NASA, Partner Establish New Research Group for Mars Sample Return Program – NASA Mars Exploration

Mars Sample Retrieval Lander Concept Illustration: This illustration shows a concept for a proposed NASA Sample Retrieval Lander that would carry a small rocket (about 10 feet, or 3 meters, tall) called the Mars Ascent Vehicle to the Martian surface. Credits: NASA / JPL-Caltech. Download image › Sixteen scientists from the US, Europe, Canada, … Read more

NASA to buy 5 more astronaut missions from SpaceX

NASA plans to buy five more SpaceX crewed flights to the International Space Station. The agency announced a “sole source modification” to its contract with SpaceX, which operates the only American system currently carrying NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station. The expected value of the modified contract was not disclosed in an … Read more

NASA’s metal asteroid mission’s launch delayed 7 weeks by software glitch

NASA’s Psyche asteroid probe will wait several more weeks for launch. The agency announced on Tuesday (May 24) that a software problem with the Psyche spacecraft would delay the launch to at least Sept. 20, roughly seven weeks after the expected Aug. 1 launch. The issue was first reported (opens in new tab) by Spaceflight … Read more

United Nations celebrates Mars missions on new postage stamps

With more countries operating spacecraft on and around Mars than ever before, the United Nations is celebrating human achievement at the Red Planet with its latest release of postage stamps. The United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA) has issued six commemorative stamps and three souvenir sheets themed to the Mars missions launched by the United Arab … Read more

Scientists Think They Know What Causes Mars’s Planet-Encompassing Dust Storms

Mars is well-known for its seasonal dust storms, which can sometimes grow to encompass the entire planet. In June 2018, the dust storms became so severe that they obscured most of the planet’s surface, causing NASA to lose contact with Opportunity, which eventually proved fatal to the record-breaking rover. Understanding these storms and what causes … Read more

For The First Time, Scientists Have Grown Plants in Moon Dirt. It Didn’t Go Great

When the Artemis program returns humans to the Moon in (hopefully) a few years’ time, there are considerable logistics that need to be addressed for keeping such fragile beings alive in such a hostile environment. Not least is the issue of food. Space agencies involved in the International Space Station are very experienced, by now, … Read more

CAPSTONE cubesat moon mission’s launch delayed to May 31

A tiny moon-bound spacecraft will wait at least a few more days to launch. The liftoff of the CAPSTONE mission, short for “Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment,” has been pushed four days to no earlier than May 31, NASA announced this week. “We will continuously evaluate the date for the first … Read more

DARPA wants nuclear rocket ideas for military missions near the moon

The US military is ready to take the next step in developing a nuclear rocket to help monitor Earth-moon space, an area it has deemed a high strategic priority. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced May 4 that it’s seeking proposals for the second and third phases of a project to design, develop … Read more

Untouched Moon Fragments Kept in Storage For 50 Years Are Finally Being Studied

When the Apollo 15 and 17 missions returned to Earth with pieces of the Moon in 1971 and 1972, some of the samples were deliberately set aside for the future. Flash forward half a century and these samples are finally being studied. In 2019, shortly after an upcoming Artemis mission to the Moon was announced, … Read more

Exploration Extended for 8 Planetary Science Missions – NASA Solar System Exploration

Following a thorough evaluation, NASA has extended the planetary science missions of eight of its spacecraft due to their scientific productivity and potential to deepen our knowledge and understanding of the solar system and beyond. These missions have been selected for continuation, assuming their spacecraft remain healthy: Mars Odyssey Mars Orbiter Reconnaissance … Read more