Dawn has successfully entered orbit at Ceres, becoming the first mission to orbit a dwarf planet and the first to orbit two different bodies beyond Earth. I also have updates on Curiosity, Rosetta, Mars Express, Hayabusa 2, the Chang'e program, InSIGHT, and OSIRIS-REx.
Thirty-three years ago today, Venera 14 plunged through the thick Venusian atmosphere to the surface. Ted Styrk shares some of his processed images from the Venera lander missions to Venus—and makes a plea for us to return.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2015/03/05 12:16 CST
From the discovery of a new rock type to a successful flight software upload that should enable the robot field geologist to regain her long-term, flash memory, Opportunity and her team delivered what turned out to be a hugely productive and memorable 133rd month on the Red Planet.
Space Advocates Descend on Capitol Hill
The 2015 Legislative Blitz Was Exhausting, Exhilarating, and a Huge Success
The Space Exploration Alliance wrapped up its most recent 'legislative blitz' last week. Nearly 70 individuals participated in the democratic process, speaking to nearly 168 difference offices in Congress. Nearly half of those individuals were Planetary Society members.
After several months of near-silence, ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission has released on Facebook the first data product from its Methane Sensor For Mars. Don't get too excited about methane yet: there is no positive or negative detection. The news here is that the Methane Sensor for Mars is working, systematically gathering data. They also released several new photos of Mars.
NASA held a press briefing on the Dawn mission yesterday, sharing some new images and early interpretations of them. I see lots of things that intrigue me, and I'm looking forward to Dawn investigating them in more detail. I invite you to check out these photos yourself, and offer you some guidance on things to look for.
Van Kane introduces us to EnVision—a proposed European mission to help improve our understanding of Venus.
The future of the International Space Station is a little clearer this week, following a statement from Russia supporting an extension of the orbiting complex through 2024.
I've been resisting all urges to speculate on what kinds of geological features are present on Ceres, until now. Finally, Dawn has gotten close enough that the pictures it has returned show geology: bright spots, flat-floored craters, and enigmatic grooves.
Ask Me Anything (on reddit) About NASA's Budget
11am PST/2pm EST Wednesday, Feb 25th
Posted by Casey Dreier on 2015/02/24 11:06 CST
Starting at 11am PST/2pm EST on Wednesday, the space policy team at the Society will hold an AMA (Ask Me Anything) about NASA's new budget and the process of space exploration.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/02/20 06:59 CST
Curiosity's second drilling campaign at the foot of Mount Sharp is complete. The rover spent about a month near Pink Cliffs, an area at the base of the Pahrump Hills outcrop, drilling and documenting a site named Mojave, where lighter-colored crystals were scattered through a very fine-grained rock.