Credit: NAOC

Construction of China’s “big ear” is formally completed – the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope, or FAST in short-speak. The colossal FAST lies at a karst valley in Pingtang County of southwest China’s Guizhou Province. FAST is made up of more than 4,000 individual panels. SETI listening Scientists have described it as a super-sensitive “ear,” […]

Curiosity Navcam Left B image taken on Sol 1469, September 23, 2016. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

  NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now in Sol 1470 as researchers set in place a change of plans. A recent drive of the robot “went nicely,” reports Ryan Anderson, a planetary scientist at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona. “We are already about halfway to our next drill site!” Exposed stratigraphy An […]

SpaceX Dragon makes use of Supersonic Retro-Propulsion (SRP) to land on Mars. Credit: SpaceX

Elon Musk and his SpaceX rocketeers are blueprinting a plan to land humans on Mars in 2025 and to land payloads onto the Red Planet’s surface at each 26 month opportunity starting in 2018. A similar timeline may be pursued by other players. That as a given, a specially convened “ePanel” of Mars experts recently […]

Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 1464 September 18, 2016. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

    Now in Sol 1466, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover accomplished a successful second attempt to drill into Quela – but there was a timing issue during sample manipulation with the Collection and Handling for Interior Martian Rock Analysis (CHIMRA). That timing issue resulted in premature halting of the Sol 1465 sequence. Sieve new sample […]

Credit: Bob Sauls - XP4D/Explore Mars, Inc. (used with permission)

      Humans to Mars: Why, How, and When? That’s the front-and-center issue to be addressed today in a Congressional Briefing Panel, sponsored by Explore Mars, Inc. This webcast is set for today, Tuesday, September 20, 2016 starting at 10:00 am Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00).   Panelists John Grunsfeld- Moderator (Former NASA […]

Credit: IAC

The upcoming International Astronautical Congress (IAC) — to be held in Guadalajara, Mexico September 26-30 — has announced that, for the first time in IAC history, all Plenary Events are to be live broadcasted. For those eagerly awaiting the talk by SpaceX’s Elon Musk, his one-hour talk “Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species” will air on […]

Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover

    Now in Sol 1465, Curiosity’s Mars survey work is ongoing, with new imagery showing success for the robot’s drilling activities. The drill target is “Quela.” Incoming Curiosity imagery also points to what appears to be assembly of yet another “selfie” – a Mars mosaic that shows the current whereabouts of Curiosity and its […]

Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) taken on September 17, 2016, Sol 1463. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

  Now in Sol 1464, Curiosity’s Mars roving continues, although late last week the robot’s drilling activities did not complete as expected. The intended drill target is “Quela.” Given the drill issues, the plan focused on trying to understand and troubleshoot the problem while also doing remote sensing, reports Ryan Anderson, a planetary scientist at […]

Credit: CSU

China’s second space lab Tiangong-2 has blasted off at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China’s Gansu Province. Wu Ping, deputy director of China Manned Space Engineering Office, explains: “The main purpose of launching Tiangong-2 space lab is to receive the visit of the Shenzhou 11 manned spacecraft and to accomplish a medium-term stay of […]

Unveiling of "the Mars rock" at 1996 NASA press conference. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

  Back in 1996, I had the inside scoop about a rock from outer space. The claim of biogenic evidence for the rock star that is meteorite ALH84001 – possible indication of long-gone, fossil bacteria and chemical traces that might have come from bacteria on Mars.   For a reflective view on this saga, go […]

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