Welcome to The Planetary Post! In this issue, I share my journey to San Diego Comic-Con, where I quiz Trekkies and NASA scientists with trivia to celebrate Star Trek's 50th anniversary. Engage.
Go beyond my video log and discover more:
OSIRIS-REx launch: NASA's OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission launches on or after September 8 aboard an Atlas V rocket. It will fly past Earth a year from now, and reach near-Earth asteroid Bennu in August 2018, returning a sample in 2021. The spacecraft carries a disk provided by The Planetary Society with the names of more than 400,000 people that will ride to the asteroid and back aboard OSIRIS-REx's sample return capsule.
End of the Rosetta mission: After more than 12 years in space, the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission will come to an end on September 30. As comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko recedes from the Sun, the solar-powered spacecraft will no longer have enough power to operate. Mission controllers plan to spiral Rosetta in toward the comet all month long, capturing the highest-resolution images ever obtained of a comet, and tasting the gases and particles of the coma all the way down. Once Rosetta touches the surface, its antenna will no longer be able to point at Earth, and the mission will end, but the scientific analysis of its data will go on for decades.
Join us on social media for a #RocketRoadTrip: Have you been reading our Huffington PostHorizon Goal story series on the past, present, and future of NASA's Journey to Mars? If not, now is a good time to catch up with our journalist, Jason Davis. We're heading on a road trip to visit four southern U.S. NASA centers to see the agency's human spaceflight program up close. We'll start in Florida with the launch of OSIRIS-REx and work our way through Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana to see how the agency's Space Launch System rocket is coming together. We'll post highlights on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using the hashtag #RocketRoadTrip, so you can join the journey. See you on the road!
Proxima Centauri b: Have we just found Earth’s cousin right on our doorstep? What began as a tantalizing rumor has just become an astonishing fact. Recently, a group of 31 scientists, led by Guillem Anglada-Escude at the Queen Mary University of London, UK, announced the discovery of a terrestrial exoplanet orbiting Proxima Centauri. The discovery of this planet, Proxima Centauri b, is a huge breakthrough not just for astronomers but for all of us. Click here to find out why.
Thanks for reading. You can click the image below to download a magnificent, high-resolution copy this month’s Picardo’s Pic, sent to us from the Juno spacecraft on August 27, 2016.
I hope you enjoyed this issue of The Planetary Post. See you soon!
Robert Picardo Board Member, The Planetary Society