The Planetary Society is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Apollo 13, which launched on 11 April 1970. Disaster struck on 13 April, prompting the crew's infamous "Houston, we've had a problem" call for help. Learn what happened, and how NASA got the astronauts home safely on 17 April.
Apollo 13 was the 3rd attempt to land humans on the Moon and the 1st to fail. Fifty-six hours into the mission, an explosion forced the crew to abort their Moon landing and take shelter in the Lunar Module. The crew ultimately returned to Earth safely.
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Everything you need to know about space science and exploration, including an Apollo anniversary, a gravity slingshot, and a global celebration of space.
BepiColombo Earth flyby
Europe and Japan's BepiColombo spacecraft, which launched in 2018, flew by Earth on 10 April and used our planet's gravity to swing towards the inner solar system. Learn more about this mission and why we study Mercury.
We're getting close to the fifth anniversary of the landings of Spirit and Opportunity, but was we approach that milestone, we're passing another. I've been told that as of yesterday, Spirit and Opportunity have operated on Mars for a combined length of time that is longer than the combined number of sols that the twin Viking landers operated.
The period of Mars solar conjunction has just begun, which means that a host of scientists and engineers whose day jobs entail interaction with the five active Mars spacecraft are getting a five-week break from the daily grind of operations.
Another day, another drive: on sols 1,693 and 1,695 the Opportunity rover conducted two more lengthy drives to the south, totaling almost 200 meters. On the other side of the planet, Spirit is FINALLY in motion again.
Victoria crater, the site of a Mars year's worth of study, is now far over the horizon, as Opportunity has lately completed a series of very long drives. Opportunity is once again sailing the sand seas of Meridiani Planum.
It's been way, way, way too long since the view from either rover's cameras has changed very much. So I hope you'll join me in a shout of "woo hoo!" or perhaps "yippee!" as I show you the latest view from Opportunity, from sol 1,666, as automatically composed in Mike Howard's Midnight Mars Browser software.
Mars Exploration Rover principal investigator Steve Squyres announced on National Public Radio's Science Friday show the next goal for Opportunity, and it's a long, long, long way away: a huge crater about 12 kilometers southeast of its current location, which the team is referring to internally as "Endeavour."
I was delighted to receive an email from Morten Bo Madsen, who I knew from the Mars Exploration Rover mission as "that Danish magnet guy," the fellow responsible for the magnet experiments on nearly every American Mars mission. The magnets were originally designed to study the properties of airborne Martian dust, which would help determine its composition.