2017 got off to a start that was unprecedented in every good way: Opportunity completed her 13th Earth year of surface operations and drove the first overland expedition of the Red Planet into its 14th year.
Since my last update, the Curiosity mission has developed a better understanding of the problem that prevented them from drilling at Precipice, but its intermittent nature has slowed the development of a workable solution that will allow them to use the drill again. In the meantime, the rover has driven onward, making good use of its other instruments.
NASA's current human spaceflight goal is Mars, but the Trump administration could change that to the Moon. Is that a good idea? Here's an in-depth look at the differences in science gain, the arguments for and against a potential commercial market, and whether or not the technological and operational challenges required to reach the Moon apply to Mars.
Russia's workhorse Proton rocket may be grounded until June or July, dealing another blow to the country's launch infrastructure, which has been plagued by brain drain, mismanagement, poor quality control and corruption.
Four years ago, I announced that I was writing a book about Curiosity, describing the mission from its inception through its nominal mission. I am still not done, so am taking a three-month break from other work -- including this blog -- in order to focus and finish. I'm seeking scientists and engineers to serve as guest bloggers.
This Friday, Charles Bolden resigns as NASA administrator after a stint of 2,744 days. Robert Lightfoot, the agency's highest-ranking civil servant, will take over as acting admin. How long will Lightfoot serve? If history serves as a guide, it could be a while.
SpaceX says they fixed a problem with the helium pressurization system that destroyed a Falcon 9 rocket last year. The company pushes the boundaries of rocket science, creating an occasional jaw-dropping fireball in the process. But will the risk-reward equation change when SpaceX starts flying astronauts?