The excitement is building for Hayabusa 2! The spacecraft is now complete and ready to be shipped to its launch site. JAXA unveiled its next interplanetary traveler to the media in a special event on August 31.
Posted by Dante Lauretta on 2014/06/05 09:54 CDT
The construction of OSIRIS-REx has begun! Seeing the core structure being assembled demonstrated that OSIRIS-REx is no longer just a set of drawings and PowerPoint charts, it is starting to become a real spacecraft.
Mars Express and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter are keeping their eyes in the sky on Curiosity. There's a nice newly public color image of all of Gale Crater from HiRISE, and two new HiRISE images within the Curiosity landing site.
Curiosity and Opportunity self-portraits show one rover accumulating dust, the other losing it. Check out these cool before-and-after comparisons.
A Reluctant Dance Towards Europa
or, Why A Credible Europa Mission is Likely to Cost ~$2B
For the last two years, NASA has been the shy partner refusing to get on the dance floor, and Congress has been the aggressive partner insisting on a dance now. Recently, NASA has said maybe on another night but only if it’s a cheap date. While NASA says no for now, Congress looks to be willing to slip the band a cool $100M – on top of $150M already paid – to keep the music playing, but (to keep the metaphor going) has not been willing to fully commit itself to paying the bigger bill to rent the dance hall. The dance, of course, is the continuing attempt by Congress to have NASA commit to a mission to explore Europa, and NASA’s attempts to delay a mission well into the 2020s.
Curiosity took a new self-portrait on sol 613. This post contains a tip for would-be Curiosity image processors on how to make their Curiosity mosaics better: removing the smearing effect of bright objects in MAHLI photos.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/04/22 12:46 CDT
Rosetta and Philae have very nearly completed a six-week phase of spacecraft and instrument checkouts to prepare the mission to do science. Recently, the lander used its cameras for the first time since hibernation, producing some new photos of Rosetta in space.
The End of Opportunity and the Burden of Success
Can NASA sustain its golden age of planetary exploration?
The Opportunity rover and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter are both zeroed out in NASA's 2015 budget. Learn why these missions face the axe and why the White House is forcing NASA to choose between existing missions and starting new ones.
While climbing Murray Ridge, Opportunity enjoyed a major cleaning event that has left the rover's solar panels more dust-free than they have been in years. The rover captured a pretty panorama of the newly clean deck with its Pancams, and James Sorenson processed the version shown here.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/04/03 06:26 CDT
A Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE image taken on February 10 shows Curiosity having just made deep, dark tracks across the Dingo Gap dune.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/03/04 01:08 CST
Seeing hardware that was built by human hands sitting on the surface of another planet never, ever gets old. Today, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera team released two new images of Chang'e 3 and Yutu on the Moon.
The European Space Agency announced yesterday a significant milestone in the development of the next Mars mission: the core module of the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has been delivered.
Conspiracy Theorist Sues NASA, Wastes Everybody's Time
The "jelly doughnut" rock found next to Opportunity is the focus of a new lawsuit
The "jelly doughnut" rock found next to Opportunity is the focus of a new lawsuit alleging that NASA is not properly looking for life.
At long last, on sol 526, Curiosity imaged the part of the weather instrument that was damaged during landing, but no obvious damage is visible, to me anyway. On sol 527 they drove even closer to Dingo Gap, with plans to drive onto the dune in the sol 528 drive.
Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 11: The Persistence of Memory
In which we don't understand intelligence
Cosmos stumbles with an episode that is plodding, scattered, and more than a little preachy. This episode will only persist in my memory as a shadow of what could have been.
Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/01/24 12:23 CST
The Planetary Society released an official statement today recognizing the unprecedented achievement of maintaining an operating rover on the surface of Mars for a decade.
A pile of Chang'e 3 photos has been released to the Web, and they are much, much better than what I've seen before. They include, for the first time, photos of Earth from the lander.