Some time next year, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will descend to the boulder-strewn surface of asteroid Bennu, reach out with a robotic arm, and fetch a sample for return to Earth, but an initial survey of the space rock millions of miles from Earth suggests the robotic mission may have few suitable targets for the touch-and-go maneuver.
Emiliano Kargieman leads Satellogic, an Argentinian company founded in 2010 to develop a fleet of small satellites designed to cover the globe with high-resolution mapping images at least once every week, supplying data to customers in the oil and gas, agricultural and forestry, and government sectors.
NASA’s Mars Opportunity rover landed on Mars 15 years ago this week, but the long-lived robot remains out of action in the wake of a global dust storm last summer that caused it to lose power. Engineers are still trying to contact the spacecraft, sending commands and listening for any sort of response, but hopes are fading, a senior manager said Friday.
The most-used instrument on the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope is back in business after engineers on the ground determined a fault that halted the camera’s science observations earlier this month was caused by erroneous telemetry data, and was not a symptom of a hardware failure as initially suspected.
A new image captured minutes before NASA’s New Horizons probe zipped by a rocky object in the Kuiper Belt on New Year’s Day shows the dual-lobed world — nicknamed Ultima Thule — is covered with intriguing fractures and a large crater-like depression that could provide clues about the early history of the solar system.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket sporting human-rating upgrades such as new composite pressurant tanks briefly ignited its nine Merlin engines Thursday afternoon on a launch pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and SpaceX later declared the pre-launch milestone complete in preparation for a critical test flight with a commercial crew capsule as soon as late February.