SpacecraftSub-orbital, orbital, lunar, interplanetary and interstellar vehicles designed to navigate space
Cue the Lawrence of Arabia theme. Actually, I prefer the soundtrack that the Mars Exploration Rover team used for this time-lapse video showing Opportunity’s 13-mile trek from Victoria crater to Endeavour crater.
October 13, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
Newly recognized "hollows" on the planet Mercury help to inform us about the origin, history and processes associated with some unusual landforms on the Moon.
October 08, 2011 | By Paul D. Spudis
What draws me to Titan is the mystery. After 50 years of robotic exploration most other objects in the solar system have given up their secrets, at least to a first order.
October 07, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
Among the list of things one expects to find while sifting through former President Bill Clinton's stuff, a lost moon rock might be low on the list.
September 23, 2011 | By Heather Goss
We seem to be in one of those periods in which basic reasons for doing what we do as a nation are called into question.
September 17, 2011 | By Paul D. Spudis
Part III: Resource Utilization Considerations In Part I and Part II of this series, I examined some of the operational and scientific issues associated with a human mission to a near Earth asteroid (NEO) and contrasted them with the simpler operations and greater scientific return of a mission to the Moon. To continue the discussion [...]
September 02, 2011 | By Paul D. Spudis
Part II: Scientific Considerations In my last post, I examined some of the operational considerations associated with a human mission to a near Earth asteroid and how it contrasted with the simpler, easier operations of lunar return. Here, I want to consider what we might do at this destination by focusing on the scientific activities [...]
September 01, 2011 | By Paul D. Spudis
Can a spacecraft hop its way to winning the Google Lunar X prize?
September 2011 | By Michael Belfiore
Part I: Operational Considerations The current controversy over the direction of our national space program has many dimensions but most of the discourse has focused on the means (government vs. commercial launch vehicles) not the ends (destinations and activities). Near-Earth objects (NEO, i.e., asteroids) became the next destination for human exploration as an alternative to [...]
August 31, 2011 | By Paul D. Spudis
The four orbiters are already taken, but thousands more shuttle-related items are still available—at no cost.
August 29, 2011 | By Mark Betancourt
These days, with so many satellite sensors looking down constantly from orbit, and so many ways to slice their data, it’s hard to remember that hurricanes used to arrive without much warning. Hurricane Irene is currently bearing down on the Turks and Caicos Islands, and may hit the east coast of the United States by [...]
August 23, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
The next pilots to fly a U.S. spacecraft may work for a private company.
August 05, 2011 | By Paul Hoversten
Over the years, spacecraft have seen plenty of dried-up riverbeds on Mars, along with rocks that formed in watery environments eons ago. No question about it, the Red Planet used to be wet. NASA can stop sending press announcements about water in the Martian past. We got it. Now scientists are reporting something much more [...]
August 04, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
The flood of new data from the Moon continues to enlighten and puzzle lunar scientists. Members of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera team have noticed an unusual landform on the far side of the Moon that was as unexpected as it might be significant. We’ve known for many years that early in its history, the [...]
August 03, 2011 | By Paul D. Spudis
Every research aircraft poses a question. Sometimes the answer is "forget it."
August 2011 | By The Editors
Launching two very different capsules—and a space race.
August 2011 | By Rebecca Maksel
Recently deceased John H. Marburger, former Science Advisor to President George W. Bush and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, had a long and distinguished career as a scientist, an administrator and public servant. I knew him through his advocacy and involvement in the development of the Vision for Space [...]
July 30, 2011 | By Paul D. Spudis
The shuttle has retired, but the astronauts haven’t.
July 26, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
Today is the 42nd anniversary of man’s landing on the Moon. The first step on the Moon – the step that “divided history” to use the words of the time – and the planting of the American flag there seems like a lifetime ago. As a matter of fact, it was. Tomorrow, the Space Shuttle [...]
July 19, 2011 | By Paul D. Spudis
Highlights from America's longest-lived space program.
July 08, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt