Comet Siding Spring is going to make a very close approach to Mars in October. Any comet dust that reaches Mars has the potential to inflict significant damage on the spacecraft orbiting the planet. As it turns out, however, Mars and its orbiters are likely to see very few, if any, impacts. Why?
The first three decades of planetary exploration tell a story that sounds all-too-familiar to modern day space advocates. Growth, peak, and then collapse of hard-earned capability. This is the story of planetary science for the first half of its existence.
Mars Orbiter Mission to test-fire main engine before orbit insertion
UPDATE: Test firing to take place September 22
According to a report in the Times of India, ISRO is deciding today whether to test-fire Mars Orbiter Mission's main engine to make sure it will work for their all-important orbit insertion maneuver on September 24. Both ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission and NASA's MAVEN are in good health and on track for their arrivals in three weeks.
ESA released another set of NavCam images of the comet today, and lo and behold, there are jets! We knew they were there, from an earlier OSIRIS image, but it's tremendously cool to see the comet behaving like a proper comet should.
Last year, rumors swirled that NASA may be so pinched for dollars that the agency might end the Cassini mission early. Today, Cassini received the welcome news that it has formally been funded through the planned end of its extended-extended mission in 2017. A huge congratulations to the Cassini mission!
Curiosity Rover Science Plan Slammed by NASA Review Panel
Planetary science senior review still supports continued funding
Senior review recommends continuing all major planetary exploration missions, but not without some changes.
Two weeks after radio anomalies scrubbed LightSail's day-in-the-life test, the team continues to close in on the source of the problem.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2014/09/03 12:19 CDT
After setting the new off-Earth rover distance record in July, Opportunity roved on in August, driving south along the eastern edge of Endeavour Crater's western rim to Wdowiak Ridge on its journey to the next big destination, Marathon Valley.
Submit Predictions to Fly in an Asteroid Time Capsule
and Remember to Fly Your Name
You have four weeks left (until September 30, 2014) to submit names to send to an asteroid, and now you can also separately submit space exploration predictions or images to send in a time capsule to and from that same asteroid. Both sets of information will fly etched on microchips on board the NASA OSIRIS-REx spacecraft.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/09/01 12:01 CDT
After a pause of about a week in daily image releases from Rosetta, ESA has begun sharing four-image sets of photos of comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko and invited the public to help produce pretty pictures from them.
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.
Karl Battams highlights the historic discovery, by an Air Force satellite, of a sungrazing comet.
The Rise and Fall (and Rise and Fall) of Planetary Exploration Funding
NASA has explored the planets since the 1960s, but funding has rarely been consistent
NASA has explored the solar system since the 1960s, but it has rarely been the top priority for the space agency. Jason Callahan breaks down how planetary science has been funded over the years within NASA's larger budget.
The Birth of the Modern Universe
Review of Alan Hirshfeld's "Starlight Detectives: How Astronomers, Inventors, and Eccentrics Discovered the Modern Universe"
Amir Alexander reviews Alan Hirshfeld's newest book, "Starlight Detectives: How Astronomers, Inventors, and Eccentrics Discovered the Modern Universe."
Back on the Rails with OSETI
Planetary Society OSETI Going Strong
Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/08/28 07:06 CDT
The Planetary Society sponsored all-sky optical SETI search at Harvard University went off the rails, telescope roof rails that is, but it is back on track and hunting the sky for ET.
NASA’s Big Rocket a Step Closer to Reality
The Space Launch System has been approved for production
NASA's Space Launch System passed a critical milestone yesterday, but buried within the announcement was news that the first launch could slip by nearly a year.