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Robotic Spacecraft: Far-Ranging Robots
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7 Sep 2013 LADEE Launches, Heads for the Moon
NASA has confirmed its Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) has separated from its ride into space, powered up and is communicating with ground controllers following a successful launch at 11:27 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 6, from the agency's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. LADEE is on its way to arrive at the moon in 30 days, then enter lunar orbit.
4 Sep 2013 NASA Evaluates Four Candidate Sites for 2016 Mars Mission
NASA has narrowed to four the number of potential landing sites for the agency's next mission to the surface of Mars, a 2016 lander to study the planet's interior. The stationary Interior Exploration Using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander is scheduled to launch in March 2016 and land on Mars six months later. It will touch down at one of four sites selected in August from a field of 22 candidates. All four semi-finalist spots lie near each other on an equatorial plain in an area of Mars called Elysium Planitia.
3 Sep 2013 NASA Mission To Study Mysterious Lunar Twilight Rays
Back in the 60s and 70s, Apollo astronauts circling the Moon saw something that still puzzles researchers today. About 10 seconds before lunar sunrise or lunar sunset, pale luminous streamers would pop up over the gray horizon. These "twilight rays" were witnessed by crewmembers of Apollo 8, 10, 15 and 17. Later this week a NASA spacecraft is going back to the Moon to investigate. Slated for launch on Sept 6, 2013, the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer ("LADEE" for short) will seek out twilight rays and other mysteries of the lunar atmosphere.
27 Aug 2013 NASA's Mars Curiosity Debuts Autonomous Navigation
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has used autonomous navigation for the first time, a capability that lets the rover decide for itself how to drive safely on Mars. This latest addition to Curiosity's array of capabilities will help the rover cover the remaining ground en route to Mount Sharp, where geological layers hold information about environmental changes on ancient Mars.
23 Aug 2013 New Horizons: Late in Cruise, and a Binary Ahoy
New Horizons has just completed a summer of intensive activities and entered hibernation on Aug. 20. The routine parts of the activities included thorough checkouts of all our backup systems (result: they work fine!) and of all our scientific instruments (they work fine too!). We also updated our onboard fault protection (a.k.a. "autonomy") software, collected interplanetary cruise science data, and tracked the spacecraft for hundreds of hours to improve our trajectory knowledge. Added to this mix of routine summer wake-up activities for New Horizons were two major activities that had never been performed before.
22 Aug 2013 Will You See LADEE?
Live on the U.S. East Coast between Charleston and Cape Cod? You may be able to see the LADEE spacecraft launch for the Moon on Sept. 6!
21 Aug 2013 NASA Spacecraft Reactivated to Hunt for Asteroids
A NASA spacecraft that discovered and characterized tens of thousands of asteroids throughout the solar system before being placed in hibernation will return to service for three more years starting in September, assisting the agency in its effort to identify the population of potentially hazardous near-Earth objects, as well as those suitable for asteroid exploration missions.
21 Aug 2013 Cassini Releases Image of Earth Waving at Saturn
People around the world shared more than 1,400 images of themselves as part of the Wave at Saturn event organized by NASA's Cassini mission on July 19 -- the day the Cassini spacecraft turned back toward Earth to take our picture. The mission has assembled a collage from those images, which came from 40 countries and 30 U.S. states via Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, Google+ and email.
16 Aug 2013 LADEE: The Movie
NASA's Ames Research Center released a sharp animation chronicling the life of the upcoming LADEE moon mission. The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) is a robotic mission that will orbit the Moon to gather detailed information about the lunar atmosphere, conditions near the surface and environmental influences on lunar dust. LADEE launches September 6.
15 Aug 2013 NASA Ends Attempts to Fully Recover Kepler Spacecraft, Potential New Missions Considered
Following months of analysis and testing, the Kepler Space Telescope team is ending its attempts to restore the spacecraft to full working order, and now is considering what new science research it can carry out in its current condition. Two of Kepler's four gyroscope-like reaction wheels, which are used to precisely point the spacecraft, have failed. The first was lost in July 2012, and the second in May [2013]. Engineers' efforts to restore at least one of the wheels have been unsuccessful. ... the spacecraft needs three functioning wheels to continue its search for Earth-sized exoplanets.
14 Aug 2013 Watch Live Talk Online: Mars Curiosity, Year One
Are you ready for some science? No matter where you are, you can join us online for a live public talk from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., on Thursday, Aug. 15 at 7 p.m. PDT (10 p.m. EDT) about the Curiosity rover's first year on Mars. This talk will revisit the dramatic, nail-biting landing and some of the mission's top science results. Live streaming high-definition video of the event will be carried on Ustream, with chat available, at: http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl.
12 Aug 2013 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Swapping Motion-Sensing Units
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is switching from one motion-sensing device to a duplicate unit onboard. The veteran orbiter relies on this inertial measurement unit (IMU) for information about changes in orientation. This information is important for maintaining spacecraft attitude and for pointing the orbiter's large antenna and science-observation instruments.
12 Aug 2013 NASA's Juno is Halfway to Jupiter
NASA's Juno spacecraft is halfway to Jupiter. The Jovian-system-bound spacecraft reached the milestone today (8/12/13) at 5:25 a.m. PDT (8:25 a.m. EDT/12:25 UTC). "Juno's odometer just clicked over to 9.464 astronomical units," said Juno Principal Investigator Scott Bolton, of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. "The team is looking forward, preparing for the day we enter orbit around the most massive planet in our solar system."
9 Aug 2013 MAVEN Eyes Mars as Launch Preparations Begin
MAVEN's approach to Mars studies will be quite different from that taken by recent probes dispatched to the Red Planet. Instead of rolling about on the surface looking for clues to the planet's hidden heritage, MAVEN will orbit high above the surface so it can sample the upper atmosphere for signs of what changed over the eons and why.
8 Aug 2013 MAVEN Haiku Selected for Travel to Mars
Haiku recognized in the MAVEN Message-to-Mars contest were announced today on the Going to Mars campaign website. Haiku authors from around the world -- including Palestine, India, Australia, and Europe -- entered the contest. The top five winners -- all those whose haiku received 1,000 votes or more -- include popular British blogger Benedict Smith and well-known American poet Vanna Bonta. Other entries receiving special recognition include MAVEN team selections in categories ranging from haiku specifically about MAVEN to humorous haiku.
6 Aug 2013 Mars Curiosity Landing: Relive the Excitement
Where were you when Curiosity landed? It's a hot topic of discussion in the hallways of JPL and on social media this week, as people remember the dramatic, tension-filled landing of NASA's Curiosity rover and its Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft on Aug. 5, 2012 PDT (Aug. 6, 2012 EDT).
5 Aug 2013 NASA Begins Launch Preparations for Next Mars Mission
NASA's next spacecraft going to Mars arrived Friday, Aug. 2, at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and is now perched in a cleanroom to begin final preparations for its November launch. The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft is undergoing detailed testing and fueling prior to being moved to its launch pad. The mission has a 20-day launch period that opens Nov. 18.
1 Aug 2013 Pluto Science Conference Exceeds Expectations
Compressing eight decades of discoveries into five days, more than 100 scientists met last week at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., to talk everything Pluto - what we already know, what we'd like to know and what data we expect NASA's New Horizons spacecraft to deliver after its historic flight past the distant planet in the summer of 2015.
30 Jul 2013 NASA Invites Reporters and Public to Curiosity First Anniversary Event
NASA officials and crew members aboard the International Space Station will observe the first anniversary of the Curiosity rover's landing on Mars at a public event in Washington from noon-1:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Aug. 6. The event will be broadcast on NASA Television and streamed live on the agency's website.
24 Jul 2013 Curiosity Mars Rover Gleams in View from Orbiter
An image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter released today shows NASA's Curiosity Mars rover and the wheel tracks from its landing site to the "Glenelg" area where the rover worked for the first half of 2013. The orbiter's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera captured the scene on June 27, 2013, with the orbiter rolled for an eastward-looking angle rather than straight downward. The afternoon sun illuminated the scene from the western sky, so the lighting was nearly behind the camera. This geometry hides shadows and reveals subtle color variations.
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Last Updated: 16 Apr 2014