Here’s my new story and update on China’s next robotic trek to the Moon – while technical details are skimpy, this mission should sharpen the country’s lunar sample return program: China Poised to Launch Next Moon Mission on Thursday By Leonard David,’s Space Insider Columnist October 22, 2014 07:00am ET  

China’s Hainan launching site is approaching operational status. Early work on China’s newest spaceport is shown here in full swing with rocket assembly towers in view. Credit: China Space Website

China’s new launch complex is the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in Hainan province. Construction of that facility began in 2009 and is now completed. It will soon become operational, China’s People’s Daily reported last week. The center is designed to handle next-generation rockets, the lofting of large space station modules – as well as deep […]


Feeble but hanging on. That’s the diagnosis from China regarding the country’s Yutu moon rover. According to China’s Xinhua news agency, the lunar robot has undergone 11 periods of dormancy with its functions “gradually degrading,” said Yu Dengyun, deputy chief designer of China’s lunar probe mission. “Yutu has gone through freezing lunar nights under abnormal […]

China presses forward on its space station work. Credit: CMSE

A new story from me on China’s space program and potential for international cooperation:


ESA and its Rosetta mission partners are inviting you to suggest a name for the site where lander Philae will touch down on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on November 12. Got a name for the spot that the first soft landing of a human-made object on a comet will occur? The European Space Agency and its Rosetta […]

Credit: CASC

A new story of mine up on I’ve tried to piece together an upcoming China mission – little on official details at the moment:             China Readies Moon Mission for Launch Next Week  

One of many newly-discovered young volcanic deposits on the Moon (4.330°N, 33.750°E), this example is near the crater Maskelyne. The direction of sunlight is from the right and north is up. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

The Earth’s own Moon never fails to disappoint. New data made possible by the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft has identified many young volcanic deposits. A new paper, published in Nature Geoscience, presents 70 topographic anomalies, informally called Irregular Mare Patches, or IMPs. Furthermore, most of these occurrences were previously undocumented. The new discovery […]

The shadow knows! China’s Chang’e 3 landing site. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) continues to circle the Moon, with the LRO Camera (LROC) team snagging impressive images of the lunar terrain. Posted by J. Stopar of Arizona State University on October 9, a set of impressive images of China’s Chang’e 3 landing site is now available for your own surveillance. In December 2013, […]


Europe’s Rosetta mission to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is nearing a nail-biting moment – when the Philae lander is to be unleashed for a touchdown on the celestial wanderer. The primary landing site is landing site “J” – a spot that has relatively flat terrain and good solar illumination. There is a detailed timetable for the descent […]

Credit: Martha Sewall/Purestock/Thinkstock/Johns Hopkins University Press

Why Mars – NASA and the Politics of Space Exploration by W. Henry Lambright; Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland; $49.95 (hardcover); 2014. Wondering when humans will set boot on Mars? Author W. Henry Lambright has written an absorbing and detailed look at the long trail of robotic Mars exploration program from its origins to […]