Recently in the Missions and Programs Category


Although the final observations of the Spitzer Warm Mission are currently scheduled for March 2019, it can continue operations through the end of the decade with no loss of photometric precision.

After spending nearly a year aboard the International Space Station -- conducting a host of biomedical and psychological research on the impacts of long-duration spaceflight on the human body, NASA's Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos wrapped up their historic mission on March 1 - with a safe parachute landing in Kazakhstan.

When you need to test hardware designed to operate in the vast reaches of space, you start in a vacuum chamber. NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland has many of them, but Vacuum Chamber 5 (VF-5) is special.

Improved collision warnings for its Earth observation missions means ESA controllers can now take more efficient evasive action when satellites are threatened by space junk.

Kepler Marks Five Years in Space

Five years ago NASA's Kepler Space Telescope rocketed into the night skies above Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida to find planets around other stars, called exoplanets, in search of potentially habitable worlds.

Dawn Gets Extra Time to Explore Vesta

NASA's Dawn mission has received official confirmation that 40 extra days have been added to its exploration of the giant asteroid Vesta, the second most massive object in the main asteroid belt. The mission extension allows Dawn to continue its scientific observations at Vesta until Aug. 26, while still arriving at the dwarf planet Ceres at the same originally scheduled target date in February 2015.

ESA's Herschel Space Observatory has studied the dusty belt around the nearby star Fomalhaut. The dust appears to be coming from collisions that destroy up to thousands of icy comets every day.

This is the second newsletter to the community regarding the 2009-2011 Planetary Science Decadal Survey. A great deal has happened since my first newsletter back in April.

NASA's Second Chance

Charlie Bolden is no stranger to space exploration but he is a newbie in the Administrator's suite and the strange ecology of Washington, DC interactions that the job entails. His first three days on the job have been abnormal with all the Apollo hoopla swirling through everyone's heads. Most of the time it is going to be far less glamorous.