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After 10 Years, Opportunity Rover Still Making Discoveries

NASA JPL January 23, 2014 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. In the Jan. 24 edition of the journal Science, Opportunity Deputy Principal Investigator Ray Arvidson, a professor ... Read More »

Water Discovered Around Dwarf Planet Ceres

ESA January 22, 2014 ESA’s Herschel space observatory has discovered water vapour around Ceres, the first unambiguous detection of water vapour around an object in the asteroid belt. With a diameter of 950 km, Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt, which lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. But unlike most asteroids, Ceres is almost spherical ... Read More »

Mystery Rock on Mars Continues to Baffle

NASA JPL January 21, 2014 This before-and-after pair of images of the same patch of ground in front of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity 13 days apart documents the arrival of a bright rock onto the scene. The rover had completed a short drive just before taking the second image, and one of its wheels likely knocked the rock — ... Read More »

Send Your Name to An Asteroid

NASA January 15, 2014 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 ... Read More »

Now Playing: Musical Space-Weather From the Moon

NASA January 09, 2014 The latest tool for checking space weather is an internet radio station fed by data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO. The radio station essentially operates in real time, receiving measurements of how much radiation the spacecraft is experiencing and converting those into a constant stream of music. The radiation levels determine which instrument is ... Read More »

Antares Blasts Off, Cygnus Heading to the Space Station

NASA January 09, 2014 NASA commercial partner Orbital Sciences Corporation launched its Cygnus cargo spacecraft aboard the Antares rocket at  1:07 p.m. EST Thursday from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia for the Orbital-1 cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. At the time of launch the station was flying about 260 ... Read More »

Update: Astronauts Finish ISS Repair Work

NASA December 24, 2013 (Updated Story) Following two spacewalks to replace a degraded pump module on the truss, or backbone, of the International Space Station, flight controllers in the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston successfully restarted the new pump Tuesday night. The pump module controls the flow of ammonia through cooling loops and radiators outside ... Read More »

Prime Asteroid Hunting Spacecraft is Ready for New Mission

NASA JPL December 19, 2013 NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE), a spacecraft that made the most comprehensive survey to date of asteroids and comets, has returned its first set of test images in preparation for a renewed mission. NEOWISE discovered more than 34,000 asteroids and characterized 158,000 throughout the solar system during its prime mission in 2010 ... Read More »

Billion Star-Mapping Satellite, Gaia – Lifts Off

ESA December 19, 2013 ESA’s Gaia mission blasted off this morning on a Soyuz rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on its exciting mission to study a billion suns. Gaia is destined to create the most accurate map yet of the Milky Way. By making accurate measurements of the positions and motions of 1% of the total population ... Read More »

Orbital Launch to the ISS Postponed – Critical Spacewalks Planned

NASA December 17, 2013 NASA managers are postponing the upcoming Orbital Sciences commercial cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station to proceed with a series of spacewalks to replace a faulty pump module on the space station. NASA Television will air a news briefing at 3 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Dec. 18 to preview the spacewalks. Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus ... Read More »

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