After more than 11 years in deep space, after unveiling the two largest uncharted worlds in the inner solar system, after overcoming myriad daunting obstacles, Dawn's interplanetary adventure has come to an end.
As the global storm that wrapped the Red Planet in a cloud of dust since late June finally gave up the ghost in September, the sky continued to clear over Endeavour Crater and the Opportunity team initiated the NASA-approved two-step plan to reestablish contact with the rover.
On February 6, 2018, I found myself shoulder to shoulder with two of my heroes: Bill Nye on the left, Buzz Aldrin on the right. Our eyes were fixed on the first vertical Falcon Heavy rocket. Figuring the world's most powerful rocket might send me flying backwards once the countdown hit zero, I gripped the railing so tightly I started to lose the feeling in my fingertips.
The dust raising power of the storms that wrapped Mars in a cloud in June and July diminished in August. Meanwhile, on Earth, the Opportunity team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory reviewed recovery plans, conducted additional simulations, and began wrapping the month with newfound reasons to believe Opportunity can emerge from her hibernation.
A fantastic story of adventure, exploration and discovery is reaching its denouement. In the final phase of its long and productive deep-space mission, Dawn is operating flawlessly in orbit around dwarf planet Ceres.
Mastcam-Z will help the Mars 2020 rover explore the surface of Mars. Dozens of amazing scientists and engineers from across the globe contribute to the development of Mastcam-Z. This year, the team photo was taken with our very own Mastcam-Z testbed unit.
As Opportunity slept in Perseverance Valley under the thick cloud of dust that has blanketed the Red Planet for the last six weeks, scientists who are studying the monster storm that forced the robot field geologist into its hibernation mode are now reporting the tempest has peaked.
The June solstice 2018 issue of The Planetary Report is about to mail and will arrive at Planetary Society members’ homes within days. Members who want to read it sooner can access the magazine online.
As a monster dust storm grew to encircle the Red Planet in June, Opportunity spent most of the month in the dark, presumably sleeping in a hibernation mode as the skies over Endeavour Crater became darker and darker.
Petrology is a field of science in which scientists study the compositions of rocks and minerals and interpret their geologic history. A common graph petrologists use is the “pyroxene quadrilateral.” These graphs, like photos of space, can reveal an understanding of the remotest parts of the solar system.
Right after the last Mastcam-Z team meeting a year ago (link here to last two blog posts), our team finalized the design of the cameras, and then the fantastic voyage of creating Martian panoramic zoom cameras began.
China's fourth lunar mission, Chang’e 4, is expected to begin on May 21 with the launch of a Long March 4C rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in the southwest of China. The launch will carry a spacecraft named Queqiao, which will serve as a communication relay satellite between Earth and the lunar farside.
Two weeks ago, Indian media reported a fire at the Space Application Centre (SAC) of ISRO in the city of Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Although it was a big fire, it was in an isolated building and no spacecraft was damaged.
The Juno spacecraft that is currently orbiting Jupiter has obtained the first good images of Jupiter's polar regions. I am presenting here a combined global map of Jupiter, made from a Cassini map I made for the equatorial and temperate regions and polar maps made from the Juno JunoCam and JIRAM polar images.
Opportunity spent April further exploring the area about halfway down Perseverance Valley, checking out unusual, vesicular or pitted rocks the likes of which she has never seen, while officials prepared the mission’s bid to keep the robot field geologist roving through 2019.
The Jovian system is a busy place. The Groovy Galilean Satellites session at last week's Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) covered analysis of past mission data, testable hypotheses for future missions, and discussion of the use of ground-based data.
Mars today is a dynamic place. One visually dramatic sign of change on Mars is "mass wasting," more commonly known as "stuff falling downhill". Scientists presented the results of recent laboratory work on Mars mass wasting at last week's Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.
When Opportunity’s 5000th day dawned in February, it was a meaningful milestone for the team, and it led to a personal first for the veteran robot field geologist that has chalked up so many firsts she’s set the standard for Mars rovers.
Inspired by the American Girl company's choice of a Chilean-American space fan girl named Luciana for 2018's Girl of the Year, Bárbara Núñez invites you to meet some real-life Chilean woman scientist role models!
While we can measure properties of these upper layers using ground-based instruments, satellite-borne remote sensing instruments can give us a more frequent, global, and often higher spatial resolution perspective. And that is precisely what NASA’s Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) mission will deliver.