A difficult but necessary decision by ESA and Roskosmos to postpone the launch of the ExoMars rover from 2018 to 2020 raises a question about the fate of other planetary exploration programs in the pipelines of both space agencies.
Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/05/28 11:18 CDT
BEAM is expanded and pressurized! The International Space Station's newest module, which will serve as a technology demonstrator for in-space expandable habitats, was fully filled with air this afternoon.
NASA and Bigelow Aerospace weren't able to get the space station's newest module up and running this morning. Another attempt could come as early as Friday.
OSIRIS-REx's long journey to an asteroid has begun. The spacecraft departed Colorado on Friday, May 20, travelling aboard an Air Force C-17 to the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at Kennedy Space Center.
Japan's Akatsuki Venus orbiter is well into its science mission, and has already produced surprising science results. The mission, originally planned to last two years, could last as many as five, monitoring Venus' atmosphere over the long term.
Opportunity and the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) team pressed on through the Martian winter and spent April sleuthing for clay minerals at the mission’s new site on the southern wall of Marathon Valley.
Since April 11, instead of photographing the scenery directly beneath it, Dawn has been aiming its camera to the left and forward as it orbits and Ceres rotates to map more of the dwarf planet.
May 2016 will be yet another month of fairly routine operations across the solar system -- if you can ever use the word "routine" to describe autonomous robots exploring other planets. ExoMars' cruise to Mars has started smoothly, and Juno is only two months away from Jupiter orbit insertion. Earthlings will witness a Mercury transit of the Sun on May 9.
Curiosity has drilled into Mars for the 10th time at a site named Lubango, on sol 1320 (April 23, 2016). Lubango is in a bright-toned halo around a crack in the Stimson sandstone unit on the western edge of the Naukluft Plateau.
Curiosity has driven onward from Namib dune across a highstanding unit of rock called the Naukluft Plateau. Despite some frustrating sols lost to a short circuit in the RTG and DSN troubles, the rover has made progress, and performed lots of 3D imaging of weirdly wind-eroded rocks.
Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/04/08 11:56 CDT
Follow along with The Planetary Society as SpaceX launches a Dragon spacecraft to the ISS and attempts to land a used booster rocket on a drone ship in the ocean. Liftoff is scheduled for 4:43 p.m. EDT (20:43 UTC).
This month (actually, today), Cassini had a relatively close flyby of Titan, and New Horizons will observe a very distant Kuiper belt object named 1994 JR1. Akatsuki has just fine-tuned its orbit around Venus, and Hayabusa2 has begun an 800-hour ion engine thrusting phase to steer it toward near-Earth asteroid Ryugu.
As March Madness on Earth sent sports fans into their annual kinetic frenzy watching more than 60 American teams battle it out for college basketball’s grandest title, Opportunity was experiencing her own Martian brand of March Madness.
One year after taking up its new residence in the solar system, Dawn is continuing to witness extraordinary sights on dwarf planet Ceres. Mission Director Marc Rayman brings us his monthly update on Dawn's status.
Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/03/22 06:32 CDT
Just days after receiving three new crew members, the ISS is about to become a veritable shipping hub, as three cargo ships launch to the orbital laboratory in as little as three weeks.
The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli lander are safely on their way to Mars! The two lifted off at 9:31 UTC today, March 14, 2016. Orbiter and lander will arrive at Mars on October 19 at approximately 16:00 UTC. The lander is expected to last about 3 days. The orbiter will spend a year aerobraking before beginning its science mission.