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Blog Archive

 

Spaceflight in 2017, part 2: Robots beyond Earth orbit

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/12/30 12:22 CST | 4 comments

What's ahead for our intrepid space explorers in 2017? It'll be the end of Cassini, but not before the mission performs great science close to the rings. OSIRIS-REx will fly by Earth, and Chang'e 5 will launch to the Moon, as a host of other spacecraft continue their ongoing missions.

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Spaceflight in 2017, part 1: Earth-centric edition

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/12/29 06:04 CST | 21 comments

Our preview of spaceflight in 2017 starts with highlights of missions and events happening on and around our home planet.

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On Cosmic Discovery and Human Significance

Posted by Jake Rosenthal on 2016/12/28 10:04 CST | 11 comments

Jake Rosenthal takes us on a tour of the history of discovery of our place in the cosmos.

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China outlines its space exploration ambitions
Missions to the Moon and Mars will dominate China's focus

Posted by Andrew Jones on 2016/12/27 02:04 CST | 1 comments

China released a new white paper on its policy and activities in space, outlining ambitious deep space exploration, human spaceflight and space science projects as major priorities for the years up to 2020 and beyond.

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GOES-R: What’s Next?

Posted by Heather Hunter on 2016/12/23 05:30 CST | 1 comments

After a series of maneuvers in-orbit, GOES-R—now known as GOES-16—has reached its designated location in space. What happens next?

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Review: ‘Rogue One’ is Star Wars comfort food

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/12/22 06:02 CST | 6 comments

In a review of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Jason Davis says you're more likely to enjoy the film if you embrace it as comfort food—a story line that fits into a larger sequence of Star Wars events you already know.

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Winter Solstice: A look at the solar system's north poles

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/12/21 07:00 CST | 2 comments

Today is the solstice, the longest winter night at Earth's north pole, the longest day of summer in the south. To give a little light to northerners in darkness today, please enjoy this gallery of images of (mostly) sunlit north poles across our solar system.

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Field Report from Mars: Sol 4588 - December 20, 2016

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2016/12/20 08:25 CST

Opportunity continues to climb up the inner crater wall of Endeavour crater, heading south on its journey toward its next valley target.

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Planetary discovery over the past quarter century

Posted by Steven Hauck on 2016/12/20 10:01 CST

2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the creation of what has become one of the primary venues for the publication of research in planetary science: the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets. This occasion is a good opportunity to look back at what we have learned in this era of expanded exploration and to try to take a peek at the future.

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Connecting with Carl Sagan at the Library of Congress

Posted by Mark Hilverda on 2016/12/20 09:01 CST | 1 comments

Whether you explore The Seth MacFarlane Collection of the Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan Archive online or at the Library of Congress during a visit to Washington, D.C., you’ll learn something new and have a deeper understanding of Carl Sagan.

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These are not my Martians

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2016/12/19 11:13 CST | 20 comments

Mat Kaplan explains his beef with the National Geographic Mars documentary-drama series.

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Future fear, loathing and predjudice: Star Trek VI turns 25

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/12/16 06:00 CST | 3 comments

On the 25th anniversary of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Jason Davis says the societal topics the film explores are still relevant today.

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ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter takes in a rarely-imaged view of Phobos

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/12/15 04:55 CST | 2 comments

ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter's science team enjoyed the opportunity in November to test out their science instruments on Mars. One of the tests involved imaging Phobos from an unusual angle.

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Lunar orbit beckons: NASA’s next four years of human spaceflight

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/12/14 06:00 CST | 10 comments

Our six-part Horizon Goal series concludes with a look at the future of NASA's human spaceflight program. As NASA prepares to set up shop beyond low-Earth orbit for the first time since 1972, are changes coming for the agency's Space Launch System rocket and Orion crew capsule?

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Curiosity update, sols 1489-1547: Drilling at Sebina, driving up through Murray, drill problems at Precipice

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/12/12 05:09 CST | 1 comments

It's been a drive-heavy two months for Curiosity. Since my last update, the rover has drilled at a site named Sebina, then traveled about 500 meters to the south across increasingly chunky-looking Murray rocks to a new attempted drill site at Precipice. They were planning to attempt a new drilling technique at Precipice, but encountered a new problem with the drill instead.

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Field Report from Mars: Sol 4577 - December 9, 2016

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2016/12/09 06:25 CST

Opportunity has begun the ascent of the steep slopes here in the inner wall of Endeavour crater after completion of a survey of outcrops close to the crater floor. The goal now is to climb back to the rim, drive south, and arrive at the next major mission target on the rim before the next Martian winter.

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Congress Delays Action on NASA's 2017 Budget
A 'continuing resolution' extends NASA's current budget through 2017

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2016/12/09 01:02 CST | 2 comments

Congress stands ready to punt on NASA's budget, meaning the space program will have to operate on a short budgetary leash until April of next year.

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Countdown to the Next NASA Discovery Mission Selection

Posted by Van Kane on 2016/12/08 11:48 CST | 8 comments

If NASA’s managers hold to their schedule, we will learn sometime this month what NASA’s next planetary mission will be.

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European Space Agency Announces Budgetary Commitments

Posted by Ruth McAvinia on 2016/12/07 12:31 CST | 2 comments

ESA has committed to continuing its ExoMars programme and participation with the International Space Station, but cut funding for its Asteroid Impact Mission.

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Ground finale? Deployment test moves LightSail 2 closer to handoff

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/12/06 08:34 CST | 2 comments

LightSail 2 successfully demonstrated all of its critical functions during what may have been the CubeSat's final end-to-end systems test at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

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