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The Planetary Society is greatly encouraged by today’s statements by Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, regarding NASA’s plans for a Mars sample return mission in the 2020s.
Bill Nye (The Science Guy™), Planetary Society CEO, will join U.S. National Park Rangers, Junior Rangers and NASA space science experts at Homestead National Monument of America to celebrate and educate audiences during the North American Eclipse.
LightSail 2’s launch window opens on June 22, and we are finalizing plans for our launch viewing celebrations. Once we have finished coordinating the details with the Air Force’s STP-2 mission team and the Kennedy Space Center, we will share them with all of our members and backers so that you can join us in person or remotely via the internet.
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has successfully imaged the impact site of the Beresheet lander, which made a really good run at performing the first privately funded Moon landing on 11 April, but crashed after the failure of its main engine.
The first science results from the unprecedented Chang’e-4 lunar far side mission are in. The mission’s Yutu-2 rover, deployed from the lander shortly after the Chang’e-4 landing on 3 January, has, with the help of the Queqiao relay satellite, returned data which suggests it has discovered material derived from the Moon’s mantle.
CubeSats have made low-cost space missions a reality for universities and research groups. However, these tiny satellites lack propulsion. LightSail will demonstrate the viability of solar sailing for CubeSats.