April 25, 2018

Asteroid missions on track to reach their destinations in 2018

January 18, 2018

Pioneering spacecraft from NASA and the Japanese space agency promise to reveal two unexplored asteroids later this year, officials said Wednesday, beginning surveys that will culminate in daring descents to capture samples for return to Earth, where eager scientists await a hands-on look at the specimens.

NASA’s Dawn mission gears up for close look at Ceres

October 20, 2017

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will remain at Ceres for the rest of its mission, heading closer to the asteroid belt’s largest resident than ever before to obtain new measurements of ice, salts and a tenuous intermittent atmosphere detected around the dwarf planet, the space agency announced Thursday.

Asteroid-bound probe returns Earth-moon family portrait

October 12, 2017

Ten days after a swingby to receive a gravitational boost toward its asteroid target, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft turned one of its cameras back toward Earth, resolving its bluish home planet hanging in the void of space accompanied by the moon.

Scientists celebrate 10th anniversary of Dawn mission’s launch

September 27, 2017

In the ten years since its launch from Cape Canaveral, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has orbited the two largest worlds in the asteroid belt and overcome defective components that threatened to derail the mission on its 4 billion-mile voyage, discovering unexpectedly¬†rich geologic tapestries suggesting both destinations have a watery past.

Earlier launch of NASA’s Psyche mission touted as cost-saving measure

May 26, 2017

A NASA spacecraft set to explore a metallic asteroid for the first time will launch in 2022, a year earlier than originally planned, and reach its destination in 2026, four years ahead of schedule, giving ground teams a shorter wait for the mission’s scientific payoff and shaving $100 million off the project’s total cost, officials said Wednesday.

Gravitational wave testbed repurposed as comet dust detector

April 26, 2017

In the final months of Europe’s LISA Pathfinder mission, scientists have found an unexpected use for the trailblazing testbed for a future gravitational wave observatory by tracking the tiny dings made by microscopic particles that strike the spacecraft in deep space, exploiting the impacts to learn about the population of dust grains cast off by comets and asteroids across the solar system.

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