October 22, 2018

Asteroid probe confirmed on good trajectory after Earth flyby

December 14, 2015

A Japanese space probe picked up just the right amount of speed when it flew by Earth earlier this month, using the planet’s gravity to slingshot toward an asteroid scientists think is a primordial leftover from the ancient solar system, mission managers said Monday.

With widespread salts and ices, Ceres in a class of its own

December 10, 2015

The dwarf planet Ceres turns out to be a world with untold wonders, with vivid bright spots likely made of dried mineral salts and hazes apparently triggered by daytime heating, drawing a comparison to comets and strikingly differentiating it from neighboring bodies in the asteroid belt.

Dawn spacecraft moves in for a close-up of Ceres

October 27, 2015

Entering the last chapter of an eight-year mission, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft is spiraling closer to the dwarf planet Ceres to its final planned orbit less than 235 miles from the icy world, a perch that will furnish fresh data to geologists eager to explain mysterious bright markings that have captivated scientists since the beginning of the year.

NASA turning to U.S. industry to build asteroid redirect craft

October 26, 2015

NASA is seeking proposals from U.S. satellite manufacturers interested in building the spacecraft bus for the agency’s initiative to pluck a boulder from an asteroid and drive it into lunar orbit, with plans to select multiple winners for study contracts next year.

Diverse destinations considered for new interplanetary probe

April 6, 2015

Science teams from across the United States have submitted 28 proposals for missions to explore the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, touch the asteroid-like satellites orbiting Mars, visit unseen worlds and hunt for objects that could strike Earth one day.

NASA opts to grab a boulder, not the whole asteroid

March 25, 2015

After an extended review, NASA has opted to forgo capturing a small asteroid as an interim step on the road to sending astronauts to Mars. Instead, the agency will focus on robotically plucking a sizable boulder from the surface of an asteroid and returning it to the vicinity of the moon for analysis by spacewalking astronauts in the mid 2020s.

Japan’s Hayabusa 2 asteroid mission checks out

March 9, 2015

Three months into an interplanetary cruise expected to last three-and-a-half years, Japan’s Hayabusa 2 probe is in good health as it begins an ion-powered pursuit of an asteroid to return a piece of it to Earth.

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