Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.
It's an active time in interplanetary exploration! Curiosity has begun roving Mars, and Opportunity's not wasting any time either. Dawn has just departed Vesta and begun the more than two-year cruise to Ceres. Juno is in the middle of a big deep-space maneuver, setting up next year's Earth flyby.
Welcome to the monthly roundup of our solar system's envoy of electronic explorers! All eyes are on Curiosity as it approaches Mars this weekend. Who will lend support at the Red Planet?
JPL issued a news note today that the Jupiter-bound Juno spacecraft has successfully completed the first of twelve trajectory correction maneuvers it'll perform between launch last year and Jupiter arrival in 2016. Its next maneuver will take place in August of this year. Go Juno!
It's always awe-inspiring to see our great world as just a tiny spot within vast space. The latest spacecraft to get such a view of Earth and the Moon is the Jupiter-bound Juno.
It almost looked like it wasn't going to happen today, but it did! At 16:25 UTC, a huge Atlas V 551 lifted off with the Juno spacecraft and sent it on its way to Jupiter.
Juno is a mission that will peer deeply into Jupiter's interior, and didn't really need to take a visible-light camera along in order to accomplish its scientific goals. But I think nobody could bear sending a spacecraft to Jupiter without getting pictures from up close. So they added Junocam.
Do you have kids at home for the summer? Treat them to a spectacular fireworks show by tuning in tomorrow morning to watch Juno blast off to Jupiter!
Spaceflight Now is following along as the next Jupiter orbiter, Juno, is journeying from its birthplace at Lockheed Martin in Denver to Cape Canaveral. As of this moment it has been packed up and loaded onto a flatbed trailer, which is driving through Denver with police escort, en route to the Denver airport, where it'll board a C-17 for the trip to Florida.
Today the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast aired my contribution, Unmanned Space Exploration in 2011, about what to look forward to in solar system exploration this year.
I was browsing JPL's Planetary Photojournal today and noticed that they've posted an updated artist's concept of the Juno spacecraft, which is set to launch in August for a 2016 arrival at Jupiter.
Next up at the Outer Planets Assessment Group meeting was an overview of the plans for future Europa missions.
The Outer Planets Assessment Group opened with the status of two of the three actual outer planets missions, Cassini and Juno.