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Robotic Spacecraft: Far-Ranging Robots
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15 Jan 2014 NASA Invites Public to Send Names on an Asteroid Mission and Beyond
NASA is inviting people around the world to submit their names to be etched on a microchip aboard a spacecraft headed to the asteroid Bennu in 2016. The "Messages to Bennu!" microchip will travel to the asteroid aboard the agency's Origins-Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft. The robotic mission will spend more than two years at the 1,760-foot (500-meter)-wide asteroid. The spacecraft will collect a sample of Bennu's surface and return it to Earth in a sample return capsule.
8 Jan 2014 A Busy Year Begins for New Horizons
With Pluto encounter operations now just a year away, the New Horizons team has brought the spacecraft out of hibernation for the first of several activities planned for 2014.
3 Jan 2014 Decade-Old Rover Adventure Continues on Mars and Earth
Ten years ago, the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity landed on Mars. What an adventure it's been. Though Spirit and Opportunity were built as nearly identical twins, and both succeeded in the main goal of finding evidence for ancient watery environments on Mars, their stories diverged early.
30 Dec 2013 NASA Images of Chang'e 3 Landing Site
Chang'e 3 landed on Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains) just east of a 450 m diameter impact crater on 14 December 2013. Soon after landing, a small rover named Yutu (or Jade Rabbit in English) was deployed and took its first tentative drive onto the airless regolith. At the time of the landing LRO's orbit was far from the landing site so images of the landing were not possible. Ten days later on 24 December, LRO approached the landing site, and LROC was able to acquire a series of six LROC Narrow Angle Camera ( NAC ) image pairs during the next 36 hours (19 orbits).
24 Dec 2013 NASA Releases New Earthrise Simulation Video
NASA has issued a new visualization of the events leading to one of the iconic photographs of the 20th Century - Earth rising over the moon captured by the crew of the Apollo 8 mission.
23 Dec 2013 Cassini Sees Saturn and Moons in Holiday Dress
This holiday season, feast your eyes on images of Saturn and two of its most fascinating moons, Titan and Enceladus, in a care package from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. All three bodies are dressed and dazzling in this special package assembled by Cassini's imaging team.
9 Dec 2013 NASA Curiosity: First Mars Age Measurement and Human Exploration Help
NASA's Curiosity rover is providing vital insight about Mars' past and current environments that will aid plans for future robotic and human missions. In a little more than a year on the Red Planet, the mobile Mars Science Laboratory has determined the age of a Martian rock, found evidence the planet could have sustained microbial life, taken the first readings of radiation on the surface, and shown how natural erosion could reveal the building blocks of life. The second rock Curiosity drilled for a sample on Mars, which scientists nicknamed "Cumberland," is the first ever to be dated from an analysis of its mineral ingredients while it sits on another planet.
5 Dec 2013 Laser Instrument on NASA Mars Rover Tops 100,000 Zaps
NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has passed the milestone of 100,000 shots fired by its laser. It uses the laser as one way to check which chemical elements are in rocks and soils. The 100,000th shot was one of a series of 300 to investigate 10 locations on a rock called "Ithaca" in late October, at a distance of 13 feet, 3 inches (4.04 meters) from the laser and telescope on rover's mast. The Chemistry and Camera instrument (ChemCam) uses the infrared laser to excite material in a pinhead-size spot on the target into a glowing, ionized gas, called plasma. ChemCam observes that spark with the telescope and analyzes the spectrum of light to identify elements in the target.
18 Nov 2013 NASA Launches Mission to Study Upper Atmosphere of Mars
A NASA mission that will investigate how Mars lost its atmosphere and abundant liquid water launched into space at 1:28 p.m. EST Monday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The agency's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft separated from an Atlas V Centaur rocket's second stage 53 minutes after launch. The solar arrays deployed approximately one hour after launch and currently power the spacecraft. MAVEN now is embarking on a 10-month interplanetary cruise before arriving at Mars next September.
13 Nov 2013 Mars Rover Teams Dub Sites In Memory of Bruce Murray
Features on Mars important to the missions of NASA's two active Mars rovers are now called "Murray Ridge" and "Murray Buttes," in honor of influential planetary scientist Bruce Murray (1931-2013). The rover Opportunity, which has been roaming Mars for nearly a decade, is currently climbing Murray Ridge, part of an uplifted crater rim. NASA's newer rover, Curiosity, is headed toward Murray Buttes as the entryway to that mission's main destination.
4 Nov 2013 Dawn Journal
Deep in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, Dawn is continuing its smooth, silent flight toward dwarf planet Ceres. Far behind it now is the giant protoplanet Vesta, which the spacecraft transformed from a tiny splotch in the night sky to an exotic and richly detailed world.
29 Oct 2013 NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover Approaches 'Cooperstown'
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity completed its first two-day autonomous drive Monday, bringing the mobile laboratory to a good vantage point for pictures useful in selecting the next target the rover will reach out and touch.
25 Oct 2013 New Horizons: On the Path to Pluto, 5 AU and Closing
Pluto isn't quite the next exit on New Horizons' voyage through the outer solar system, but the destination is definitely getting closer. Today the NASA spacecraft speeds to within five astronomical units (AU) of Pluto -- which is less than five times the distance between the Earth and the sun, or about 460 million miles.
23 Oct 2013 Mars Rover Opportunity Heads Uphill
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover has begun climbing "Solander Point," the northern tip of the tallest hill it has encountered in the mission's nearly 10 Earth years on Mars. Guided by mineral mapping from orbit, the rover is exploring outcrops on the northwestern slopes of Solander Point, making its way up the hill much as a field geologist would do.
22 Oct 2013 NASA Laser Communication System Sets Record with Data Transmissions to and from Moon
NASA's Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) has made history using a pulsed laser beam to transmit data over the 239,000 miles between the moon and Earth at a record-breaking download rate of 622 megabits per second (Mbps). LLCD is NASA's first system for two-way communication using a laser instead of radio waves. It also has demonstrated an error-free data upload rate of 20 Mbps transmitted from the primary ground station in New Mexico to the spacecraft currently orbiting the moon.
21 Oct 2013 The Sounds of New Horizons
What does New Horizons say when it calls home? Nothing, without the help of software that transforms zeros and ones from New Horizons' computers into images, instrument readings, or useful information on the spacecraft's status. Those datasets are then transmitted to Earth by the telecommunications (radio) system aboard New Horizons.
21 Oct 2013 Earth from Juno
On Oct. 9, Juno flew by Earth using the home planet's gravity to get a boost needed to reach Jupiter. The JunoCam caught this image of Earth, and other instruments were tested to ensure they work as designed during a close planetary encounter.
21 Oct 2013 NASA: Back to Work, Back to Mission
NASA is once again open for business in a big way. While we were out, several of our on-going missions achieved significant milestones, and although it will take a little time to fully assess the impacts of the government shut down on our other operations, this week will make clear we're back to our core mission implementing America's ambitious space program.
18 Oct 2013 LADEE Mission Update
During the NASA shutdown, the LADEE mission continued to perform its critical maneuvers and capture into the commissioning orbit around the moon. The LADEE spacecraft commissioning activities are now complete, and the instrument commissioning activities have begun. The LDEX and UVS aliveness activities were completed successfully on Oct. 16, with both instrument covers deployed. These instrument cover deployments were the last remaining planned critical events for the mission. All critical maneuvers and all instrument cover deployments are completed at this point.
17 Oct 2013 Managing the Deluge of 'Big Data' From Space
For NASA and its dozens of missions, data pour in every day like rushing rivers. Spacecraft monitor everything from our home planet to faraway galaxies, beaming back images and information to Earth. All those digital records need to be stored, indexed and processed so that spacecraft engineers, scientists and people across the globe can use the data to understand Earth and the universe beyond.
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Last Updated: 12 Sep 2014