NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has just begun Sol 2107 science duties. The robot is heading back to the “Great Red Spot,” reports Roger Wiens, a geochemist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. “Unhampered by the storm, Curiosity is heading back toward a site visited on Sol 2005 for what we hope will […]

The European Space Agency (ESA) has issued an annual report on the status of the space environment. The report focuses on the time evolution of cataloged and asserted objects in terms of number, mass, and area as well as addressing the global adherence to space debris mitigation measures. Summary statements A number of summary statements […]

China’s state-run Xinhua news agency reports that the country is accelerating its timetable for a space station. Citing Yang Liwei, director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office and the country’s first astronaut, the station’s core section is expected to be launched in 2020. Two experiment modules of the space station will be sent into […]

  NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is performing Sol 2104 duties. Scott Guzewich, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland reports that a primary goal for recent planning was for the robot to approach its next drill location on the Vera Rubin Ridge. To do so, Curiosity is paralleling the north […]

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) Hayabusa2 has been busy reconnoitering its target asteroid, Ryugu. Brian May, the lead guitarist from the British rock band, Queen, has created a stereoscopic image of Ryugu from photographs captured with the Optical Navigation Camera onboard Hayabusa2, so that the asteroid can be viewed in three dimensions. Planetary defense […]

An international team has taken a hard look at the potential existence and utilization of “minimoons.” The minimoon source population, the set of objects from which minimoons are drawn, are Earth’s co-orbital asteroids. Within a few years, they suggest, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) will either begin to regularly detect temporarily-captured orbiters (TCOs) — […]

When it comes to planetary protection and assuring valid and safe scientific exploration for extraterrestrial life, there’s a new space sheriff in town. The job comes with central celestial duties: Avoid forward contamination of other worlds by terrestrial organisms carried on spacecraft. Also, prevent toting back to Earth “creature features” or bioactive molecules in samples […]

  “Curiosity is back on top of the Vera Rubin Ridge once more, having completed our drive over the weekend as we move toward our next drilling target in the ‘Pettegrove Point’ geological member,” reports Scott Guzewich, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “After climbing back onto the ridge, […]

  A just-released study recommends that NASA should update policies that protect planets and other solar system bodies during space exploration missions. The current process for planetary protection policy development is inadequate, the report explains, and also notes that private-sector space exploration activities are another reason why planetary protection policies need re-examination. The new report […]

Update July 3: Preliminary Findings from the Nautilus Meteorite Hunt “In July 2018, Exploration Vessel Nautilus attempted to locate and recover fragments of a rare, large meteorite fall that was recently observed in NOAA’s Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of Washington. An overnight multibeam sonar survey on July 1 attempted to identify […]

Griffith Observatory Event