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

Blog Archive


Rosetta shifts from sedate circular orbits to swooping flybys

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/02/10 12:35 CST | 9 comments

For the period of time before and after the Philae landing, Rosetta was able to orbit the comet close enough that it was in gravitationally bound orbits, circling the comet's center of gravity. As the comet's activity increases, the spacecraft has to spend most of its time farther away, performing occasional close flybys. The first of these is at 6 kilometers, on February 14.

Read More »

A new mission for Akatsuki, and status updates for Hayabusa2 and Chang'e

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/02/09 06:32 CST | 2 comments

Brief updates on four ongoing missions: JAXA's Akatsuki and Hayabusa2, and China's Chang'e 3 and Chang'e 5 test vehicle. JAXA has articulated the new science plan for Akatsuki. Hayabusa2's ion engines have checked out successfully. The Yutu rover is still alive on the Moon, and Chang'e 5 test vehicle has successfully tested crucial rendezvous operations in lunar orbit.

Read More »

Two Days, Two Launches and Three Landings

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/02/09 04:38 CST | 4 comments

Within a two-day span, two rocket launches and three ocean landings are scheduled—one of which involves an autonomous spaceport drone ship.

Read More »

New Horizons returns first images from mission's Pluto approach phase

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/02/04 03:14 CST | 10 comments

Here they are, the first images of Pluto from the approach phase of the New Horizons mission. Science has begun; we're on the home stretch!

Read More »

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Completes 11th Year of Surface Operations!
Sols 3889 - 3918

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2015/02/03 05:54 CST

On January 24th, something wonderful happened on Mars. Opportunity completed her 11th year of exploring the surface of the Red Planet! The veteran rover couldn't exactly go to Disneyland to celebrate this amazing achievement, so she did what she loves to do – roved on.

Read More »

Talking to Pluto is hard! Why it takes so long to get data back from New Horizons

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/01/30 09:53 CST | 13 comments

As I write this post, New Horizons is nearing the end of a weeklong optical navigation campaign. The last optical navigation images in the weeklong series will be taken tomorrow, but it will likely take two weeks or more for all the data to get to Earth. Two weeks! Why does it take so long?

Read More »

Dawn Journal: Closing in on Ceres

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2015/01/30 08:31 CST | 7 comments

Dawn's chief engineer Marc Rayman gives an update on the mission as it gets ever closer to its next target: The dwarf planet Ceres.

Read More »

Field Report from Mars: Sol 3902 - January 15, 2015

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2015/01/22 05:10 CST

Larry Crumpler gives an update on the status of Opportunity's traverse toward Marathon Valley.

Read More »

Curiosity update, sols 814-863: Pahrump Hills Walkabout, part 2

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/01/21 07:24 CST | 5 comments

Curiosity has spent the last two months completing a second circuit of the Pahrump Hills field site, gathering APXS and MAHLI data. The work has been hampered by the loss of the ChemCam focusing laser, but the team is developing a workaround. Over the holidays, the rover downlinked many Gigabits of image data. The rover is now preparing for a drilling campaign.

Read More »

Tracking a Ghost Mission 238 Million Km Away

Posted by Daniel Scuka on 2015/01/10 09:14 CST | 2 comments

Daniel Scuka describes the impending demise of the Venus Express spacecraft.

Read More »

Dragon Reaches Orbit, but Falcon Stage Crashes on Recovery Ship

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/01/10 05:00 CST | 6 comments

SpaceX’s ambitious attempt to land the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket on an autonomous ocean platform was "close, but no cigar."

Read More »

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Closes in on 11th Anniversary and We Look Back on 2014
Sols 3859 - 3888

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2015/01/07 06:14 CST | 3 comments

With a wonder year of discoveries, historic feats, and bummers in the rear view mirror – and plenty of mettle to continue exploring – Opportunity ended 2014 quietly working in a temporary back-up mode, as her colleagues on Earth ramped up for the mission's marathon adventure to come in 2015.

Read More »

Short updates on Akatsuki and Chang'e missions

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/01/06 02:50 CST | 1 comments

A few recent newspaper articles provide some updates on the status of Japan's Venus mission, Akatsuki, and the service module of China's Chang'e 5 test vehicle, Xiaofei. In brief: Akatsuki still plans to attempt to enter orbit in December of this year, while Chang'e 5 T1 is headed to lunar orbit. Meanwhile, the Chang'e 3 mission has released an interesting image of M101, the Pinwheel Galaxy.

Read More »

SpaceX Set to Retry Cargo Run, Rocket Stage Landing (Updated)

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/01/05 05:14 CST | 3 comments

SpaceX will attempt to launch a Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station and land a used Falcon 9 rocket stage on an uncrewed spaceport in the Atlantic Ocean.

Read More »

Planetary exploration in 2015: The Year of the Dwarf Planet

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/12/31 10:49 CST | 8 comments

Looking ahead to what we can expect from Earth's exploration of the rest of the solar system in 2015, there's an obvious theme: Dwarf planets.

Read More »

Field Report from Mars: Sol 3875 – December 18, 2014

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2014/12/30 03:40 CST | 2 comments

Opportunity is continuing its drives along the rim of Endeavour toward Marathon Valley. Larry Crumpler tells us what to expect as the rover continues its journey.

Read More »

Dawn Journal: History of Ceres

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2014/12/29 01:25 CST | 14 comments

As Dawn looks toward the new world of Ceres, Mission Director Marc Rayman looks back on Ceres' discovery.

Read More »

Video: Ride along with Orion as It Plummets Back to Earth

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/19 05:53 CST

A new NASA video provides an astronaut's-eye video of the final ten minutes of Orion's test flight.

Read More »

A new Chang'e 3 and Yutu image archive

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/12/19 02:25 CST

A treasure trove of newly released images from the Chang'e 3 program includes a photo sequence of a waxing Earth and lots of high-resolution views of rover and lander on the Moon.

Read More »

NASA Delays Asteroid Redirect Mission Concept Selection until 2015

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/17 05:35 CST | 1 comments

NASA's efforts to capture a near-Earth asteroid and tow it back to lunar orbit will have to wait a little bit longer for a final mission concept.

Read More »

Items 101 - 120 of 1155  Previous12345678910Next
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis


Advocate for Space!

Fifteen years ago, Society members and passionate space advocates like you helped save the Pluto mission. Now we can do the same for missions to Europa and Mars.

Join over 27,600 people who have completed their petition and consider a donation to support advocacy efforts.

Sign Our Petition

Featured Images

LightSail-B on the bench
Blue Origin New Shepard after first landing
New Shepard test flight and booster landing
Suni Williams and Doug Hurley in Crew Dragon
More Images

Featured Video

MISSIONS: Dawn In The Asteroid Belt With Marc Rayman

Watch Now

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Selfies to Space!

Take flight with a selfie on LightSail™ in 2016!

Send a Selfie Now

Connect With Us

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