October 23, 2017

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.

Cassini results still keeping scientists busy

October 19, 2017

Scientists examining data from the Cassini mission’s final months reported this week unexpected measurements of Saturn’s gravity field and outer atmosphere, suggesting they may have to revisit theories about the planet’s rings and the forces that generate magnetic fields.

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.

Scientists firm up flyby plan for New Horizons’s next destination

September 21, 2017

Now more than two years outbound from its historic encounter with Pluto, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is on target for a fleeting flyby less than 2,200 miles from 2014 MU69, an icy, city-sized world set to become the most distant object ever visited, just after midnight Jan. 1, 2019, on the U.S. East Coast. Scientists now say the probe may be able to pursue another destination some time in the 2020s.

Cassini crashes into Saturn, ending 20-year mission

September 15, 2017

Dutifully beaming back data to the very end, NASA’s long-lived Cassini probe slammed into Saturn’s atmosphere at some 77,000 mph Friday, blazing like a shooting star as it was ripped apart and incinerated in the final chapter of an enormously successful mission.

Cassini races toward fiery mission-ending plunge into Saturn

September 14, 2017

Thirteen years after reaching Saturn, NASA’s nuclear-powered Cassini spacecraft raced through its 294th and final orbit Thursday, collecting priceless data while hurtling toward a kamikaze-like plunge into the ringed planet’s atmosphere Friday, going out in a blaze of glory to wrap up an “insanely” successful mission.

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