Space travel is a constant exercise in forward planning, with mission control thinking years and sometimes decades in advance. A case in point is NASA's InSight Mars lander, which is scheduled to touchdown on the Red Planet on September 26, 2016. This may be more than a year away, but the space agency is already moving its Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) into a new orbit to provide communications support during the landing.
NASA has released a global color map of the dwarf planet Ceres showing the highs and lows of topography on the rocky body's surface. The new map comes with new official names for many of the craters and other geological features dotting the surface of the planet, named for religious figures from a variety of cultures approved by the International Astronomical Union.
NASA will soon be uploading 6K video clips of the International Space Station (ISS) thanks to the delivery of a RED Epic Dragon super high resolution camera, the same model that was used to shoot Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy. In the coming months, the Epic Dragon will bring viewers closer to the space station than ever before.
NASA has detailed fresh discoveries and released the latest batch of images from New Horizons. Sent as the unmanned probe hurtles away from Pluto and out of the Solar System, the new images and readings show a haze that may be the source of Pluto's reddish color and exotic ice that flows like glaciers. The space agency has also shared a spectacular New Horizons flyby simulation video.
NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) has completed its critical design review – a major stepping stone on the way to becoming certified for manned spaceflight. Once complete, the SLS will be the most powerful launch vehicle ever constructed, capable of taking humans to hitherto unreachable destinations including a manned mission Mars.
submarines to bouncing rovers, NASA is never short of a crazy idea or
two, and now the agency is looking to explore the potential of using
"windbots" to investigate the skies above Jupiter. The
agency has invested US$100,000 of NIAC funds in the project, which
could potentially revolutionize how we gain data on some of the most
inhospitable planets in our solar system.
The odds of finding a habitable planet outside of our Solar System got a
significant boost today, as NASA announced the discovery of the most
Earthlike world orbiting the most Sunlike star yet. Named Kepler-425b,
the new world located 1,400 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus
was detected by the Kepler space telescope. It has been characterized
by the space agency as "Earth's bigger, older cousin."
A Russian-made Soyuz
TMA-17M blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome last night, as it undertook a journey to the
International Space Station. Aboard the spacecraft was NASA astronaut
Kjell Lindgren, Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) cosmonaut
Oleg Kononenko and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
astronaut Kimiya Yui. The initial launch
proceeded without incident, with the rocket successfully reaching preliminary staging orbit. However,
soon after reaching space it became apparent that the spacecraft's
port solar array had failed to open.
NASA's Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) has returned a breathtaking image of planet Earth from a distance of roughly one million miles from the homeworld. The image captures the full disk of our planet showing a stunning sunbathed vista of blue oceans and swirling clouds, with glimpses of the North and Central America land masses.
Having already provided us with numerous insights into the nature of the dwarf planet Ceres, NASA's Dawn spacecraft is ready to move into a new, lower mapping orbit, which will provide the most detailed views so far.