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Robotic Spacecraft: Far-Ranging Robots
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11 Feb 2014 NASA Moves Longest-Serving Mars Spacecraft for New Observations
NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft has tweaked its orbit to help scientists make the first systematic observations of how morning fogs, clouds and surface frost develop in different seasons on the Red Planet. The maneuver took place Tuesday, Feb. 11. Odyssey team engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and Lockheed Martin Space Systems of Denver, designed the gentle move to accelerate Odyssey's drift toward a morning-daylight orbit. The desired change will occur gradually until the intended orbit geometry is reached in November 2015 and another maneuver halts the drift.
6 Feb 2014 NASA Mars Rover Curiosity Sees 'Evening Star' Earth
New images from NASA's Curiosity Mars rover show Earth shining brighter than any star in the Martian night sky. The rover's view of its original home planet even includes our moon, just below Earth. The distance between Earth and Mars when Curiosity took the photo was about 99 million miles (160 million kilometers).
6 Feb 2014 Thanks America, New Horizons Ahead
New Horizons completed a quick, two-week maintenance wake-up on Jan. 17 and is back in hibernation. We'll wake the craft again in mid-June for our last active checkout, lasting about 10 weeks, on the journey to Pluto. We'll hibernate again from late August through early December, and then wake our baby up for the encounter we built her for.
5 Feb 2014 MAVEN on Track to Carry Out its Science Mission
The MAVEN spacecraft and all of its science instruments have completed their initial checkout, and all of them are working as expected. This means that MAVEN is on track to carry out its full science mission as originally planned.
31 Jan 2014 NASA Extends Moon Exploring Satellite Mission
NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, or LADEE, observatory has been approved for a 28-day mission extension. The spacecraft is now expected to impact the lunar surface on or around April 21, 2014, depending on the final trajectory. The extension provides an opportunity for the satellite to gather an additional full lunar cycle worth of very low-altitude data to help scientists unravel the mysteries of the moon's atmosphere.
29 Jan 2014 NASA's LRO Snaps a Picture of NASA's LADEE Spacecraft
With precise timing, the camera aboard NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) was able to take a picture of NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft as it orbited our nearest celestial neighbor. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) operations team worked with its LADEE and LRO operations counterparts to make the imaging possible.
29 Jan 2014 Curiosity Mars Rover Checking Possible Smoother Route
The team operating NASA's Mars rover Curiosity is considering a path across a small sand dune to reach a favorable route to science destinations. A favorable route would skirt some terrain with sharp rocks considered more likely to poke holes in the rover's aluminum wheels.
27 Jan 2014 Countdown to Pluto
Are we there yet? One of the fastest spacecraft ever built -- NASA's New Horizons -- is hurtling through the void at nearly one million miles per day. Launched in 2006, it has been in flight longer than some missions last, and it is nearing its destination: Pluto.
27 Jan 2014 NASA Instruments on European Comet Spacecraft Begin Activation Countdown
Three NASA science instruments are being prepared for check-out operations aboard the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft, which is set to become the first to orbit a comet and land a probe on its nucleus in November.
27 Jan 2014 NASA Receives Mars 2020 Rover Instrument Proposals for Evaluation
NASA has received 58 proposals for science and exploration technology instruments to fly aboard the agency's next Mars rover in 2020, twice the usual number submitted for instrument competitions in the recent past, and an indicator of the extraordinary interest in exploration of the Red Planet.
23 Jan 2014 NASA's Opportunity at 10: New Findings from Old Rover
New findings from rock samples collected and examined by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity have confirmed an ancient wet environment that was milder and older than the acidic and oxidizing conditions told by rocks the rover examined previously. Opportunity's original mission was to last only three months. On the day of its 10th anniversary on the Red Planet, Opportunity is examining the rim of the Endeavour Crater.
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.
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Last Updated: 16 Apr 2014