Yesterday I enjoyed my second-ever opportunity to suit up and enter the clean room of the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. On display were SMAP, an Earth orbiting radar mission, and ISS-RapidScat, which will perform a different radar experiment from the Space Station.
Posted by Daniel Fischer on 2013/08/09 02:15 CDT
Space blogger Daniel Fischer provides a preview of the exciting interplanetary observing campaign that has recently begun to study comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) from vantage points across the solar system.
Yesterday was the first anniversary of Curiosity's landing on Mars, and there was much rejoicing. It's been fun to look back at that exciting day, and it's been an opportunity to reflect on what Curiosity has accomplished in her first year. What science do we have to show for it?
Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2013/08/06 06:54 CDT
This week Opportunity finished up a quick investigation of the strange rocky terrain out here in the plains where it is approaching the next mountain rim segment of Endeavour crater, Solander Point.
The Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) mission Opportunity celebrated the 10th anniversary of its launch on July 7, 2003, and then went on to complete the last leg of its 2 km trek from Cape York to Solander Point. But just before the robot field geologist pulled onto the actual base of the ridge where it will spend its sixth Martian winter, Mars lured the team off the path with some of the weirdest Martian rocks the scientists have seen yet.
It seems like my attention wandered for just a moment, and all of a sudden Curiosity is really on the road. She's racked up drive after drive, methodically eating up the terrain between here and her goal: the ancient rocks at the foot of Mount Sharp.
The 2013 launch window for Mars is fast approaching. November represents the next chance to send spacecraft to the Red Planet; the next window doesn't open until early 2016. So NASA and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) are working hard to prepare their respective Mars missions for launch.
Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2013/07/26 12:32 CDT
We are now only about 180 meters from the new mountain, Solander Point. We slowed down this week so that we could check out the rocks here where there is a strange hydration signature from orbital remote sensing.
Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2013/07/08 06:04 CDT
By Sol 3325 Opportunity has driven up onto the next "island" of rock, "Sutherland Point" and "Nobbys Head." On this sol Opportunity is only about 700 m from the goal, the mountains to the south.
The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission celebrated its 10th anniversary of leaving Earth in June, as Opportunity continued the sprint to its next winter haven at Endeavour Crater.
The indefatigable Dawn spacecraft is continuing its extraordinary interplanetary flight on behalf of inquisitive creatures on distant Earth. Progressing ever farther from Vesta, the rocky and rugged world it so recently explored, the ship is making good progress toward its second port of call, dwarf planet Ceres.
A few weeks ago, a press release from the Opportunity mission celebrated Opportunity's surpassing of the previous NASA off-world driving record. That record was set in December 1972 by the Apollo 17 astronauts aboard their Lunar Roving Vehicle. They seem very close to Lunokhod 2's stated 37-kilometer driving record, but hold your horses -- we now know Lunokhod went longer than we thought.
For this evening's Planetary Radio Live event, Mat Kaplan asked me to do a presentation of some favorite space images. I told him that picking favorite space images is like picking favorite children; it's not possible because they're all my favorite. To narrow things down, I decided to explore a theme: "Many Worlds."
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/06/17 02:47 CDT
This is extremely good news: after more than a year of analysis, the New Horizons mission and NASA have concluded and agreed that New Horizons' originally-planned trajectory past Pluto is likely safe from dust.
It's a big day for any space mission: the shipping of the spacecraft from its assembly facility to its launch facility. That happened for the next lunar mission, LADEE, on June 4, 2013.