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Dawn Journal: Diving Low

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2016/09/01 10:08 CDT | 11 comments

Following the conclusion of Dawn's ambitious 8.8-year prime mission on June 30, the spacecraft has been gathering a wealth of data with all sensors in its extended mission as it orbits closer to Ceres than the International Space Station is to Earth.

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SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket explosion: What we know and don't know

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/09/01 10:32 CDT | 15 comments

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral this morning. Here's what we know and don't know.

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What's up in the solar system, September 2016 edition: OSIRIS-REx launches, Rosetta ends

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/08/31 12:00 CDT | 1 comments

The month of September begins with an annular solar eclipse visible from much of Africa on September 1. On or after September 8, we'll see OSIRIS-REx launch into a two-year cruise toward a rendezvous with asteroid Bennu. But September will close, sadly, with the end of the wonderful Rosetta mission.

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Juno's first Jupiter close approach successful; best JunoCam images yet to come

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/08/27 08:07 CDT | 13 comments

NASA announced this afternoon that Juno passed through its first perijove since entering orbit successfully, with science instruments operating all the way. This is a huge relief, given all the unknowns about the effects of Jupiter's nasty radiation environment on its brand-new orbiter.

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OSIRIS-REx launch preview

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/08/17 03:34 CDT | 1 comments

Launch day is coming for NASA's next interplanetary explorer! OSIRIS-REx is on schedule for launch on September 8, 2016 at 19:05 EDT (16:05 PDT, 23:05 UTC) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. OSIRIS-REx is the first NASA planetary launch since MAVEN in 2013, and will be the last until InSight in 2018.

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Photos: OSIRIS-REx prepares for launch

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/08/15 11:58 CDT

Only 24 days remain until the opening of OSIRIS-REx's launch period, and final preparations are underway. There is a lot to do in the final months before a launch, but things seem to be going well.

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Curiosity update, sols 1373-1427: Driving up to Murray buttes, drilling at Marimba

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/08/11 11:35 CDT | 1 comments

Curiosity has now covered most of the flat ground that lay between the Naukluft plateau and the Murray buttes. The mission took only 11 days to complete drilling work at Marimba, despite a recurrence of a problematic short in the drill. The rover is ready to drive in among the buttes, shooting spectacular photos along the way.

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Yutu is NOT dead (probably)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/08/10 07:48 CDT | 2 comments

Despite what you may have read on other websites last week, China's Yutu lunar rover is probably still functional on the surface of the Moon.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Nears End of Marathon Valley Tour, Team Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Viking
Sols 4422 - 4451

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2016/08/03 01:33 CDT | 1 comments

Despite the intensifying rancor and ugliness of the U.S. Presidential campaigns on Earth, as the spring Sun shined down on Meridiani Planum in July, all was right with the world at Endeavour Crater.

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Dawn Journal: Staying at Ceres

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2016/07/30 01:19 CDT | 9 comments

The official end of Dawn's prime mission was June 30, but the valiant adventurer began its "extended mission" of performing more Ceres observations without missing a beat.

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What's up in the solar system, August 2016 edition: Juno to get Jupiter close-ups, Rosetta descending, road-tripping rovers

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/07/29 02:35 CDT | 5 comments

This month we'll finally see JunoCam's first high-resolution images of Jupiter. We'll also see OSIRIS-REx making progress toward its September 8 launch. Both rovers are road-tripping at Mars, while ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has completed a major mid-course correction ahead of its October arrival.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 4410 - June 20, 2016

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2016/07/28 08:02 CDT | 1 comments

Opportunity is finishing up its activities in Marathon Valley, getting ready to hit the road again.

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MAVEN Status and Extended-Mission Planning

Posted by Bruce Jakosky on 2016/07/27 03:17 CDT | 1 comments

The MAVEN mission to Mars was just approved for a two-year extended mission that runs through September 2018. Now is a good time to take stock of we've learned so far and to describe the plans for the extended mission.

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Rosetta end-of-mission plans: Landing site, time selected

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/07/26 03:13 CDT | 2 comments

ESA's comet-chasing Rosetta spacecraft is nearing the end of its mission. Last week, ESA announced when and where Rosetta is going to touch down. And tomorrow, it will forever shut down the radio system intended for communicating with the silent Philae lander.

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Multimedia recap: Two launches, a landing, a docking, and a berthing

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/07/20 12:35 CDT

Four days of cargo craft mania came to a close at the International Space Station this morning, as astronauts Kate Rubins and Jeff Williams snagged an approaching SpaceX Dragon vehicle and berthed it to the laboratory's Harmony module.

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Mars 2020 rover rolls into final design and fabrication phase

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/07/15 06:16 CDT | 9 comments

NASA's next Mars rover is rolling off the drawing board and into its final design and fabrication phase, the agency announced today, during a televised event at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory that highlighted some of the mission's technology.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Begins Final Science Campaign in Marathon Valley
Sols 4393 - 4421

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2016/07/07 08:01 CDT

The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission entered its 150th month of surface exploration in June as Opportunity began checking off the last science investigations in Marathon Valley, and the crew on Earth looked ahead to the future past.

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Multimedia roundup: Flawless ride to orbit for Expedition 48 crew

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/07/06 10:58 CDT

Expedition 48 crewmembers Kate Rubins, Takuya Onishi and Anatoly Ivanishin are safely in orbit following an early morning launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

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Juno has arrived!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/07/05 01:14 CDT | 7 comments

For a second time, NASA has placed a spacecraft into orbit at Jupiter. The spacecraft operated exactly according to plan, and Juno successfully entered orbit today, July 5, 2016, UTC

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How to watch Juno's orbit insertion

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/07/01 05:22 CDT | 3 comments

The big day is almost here. Juno begins firing its main engine at 20:18 PT / 23:18 ET / 03:18 UT on July 4/5, and the maneuver should be over 35 minutes later at 20:53 / 23:53 / 03:53. Here's how you can follow the mission through its most hazardous event since launch.

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