Hayabusa2 is about to have a close up and personal experience with the asteroid Ryugu. In this mission the spacecraft will collect a bit of the asteroid and return to Earth.
New Horizons will make its next encounter on 1 January next year as it approaches the Kuiper Belt Object Ultima Thule, formerly known as 2014 MU69.
Orbital ATK is one of the commercial providers of transport services to the International Space Station (ISS) with its Cygnus spacecraft.
The Japanese and Russia are the only non-US nations currently routinely sending cargo to the ISS. ESA did a few missions with the ATV.
ESA is planing on launching the CHEOPS satellite later this year. It will be used to collect more accurate information on exoplanets from systems known to already have exoplanets.
NASA launched Juno to look at Jupiter in 2011 and since 2016 it has been sending back fantastic images of the Solar System’s biggest planet.
Space exploration drives a lot of technological development that has spinoffs for Earth-bound applications.
The week in space includes the launch of the Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket, the planned helicopter for Mars and the BepiColombo mission is getting closer to launch.
In the 1960s and 1970s the Soviet Union and the United States launched a number of spacecraft to Venus that greatly increased our understanding of Earth’s twin.
Venus doesn’t capture a lot of press time as it’s often overshadowed by the more hospitable Mars and the more photogenic planets of Saturn and Jupiter. It’s not all quiet around Venus, as JAXA has Akatsuki orbiting Earth’s twin and sending back some great images and building our understanding of Venus.
A short video highlighting some of the events in the last week in space, including this morning’s launch of Mars InSight.
Magnetars are a fascinating type of object that are really mind boggling. These incredibly powerful star remnants are worth giving a closer look.
This short video has a look at the current missions that are either on Mars or whizzing around it.
A wrap up of interesting space related news over the last week.
The European Space Agency (ESA) has released the second batch of data collected by the Gaia satellite revealing the positions of around 1.7 billion stars.
TESS was launched on a Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX on 18 April. The satellite will survey the whole sky to look for exoplanets that transit their stars.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is set for launch on 31 July to begin it’s journey to the Sun’s corona to help us understand more about the solar wind and why the corona is so hot.
The Chinese Tiangong-1 space station is predicted to conduct an uncontrolled re-entry sometime during 1 April 2018, NZ time.
Asteroid mining is seen as a lucrative source of income and, on the surface, it appears to be a way of accessing almost limitless resources. It’s not that simple though, it’s difficult, expensive and at the edge of our technological ability. But it won’t be that way forever.
The US has two options for getting to Mars within the next decade and a half with the ambitious plans from SpaceX and the more risk adverse plans of NASA. Both Russia and China also have some plans for Mars and have design work underway to build large rockets to support missions to Mars and to the Moon.
It looks like NASA is going to get a good amount of funding in a bill set to fly through the US Congress and Senate. This is great news for programmes such as Europa Clipper that have dependencies on the SLS programme.