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Blogs

Blog entries by Van Kane

Europe Bypasses Solar System for Upcoming Science Missions

Posted by Van Kane on 2013/11/06 08:44 CST | 3 comments

The European Space Agency has selected two astrophysics observatories as its next large science missions, overlooking every proposed planetary mission. ESA's current selection of planetary missions, however, means it will still be a major player in solar system exploration for the next two decades.

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The Potential of CubeSats

Posted by Van Kane on 2013/10/23 09:17 CDT

Planetary spacecraft originally tended to be large missions. However, technology is shrinking, and before the decade is out, I expect that we will have at least one planetary mission based on a CubeSat.

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Europe Will Select Its Next Major Science Mission in November

Posted by Van Kane on 2013/09/25 01:22 CDT | 2 comments

The European Space Agency will announce two major science missions this November, one of which is likely to be devoted to solar system exploration.

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Finally, an FY13 NASA Planetary Budget, Just 11 Months Late

Posted by Van Kane on 2013/08/30 05:32 CDT | 10 comments

The final news for NASA's Planetary Science program is better than had been proposed, but still a substantial cut over the previous year. There may be serious future consequences as a result of the smaller program.

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Small Could be Beautiful - Planetary SmallSats

Posted by Van Kane on 2013/08/23 11:05 CDT | 4 comments

A new breed of small planetary spacecraft may allow for more frequent flights to the planets for highly focused missions.

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The Mars 2020 Rover In-Depth

Posted by Van Kane on 2013/07/27 01:05 CDT | 3 comments

We now know the science goals for NASA’s next major Mars mission. The new rover will further the astrobiological search begun by the Curiosity rover and store samples for eventual return to the Earth, providing a stepping stone to the next stage of Martian exploration.

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Uranus or Bust (and on a budget)

Posted by Van Kane on 2013/07/09 12:38 CDT | 3 comments

New plans may make a mission to Uranus affordable within NASA's new, constrained budget.

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Implementing Missions Within Budget -- Good News

Posted by Van Kane on 2013/05/30 12:33 CDT | 1 comment

Last decade, cost overruns on a number of planetary missions stretched NASA's budget. Recent missions, though, have stayed within budget. However, the cost of fiscal discipline may have meant staying close to home.

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ISIS: Blasting a Crater on Asteroid Bennu

Posted by Van Kane on 2013/05/16 08:00 CDT | 2 comments

An exciting new option to enhance NASA's OSIRIS-REx asteroid mission has been proposed by Steve Chesley at JPL. The ISIS spacecraft would impact asteroid Bennu to expose its interior structure to OSIRIS-REx.

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Further Analysis of NASA's 2014 Budget Proposal

Posted by Van Kane on 2013/04/29 11:19 CDT | 7 comments

Now that groups and individuals have had time to digest the proposed 2014 NASA Planetary Science budget, they are highlighting the impacts of the proposed cuts. We are also getting the first independent reactions to the proposal to bring an asteroid to lunar orbit as a target for human exploration.

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