technically, Pluto science observations don't begin for New Horizons until 2015, but the spacecraft will take a series of photos of Pluto and Charon from July 20 to 27 as it begins the first of four optical navigation campaigns.

Quick Rosetta update: Churyumov-Gerasimenko is a contact binary!

Emily Lakdawalla • July 15, 2014

I could not wait to post these amazing new images of comet Churymov-Gerasimenko from Rosetta. The nucleus of the comet is clearly a contact binary -- two smaller (and unequally sized object) in close contact.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Nears End of Murray Ridge, Pillinger Point Christened

A.J.S. Rayl • July 03, 2014

Opportunity got off to a bumpy start in June, but the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission pressed on, continuing the exploration of Murray Ridge at the western rim of Endeavour Crater.

Rosetta’s comet is starting to take shape

Jason Davis • July 03, 2014

A new animation of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko captured by the Rosetta spacecraft shows the comet rotating.

Dawn Journal: HAMO at Ceres

Marc Rayman • July 01, 2014

Dawn's chief engineer and mission director Marc Rayman gives an overview of the plan for the penultimate orbital phase at Ceres, the “high altitude mapping orbit” (HAMO).

Field Report From Mars: Sol 3705 – June 27, 2014

Larry Crumpler • June 30, 2014

Opportunity has left the winter haven and is still driving south along the rim of Endeavour crater, currently exploring an outcrop a few meters from crater rim.

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