NASA’s InSight lander is part of NASA’s budget-minded Discovery program, but it’s accomplishing a surprising number of “firsts” on Mars in spite of the smaller budget. It was the first mission to take seismic readings on another planet and the first to record the sound of Martian winds. Now, it’s got a shot at being the first to study the internal temperature of Mars — NASA’s plan to nudge the lander’s subsurface probe with the robot arm appears to be working. InSight landed at Elysium Planitia on Mars back in
NASA is still aiming to get the Perseverance rover on its way to Mars this summer in spite of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but the Curiosity rover is still setting records and doing science on the red planet even if it has to wait longer for some company. Curiosity recently took a new Mars selfie immediately before climbing its steepest slope yet. NASA has also shared a video detailing how the rover takes all those impressive selfies. Curiosity landed on Mars in Gale Crater back in 2012. For the first
SpaceX has dealt with its fair share of setbacks as it works toward crewed NASA flight certification. One of the company’s Dragon 2 spacecraft exploded during testing last year, but SpaceX managed to address that potential flaw surprisingly quickly. Now, the company’s launch timeline could be undone by a seemingly minor failure during an otherwise successful mission. NASA and SpaceX are currently examining the loss of an engine during the March 18th Starlink satellite launch, and the outcome could delay the first crewed launch yet again. The March 18th Falcon
NASA’s Mars 2020 mission is finally taking shape. The rover finally has a name — Perseverance, and engineers have wrapped up testing on the rover’s flying companion. The Mars Helicopter just spun its blades on Earth for the last time. When next it spins up, it’ll be on the red planet. NASA did not design the Mars 2020 mission or Perseverance rover around the Mars Helicopter, but it’s making the trip nonetheless. The helicopter is a technology demonstration, not an integral part of the mission. However, it could pave the
The chronically delayed James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is looking at another setback, but this time it’s completely out of NASA’s control. The agency has announced it will pause work on the telescope immediately due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The launch is still currently on the books for approximately one year from now, but any this delay will likely push the launch back yet again. This also calls into question the timeline for other projects like the Perseverance Mars rover. The first hints of a new delay came during
NASA has scaled back work on the James Webb Space Telescope in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but the Northrop Grumman team took a big step toward getting it into space last month. In an early March test, engineers deployed the telescope’s multi-segment mirror in its final configuration for the first time. It’s quite a sight to behold, but we might have to wait longer than expected to see it in action. The Webb telescope is currently in a cleanroom at Northrop Grumman Space Systems in Redondo Beach, California.