Highlights from the 2015 Geneva Motor Show

Spacecraft

Artist's view of the interior of Enceladus (Image: NASA/JPL)

In science, it's often the case that solving one mystery just raises more questions. Take Saturn's moon Enceladus. For almost a decade, scientists have been puzzled by the gossamer plumes that waft up from its surface. Data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft now indicates that these may might be due to present-day hydrothermal activity in the vast ocean beneath the crust of the frozen moon, raising the possibility that Enceladus may harbor life.  Read More

Artist's concept of the space drogue (Image: NASA)

Getting to Earth from the International Space Station (ISS) by jumping out of an airlock with a parachute may seem daft, but a group of students are trying just that with a CubeSat. According to NASA, TechEdSat-4, which was jettisoned from the space station on March 3, has reached its designated orbit, where it will use a parachute-like "exo-brake" to slow it down enough to safely re-enter the Earth's atmosphere.  Read More

Artist's concept of Dawn approaching Ceres (Image: JPL/NASA)

NASA's Dawn spacecraft added another trophy today to the conquest of space as it went into orbit around Ceres. According to the space agency, the unmanned probe arrived at about 4:39 am PST and is currently circling the dwarf planet at an altitude of about 38,000 miles (61,000 km) – making it not only the first spacecraft to reach a dwarf planet, but also the first to orbit two extraterrestrial bodies.  Read More

Artist's concept of the UK Spaceport, highlighting key issues (Image: Department of Transp...

The UK government has shortened its list of potential sites for Europe's first commercial spaceport. It is hoped that the spaceport will be operational by the year 2018, ready to ride the wave of a new breed of commercial spaceplane that will carry paying customers and even satellites into low-Earth orbit.  Read More

The LISA Pathfinder is composed of a science and propulsion module (Image: Airbus)

A European Space Agency (ESA) mission aimed at testing new technologies for understanding the universe has left Britain for final testing before being launched into space. The LISA Pathfinder mission's propulsion and science modules left Airbus Defence and Space for Industrie Anlagen Betriebs Gesellschaft (IABG) in Germany for final tests before shipment to the ESA launch site in Kourou, French Guiana, where they will be shot into low-Earth orbit atop a Vega rocket.  Read More

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

Two mysterious white spots come into resolution in this latest Dawn image of Ceres (Image:...

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has snapped another image of the dwarf planet Ceres, bringing into focus two mysterious white spots present on the face of the rocky body that appear to exist within the same basin. The spacecraft and its handlers back on Earth are currently preparing for capture into Ceres' orbit, which is expected to take place on March 12.  Read More

Artist's concept of MAVEN, which recently got a little closer to the surface of Mars (Imag...

NASA’S Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) orbiter has taken a deep dive into the Martian atmosphere. The first of a series of five planned deep-dip maneuvers by the unmanned spacecraft, its purpose was to gather information about the lower limits of the upper regions of the Red Planet's atmosphere.  Read More

The glass facade of the Spaceport (Photo: Spaceport America)

The past year has been a mixed bag for the commercial space industry, with successful launches from the likes of SpaceX, but also a few mishaps, including a tragic Virgin Galactic crash that claimed the life of one pilot. That last incident in particular has led some politicians in New Mexico to question the future of Spaceport America, where Virgin is an anchor tenant, and to even call for the US$200 million facility to be put up for sale.  Read More

The moons Nix (orange diamond) and Hydra (yellow diamond) as seen by New Horizons (Image: ...

As NASA's New Horizons deep space probe heads for its July rendezvous with Pluto, it's not only revealing the secrets of the dwarf planet, but of its moons as well. On the 85th anniversary of Pluto's discovery, the unmanned spacecraft sent back its first look at the small moons Nix and Hydra. Taken by New Horizons’ Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), the images will help space scientist better understand their orbits.  Read More

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