Tag Archives: spacecraft

Old NASA spacecraft points to new evidence of watery plumes over Europa

Old NASA spacecraft points to new evidence of watery plumes over EuropaA fresh look at data from a 1997 flyby of Jupiter’s moon, Europa, suggests that NASA’s Galileo spacecraft flew directly through a watery plume, raising hopes of probing the jets for signs of life around the second planet from Earth. The revelations Monday came after scientists revisited a puzzling reading from an instrument aboard Galileo, which in 1995 became the first spacecraft to enter the orbit of a gas giant planet. What they found was the most direct evidence yet of plumes emerging from Europa’s frozen surface, researchers reported in the scientific journal Nature Astronomy.



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NASA spacecraft will have company all the way to Mars

NASA spacecraft will have company all the way to MarsCAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA's next Mars explorer is going to have company all the way to the red planet: a couple of puny yet groundbreaking sidekicks.



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Spacecraft for detecting 'Marsquakes' set for rare California launch

Spacecraft for detecting 'Marsquakes' set for rare California launchBy Steve Gorman LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – After decades exploring the surface of Mars, NASA is set for the weekend launch of its first robotic lander dedicated to studying the red planet’s deep interior, with instruments to detect planetary seismic rumblings never measured anywhere but Earth. The Mars InSight probe is due for liftoff on Saturday before dawn from Vandenberg Air Force Base near the central California coast, treating early risers across a wide region to the luminous spectacle of the first interplanetary spacecraft to be launched from the U.S. West Coast. The lander will be carried aloft for NASA and its Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) atop a powerful, 19-story Atlas 5 rocket from the fleet of United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co. InSight will be released about 90 minutes after launch on a 301 million-mile (548 km) flight to Mars, and is due to reach its destination six months later, landing on a flat, smooth plain close to the planet’s equator called the Elysium Planitia.



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SpaceX Has Launched the U.S. Government's Secretive 'Zuma' Spacecraft Into Orbit

SpaceX Has Launched the U.S. Government's Secretive 'Zuma' Spacecraft Into OrbitSpaceX successfully completed its first launch of 2018 Sunday night, sending a highly secretive U.S. government spacecraft into orbit before carrying out an upright landing of the rocket’s first stage.



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Scientists to investigate if cigar-shaped asteroid could be an alien spacecraft

Scientists to investigate if cigar-shaped asteroid could be an alien spacecraftA team of researchers, including Stephen Hawking, is investigating whether the first known object from outside the solar system contains the first sign of life beyond our planet.



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Why Did NASA Wake Up This Interstellar Spacecraft After 33 Years?

Why Did NASA Wake Up This Interstellar Spacecraft After 33 Years?Actually, it's awesome.



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Mars Has a Mysterious "Tail," According to New Find From NASA Spacecraft

Mars Has a Mysterious "Tail," According to New Find From NASA SpacecraftSo wonderfully weird.



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Farewell Cassini: Saturn spacecraft makes fiery, final dive

Farewell Cassini: Saturn spacecraft makes fiery, final diveCAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA's Cassini spacecraft disintegrated in the skies above Saturn on Friday in a final, fateful blaze of cosmic glory, following a remarkable journey of 20 years.



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Watch Live: NASA's Cassini Spacecraft Self-Destructs in 'Grand Finale' on Saturn

Watch Live: NASA's Cassini Spacecraft Self-Destructs in 'Grand Finale' on SaturnIt will make its final plunge into Saturn on Friday morning



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Cassini spacecraft to end its mission tomorrow with a 70,000mph death plunge into Saturn's atmosphere

Cassini spacecraft to end its mission tomorrow with a 70,000mph death plunge into Saturn's atmosphereNasa scientists are preparing to kill off the Cassini space probe with a spectacular suicidal dive into Saturn's atmosphere on Friday. The 22ft robot craft will break into fragments and burn up as it ploughs into the ringed planet's cloud tops, ending a 20-year mission that cost £2.9 billion. Cassini was launched in 1997 and took seven years to travel two billion miles to Saturn, before embarking on a 13-year journey of discovery that delivered a wealth of scientific data on the planet and its moons. The north pole of Saturn's icy moon Enceladus is seen in an image from the Cassini spacecraft on 14 October 2015 Credit: NASA Now with the spacecraft running out of fuel, and soon to become impossible to steer, controllers have chosen to bring the mission to a fiery end. Scientists expect to lose contact with the probe at around 12.55pm UK time as Cassini begins to feel the effects of drag from Saturn's atmosphere and starts to tumble, causing its dish antenna to lose sight of Earth. At this point the craft will be roughly 930 miles above the planet's cloud tops. From then on, Cassini will start to burn like a meteor and tear apart. Within two minutes of signal loss the probe will be completely consumed. In brief | Nasa’s Cassini mission During the dive Cassini will be travelling at around 70,000mph. Its plunge to destruction will mark the end of a series of 22 daring orbits that allowed the probe to slip between Saturn and its rings. Because Saturn is so far away, the spacecraft's last gasp transmissions will take 83 minutes to reach Earth. Earl Maize, Cassini project manager at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said: "The spacecraft's final signal will be like an echo. It will radiate across the solar system for nearly an hour and a half after Cassini itself has gone. "Even though we'll know that, at Saturn, Cassini has already met its fate, its mission isn't truly over for us on Earth as long as we're still receiving its signal." Cassini: Getting to Saturn Right up until it beams its final signals to Earth eight of the spacecraft's 12 scientific instruments will be gathering data from the top of Saturn's atmosphere and transmitting information about its structure and composition. Cassini's cameras will capture their final images of looming Saturn and its moons several hours earlier. They will be radioed to Nasa's Deep Space Network antenna complex in Canberra, Australia, before being posted on the mission website. Cassini: The spacecraft A high point of the mission came in January 2005 when a small European Space Agency lander called Huygens detached from Cassini and descended to the surface of Saturn's largest moon Titan. The probe touched down on a pebble-strewn surface with the consistency of wet sand. It was the first successful landing on a world in the outer solar system. Are there lifeforms on Enceladus? | Dr Daniel Brown of Nottingham Trent University analyses the new research As it parachuted down through Titan's thick nitrogen and methane atmosphere, Huygens captured images of features that looked like shore lines and river systems on Earth. Scientists now know Titan has lakes and seas filled with liquid methane and ethane. Another key discovery made by Cassini was a global ocean under the icy surface of another moon, Enceladus, that may sustain life. An image of earth taken by Cassini from within Saturn's rings Credit: PA The decision to send Cassini to its fiery grave was taken in order to avoid any chance of the spacecraft crashing onto Titan or Enceladus and possibly contaminating the potentially life-hosting worlds with Earth bugs. British scientists played a major role in the mission, wholly or partly contributing several of the spacecraft's instruments. Open University planetary scientist Professor Simon Green, who helped develop Huygens' surface science package, said: "The Cassini-Huygens mission has transformed our understanding of the second largest planet in our solar system, Saturn, with its vast ring system and its unique moons. "Landing on Titan revealed a cold, but surprisingly Earth-like landscape, shaped by the flow of methane rather than water, and the icy volcanoes of Enceladus hint at a habitat for life below its frozen surface. "The scientific legacy of the mission will extend long beyond its fiery end in the clouds of Saturn." Google doodle marks Cassini's final mission 01:19  



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