February 21, 2017

Juno dives over Jupiter’s cloud tops with main engine still offline

February 2, 2017

NASA’s Juno spacecraft made a high-speed pass less than 3,000 miles over Jupiter’s turbulent clouds Thursday, taking dozens of pictures, measuring radiation and plasma waves, and peering deep inside the planet’s atmosphere, but officials still have not cleared the orbiter’s main engine for a planned maneuver to position the probe in its intended science orbit.

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx probe moonlights as asteroid sleuth

February 1, 2017

On course to collect specimens from asteroid Bennu after its launch last year, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will search this month for objects locked in orbits near Earth, a bonus science opportunity to locate possible fragments of the primordial building blocks that formed our home planet.

Cassini offers best-ever view of Saturn’s rings

January 30, 2017

A sequence of images captured by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft last month are the most detailed pictures ever taken of Saturn’s famous rings, revealing complex, unexplained bands and the movements of dozens of tiny icy moonlets spinning around the planet.

China sets November launch for lunar sample return mission

January 25, 2017

China plans to launch a robotic mission to return samples from the lunar surface, the first such mission in four decades, in November on top of the country’s new heavy-lift Long March 5 rocket, according to state media reports.

New Horizons to continue mission of discovery with Kuiper Belt encounter

January 22, 2017

Scientists planning the the next phase of NASA’s New Horizons mission, a robotic craft that completed the first exploration of Pluto in 2015, are going into the flyby of a frozen, faraway city-sized clump of rock on New Year’s Day 2019 armed with little knowledge of the target lurking around 4 billion miles from Earth.

Future of asteroid deflection mission to be decided soon

January 19, 2017

Decisions on the future of a joint robotic mission between NASA and the European Space Agency to demonstrate the ability to deflect an asteroid on a collision course with Earth have been put off until later this year after European governments declined to fully fund their part of the project in December.

Saturn’s shepherd moon Daphnis makes waves

January 19, 2017

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has captured the first close-up view of Daphnis, one of at least 62 moons found orbiting Saturn, plowing a path through the planet’s icy rings and raising waves in its wake.

Two asteroid missions get nod from NASA

January 11, 2017

NASA has selected two robotic missions to visit asteroids in the early 2020s from a field of proposed interplanetary probes, approving projects to explore a metallic relic from the early solar system and a half-dozen so-called Trojan objects left over from the formation of the outer planets.

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