March 28, 2017

Scientists say thinning atmosphere drove the drying and cooling of Mars

March 27, 2017

Data collected by NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft in its first two years at Mars confirm suspicions that the solar wind is blasting away the planet’s atmosphere and helped transform the world from a warmer, wetter and potentially habitable world into the barren landscape seen today, scientists said.

Rosetta’s comet shows scars from swing through inner solar system

March 22, 2017

Scientists examining imagery from Europe’s Rosetta spacecraft have logged numerous changes to the face of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, from collapsing cliffs to a growing crack through the comet’s neck that could foretell the eventual unraveling of the city-sized icy world.

Europe’s ExoMars spacecraft begins lowering its orbit

March 20, 2017

The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, a Russian-launched, European-built spacecraft that arrived at Mars in October, is starting to dip into the upper reaches of the red planet’s atmosphere in a year-long “aerobraking” campaign place the observatory in the right position to hunt for methane, an indicator of potential biological activity.

Perils and discoveries lie ahead for long-lived Saturn orbiter

March 11, 2017

Scientists are bracing for a blitz of discoveries in the last six months of Cassini’s mission at Saturn, when the plutonium-powered robot will repeatedly ram through an unexplored gap in the planet’s famous rings, then make a destructive plunge into the atmosphere in September.

Q&A with Earl Maize, Cassini project manager (members only)

March 9, 2017

Earl Maize, who leads the Cassini mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, started working on the Saturn orbiter project in 1992. In September, the spacecraft will take an intentional plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere, gaining unprecedented up-close measurements and ending a 13-year odyssey round the ringed planet.

NASA spacecraft steers clear of Martian moon Phobos

March 4, 2017

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.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft to remain in current orbit around Jupiter

February 21, 2017

Concerns about the health of the Juno spacecraft’s main engine have compelled NASA managers to keep the research probe in its current arcing, high-altitude orbit around Jupiter, a decision that will delay the full science return from the $1.1 billion mission but should still allow it to meet all predetermined objectives.

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