NASA spacecraft steers clear of Martian moon Phobos
NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft in orbit around Mars maneuvered out of the path of Phobos earlier this week after navigators predicted the spacecraft could run into the Martian moon in the near future, highlighting the challenge of tracking an international fleet of Mars probes set to double in size by 2021.
Pluto probe’s extended mission approved, but new Dawn destination denied
NASA managers formally approved the New Horizons mission another speedy encounter with an object at the frontier of the solar system, but denied a request from scientists to redirect the Dawn spacecraft to visit a third destination in the asteroid belt, opting to keep it in orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres, officials said Friday.
Solar wind blasting away Martian atmosphere
The solar wind, the million-mile-per-hour stream of charged particles blasted away from the sun, is slowly but surely stripping away Mars’ atmosphere and likely played a major role in turning the red planet from a habitable world in the distant past into the dry, frozen wasteland seen today, scientists said Thursday.