ESA’s Rosetta Mission sets November 12th as the Landing Date for Philae

by Tim Reyes September 27, 2014

ESA Rosetta mission planners have selected November 12th, one day later than initially planned, for the historic landing of Philae on a comet’s surface. The landing on 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko will be especially challenging for the washing machine-sized lander. While mission scientists consider their choice of comet for the mission to be an incredibly good one for scientific investigation and […]

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Rosetta’s Philae Lander: A Swiss Army Knife of Scientific Instruments

by Tim Reyes September 22, 2014

When traveling to far off lands, one packs carefully. What you carry must be comprehensive but not so much that it is a burden. And once you arrive, you must be prepared to do something extraordinary to make the long journey worthwhile. The previous Universe Today article “How do you land on a Comet?” described Philae’s landing technique on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. […]

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‘Avalanche’ Risk Higher Than Thought For Asteroid Landings: Study

by Elizabeth Howell July 5, 2013

Imagine plunking your spacecraft down on an asteroid. The gravity would be small. The surface would be uneven. The space rock might be noticeably spinning, complicating your maneuvering. Humans have done it with robotic spacecraft before. The first time was in 2001, when NASA made a stunning landing with the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft on Eros — […]

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Curiosity’s Landing Leftovers

by Jason Major March 2, 2013

During its “seven minutes of terror” landing on August 6, 2012, NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory dropped quite a few things down onto the Martian surface: pieces from the cruise stage, a heat shield, a parachute, the entry capsule’s backshell, a sky crane, one carefully-placed rover (obviously) and also eight tungsten masses — weights used for […]

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Neil Armstrong, First Man on the Moon, Dies at 82

by Jason Major August 25, 2012

Former NASA astronaut Neil A. Armstrong was born in Wapakoneta, Ohio, on August 5, 1930 Today we mourn the loss of a true hero and icon of a generation, if not an entire century: Neil Alden Armstrong, former NASA astronaut and first person to set foot on the Moon, has passed away due to complications […]

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