ESA’s Gaia Mission Launches to Map the Milky Way

by Jason Major December 19, 2013

Early this morning, at 09:12 UTC, the cloudy pre-dawn sky above the coastal town of Kourou, French Guiana was brilliantly sliced by the fiery exhaust of a Soyuz VS06, which ferried ESA’s “billion-star surveyor” Gaia into space to begin its five-year mission to map the Milky Way. Ten minutes after launch, after separation of the first three […]

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An Unexpected Ending for Deep Impact

by Jason Major September 20, 2013

After almost 9 years in space that included an unprecedented July 4th impact and subsequent flyby of a comet, an additional comet flyby, and the return of approximately 500,000 images of celestial objects, NASA’s Deep Impact/EPOXI mission has officially been brought to a close. The project team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has reluctantly pronounced […]

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Endgame: GRAIL Spacecraft to Slam into Lunar Crater Rim on December 17

by Nancy Atkinson December 14, 2012

The GRAIL mission will come to a dramatic end on Monday as the two spacecraft will be commanded to crash into the rim of an unnamed crater near the Moon’s north pole. This is all according to plan, as the two spacecraft are running out of fuel after being in lunar orbit since New Year’s […]

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Curiosity Finds Evidence of An Ancient Streambed on Mars

by Nancy Atkinson September 27, 2012

NASA’s Curiosity rover found evidence for an ancient, flowing stream on Mars at a few sites, including the rock outcrop pictured here, which the science team has named “Hottah” after Hottah Lake in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Credit: NASA/JPL/Caltech The Curiosity rover has come across a place in Gale Crater where ankle-to-hip-deep water once vigorously flowed: […]

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NuSTAR Successfully Deploys Huge Mast

by Nancy Atkinson June 22, 2012

Nine days after launch — and right on schedule — the newest space mission has deployed its unique mast, giving it the ability to see the highest energy X-rays in our universe. The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, successfully deployed its lengthy 10-meter (33-foot) mast on June 21, and mission scientists say they are […]

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