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Quick Curiosity update, sol 1320: "Lubango," the 10th drill site on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • April 25, 2016

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 update, sols 1250-1310: Across the Naukluft Plateau

Emily Lakdawalla • April 13, 2016

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.

Follow along: SpaceX CRS-8 launch and landing

Jason Davis • April 08, 2016

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).

What's up in solar system exploration: April 2016 edition

Emily Lakdawalla • April 04, 2016

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.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Soldiers through Martian March Madness

A.J.S. Rayl • April 04, 2016

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.

Dawn Journal: Sharper Views of Ceres

Marc Rayman • April 01, 2016

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.

Tonight's Cygnus launch kicks off three ISS cargo runs in three weeks

Jason Davis • March 22, 2016

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.

ExoMars launch successful! What to expect for the Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli missions

Emily Lakdawalla • March 14, 2016

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.

ExoMars: Prepare for launch!

Emily Lakdawalla • March 10, 2016

ESA's ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli lander are in the final preparations for a launch as early as Monday, toward an October 2016 Mars orbit insertion and landing in Meridiani Planum. Launch on a Proton rocket is expected at 09:31:42 UT Monday, March 14. A Breeze-M upper stage will send the spacecraft on to Mars, with separation at 20:13 UT.

InSight has a new launch date: May 5, 2018

Emily Lakdawalla • March 09, 2016

NASA has decided to move forward with the InSight mission after its delay last December, setting a new launch date of May 5, 2018. That will put the landing on Mars on November 26, 2018. In order to launch in two years, one of its two science instruments must be redesigned.

SpaceX drops satellite into high orbit but misses difficult booster landing

Jason Davis • March 04, 2016

SpaceX overcame high propellant temperatures, a boat too close to the launch pad, and pesky weather to launch a communications satellite into geostationary transfer orbit this evening.

Continuing the Hunt for Exoplanets

Meg Schwamb • March 04, 2016

Meg Schwamb highlights some of the upcoming space-based missions that will search for planets beyond our solar system.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Scales Knudsen Ridge and Rocks On

A.J.S. Rayl • March 03, 2016

As the Martian winter slowly begins to recede, Opportunity is working away on the steep slopes of Knudsen Ridge at the southern end of Marathon Valley, showing her mettle in some of the most challenging terrain of the rover’s 12+ years on the Red Planet.

OSIRIS-REx Passes EMI/EMC Testing

Dante Lauretta • March 03, 2016

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has completed the Electromagnetic Interference/Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMI/EMC) system level test.

MENCA brings divine wealth from Mars: First science results from the Mars Orbiter Mission

Syed Maqbool Ahmed • March 02, 2016

MENCA (Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser) is a quadrupole mass spectrometer onboard India's Mars Orbiter Mission, MOM. A report on measurements of neutral species accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters is the first peer-reviewed scientific result from the mission.

Dawn Journal: Success at Ceres

Marc Rayman • March 01, 2016

More than eight years after leaving Earth behind for an ambitious deep space adventure, the Dawn mission has now collected all of the data originally planned. Chief Engineer and Mission Director Marc Rayman brings us an update.

What's up in solar system exploration: March 2016 edition

Emily Lakdawalla • February 29, 2016

Welcome to my monthly inventory of the 20-plus spacecraft actively exploring our solar system. Highlights of this month include the impending launch of the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli lander, currently planned for March 14, and the resumption of regular VMC Mars images by Mars Express.

One-year ISS mission draws to a close

Jason Davis • February 25, 2016

Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko are set to return to Earth next week after their record-breaking, year-long mission aboard the International Space Station.

Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly alert: SpaceX doesn't expect to stick upcoming rocket landing

Jason Davis • February 23, 2016

SpaceX is launching the SES-9 communications satellite to geostationary transfer orbit. But the company says a successful first stage drone ship landing is "not expected."

Field Report From Mars: Sol 4284 - February 11, 2016

Larry Crumpler • February 11, 2016

Opportunity is continuing to explore the outcrops Marathon Valley, on the west rim of Endeavour crater.

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