Europe and Japan's BepiColombo spacecraft, which launched in 2018, will fly by Earth on 10 April and use our planet's gravity to swing towards the inner solar system. Learn more about this mission and why we study Mercury.
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.
Three launches to the Moon and one each to Mercury and Mars; two arrivals at near-Earth asteroids; and an approach to an encounter with a distant Kuiper belt object are highlights we anticipate in 2018.
NASA has decided to move forward with the InSight mission after its delay last December, setting a new launch date of May 5, 2018. That will put the landing on Mars on November 26, 2018. In order to launch in two years, one of its two science instruments must be redesigned.
2015 has seen few deep-space-craft launches, but 2016 is shaping up to be a banner year with three launches, followed quickly by a fourth in early 2017. All of the missions under development have reported significant milestones recently.
In the last two months, there has been significant news about the European-Russian 2018 mission and about NASA’s 2020 rover. NASA also has announced that it would like to send a new orbiter to the Red Planet in the early 2020s.
Dawn has successfully entered orbit at Ceres, becoming the first mission to orbit a dwarf planet and the first to orbit two different bodies beyond Earth. I also have updates on Curiosity, Rosetta, Mars Express, Hayabusa2, the Chang'e program, InSIGHT, and OSIRIS-REx.