Pictures of Spacecraft
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft roared off the launch pad aboard an Atlas V 551 rocket on January 20, 2006. Liftoff was on time at 2 p.m. EST from Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. This was the third launch attempt in as many days after scrubs due to weather concerns.
The twin Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) lunar spacecraft are attached to the spacecraft adapter ring in their launch configuration in Astrotech Space Operation's payload processing facility in Titusville, Florida, on August 10, 2011.
On December 25, 2013, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spied Chang'e 3 and Yutu on the lunar surface. It was near sunset on the pair's first lunar day of operations. In its extended mission, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is in an elliptical orbit whose altitude over the Chang'e 3 landing site is 150 kilometers, so its highest-resolution images have about 1.5 meters per pixel.
The Chang'e 3 lander took this photo of the rover Yutu on December 22, 2013. The rover had completed a semicircular tour of the lander and was departing the lander due south. This version of the image has been white-balanced and color-corrected.
China's Yutu rover makes tracks on the surface of the Moon, taken on December 21, 2013. This sequence was taken from a television broadcast, aligned to correct for the motion of the camera, and its color adjusted.
On sol 474, Curiosity took a short drive while shooting photos of the wheels with her Navcams and Hazcams. From left to right, the images are: left front wheel from left front Hazcam; right front wheel from right front Hazcam; left front wheel from right Navcam; left middle and rear wheels from right Navcam; and left rear wheel from left rear Navcam. Because the mast is located on the right front corner of the rover, the Navcam is only capable of seeing the wheels on the rover's right side. The Hazcams get partial views of three of the four corner wheels. (The only instrument that can see the right middle and rear wheels is the MAHLI camera on the robotic arm.)
Curiosity took these photos of her wheels with the MAHLI arm-mounted camera on sol 463 (November 24, 2013) A large rip has appeared above the Morse-code holes in the left front wheel. Several smaller punch-holes are visible in it and the middle wheel in this view.
This version of the video has been flipped 180 degrees to put sky above ground. The mountains on the horizon are the Montes Recti. The lander is decelerating at an angle until about 2:50 when it can be seen to rotate vertical. This was at an altitude of about 2000 meters. It then lowered to an altitude of 100 meters, where it came to a hovering standstill (at about 5:15). It used imaging and laser ranging to determine a safe place for the landing, then continued the descent. At an altitude of about 4 meters, it cut the engines and fell to the surface.
Screen caps taken from a Chinese state television feed show the view from a side-looking camera mounted to the lander of the Yutu rover deploying from a ramp onto the surface of the Moon on December 14, 2013
Movie showing the European Space Agency's JUICE (Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer) spacecraft flying past Jupiter's icy moon Europa in 2013. The design of the spacecraft has not been finalized so this is just a mock-up featuring some of the parts of the spacecraft.
The Clipper spacecraft flies over the surface of Europa in this artist's rendering. NASA is currently studying this reduced-cost mission which would use at least 48 flybys to explore the moon instead of entering into orbit.
In 2016, The Planetary Society’s LightSail program will take the technology a step further.