2015 Geneva Auto Show

Asteroid

Ceres from 25,000 mi (40,000 km) away (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)

As NASA’s Dawn spacecraft makes its final approach to Ceres, the ion-propelled spacecraft is sending the best images yet with more details about the surface of the dwarf planet. The images from Dawn have shown the presence of numerous craters and unusual bright spots that scientist hope will provide clues as to not only how Ceres formed and if it is still active, but the early history of the Solar System as well.  Read More

The CubeSats would hitch a ride with ESA’s Asteroid Impact Mission (Image:ESA/APL)

CubeSats offer a way to get into space on the cheap. They're compact, inexpensive, and they can piggyback on larger launch payloads to get into orbit. The trouble is, this piggybacking is often like trying to hitchhike cross country on a ride that only goes to the edge of town. The European Space Agency is widening the scope a little by opening a competition for CubeSats to ride into deep space on its Asteroid Impact Mission (AIM).  Read More

Asteroid 2004 BL86 and its moon (Image: NASA)

You may not have noticed, but the Earth had a close shave on Monday as an asteroid with its own moon made a cosmic near miss. As it passed within 3.1 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon, NASA's 230-foot-wide Deep Space Network captured radar images of asteroid 2004 BL86 and its tiny satellite.  Read More

The latest images have 30 percent better resolution than those captured by Hubble (Image: ...

The dwarf planet Ceres has come into sharper focus with NASA's Dawn spacecraft sending back the best images yet of the asteroid. Shot on January 25 from a distance of 147,000 mi (237,000 km) as the unmanned probe closes in for its March rendezvous, the resolution was 30 percent better than the best images obtained by the Hubble space telescope.  Read More

Artist's concept of Dawn approaching Vesta under ion drive (Image: NASA)

The last place you'd expect to find signs of water erosion is in the Asteroid Belt, but researchers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory say that data collected during the Dawn spacecraft's visit to Vesta indicates that it not only once had water, but that it formed gullies and other erosion features on its surface.  Read More

Artist's concept of Dawn firing its ion engine (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Like the end of a very long and eventful road trip, NASA's Dawn spacecraft has its main goal in sight. The space agency says that the unmanned probe has emerged from behind the Sun as it uses its ion propulsion to catch up with the dwarf planet Ceres in the asteroid belt and that mission control was able to re-establish contact. The craft has received instructions for executing a series of maneuvers that will take it on its final approach phase, which will end with it going into orbit around Ceres.  Read More

Artist's concept of asteroids passing Earth (Image: ESA/P Carril)

If there were any dinosaurs around, they could tell you that an asteroid impact can ruin your whole day. But if we did learn that one was actually going to strike the Earth in a month, what would the authorities do? To find out, the European Space Agency held its first ever mock asteroid drill to work on solutions and identify problems in how to handle such a catastrophe.  Read More

Zoomed-in image of Ceres taken on Dec. 1, 2014 with the Dawn spacecraft's framing camera (...

The Dawn spacecraft has lifted the veil on another corner of the Solar System by taking its best image yet of the dwarf planet Ceres. The nine-pixel-wide image was taken from a distance of 740,000 mi (1.2 million km) from Ceres as part of the final calibration of Dawn's science camera as the unmanned probe approaches the 590 mi (950 km) wide planetoid, which it will rendezvous with and orbit in March of next year.  Read More

Artist's concept of Haybusa2 taking a surface sample on JU3 (Image: JAXA)

Sometimes it seems as if the history of spaceflight is a long exercise in oneupsmanship with each agency trying to top the others. Case in point is Japan's Hayabusa2 mission, which, following the landing of Philae on on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko last month, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) confirmed was successfully launched today at 1:22:04 pm JST from the Tanegashima Space Center on a mission to not only land on an asteroid, but to bomb it.  Read More

The proposals are designed to support NASA's deep space missions, such as that which Orion...

NASA is preparing to launch its Orion spacecraft in December and its Space Launch System (SLS) is scheduled to fly by 2018. However, impressive as this is, more is needed if buyer's regret isn't to set in. To avoid this, the space agency is asking for proposals to develop new technologies to send astronauts to the asteroids and Mars using "sustainable, evolvable, multi-use space capabilities."  Read More

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