Wake Up, Opportunity! Still Waiting For Mars Rover To Phone Home

Dust from Mars’ global storm is finally beginning to settle out of the atmosphere. As proof, I can report that I’m able to see the south polar cap and several surface features through my telescope. Other observers have reported similar views. But the fact that NASA’s Opportunity rover has yet to “wake up” and contact…
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Solar Odyssey — The Parker Probe’s Sizzling Mission To The Sun

NASA launched the Parker Solar Probe on Aug. 12 on a mission to a star — our very own sun! You’d think it would be easy to drop down to the center of the solar system under the power of the sun’s gravity. Like rolling a rock downhill. No, no, no. It actually takes 55…
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NASA Sending A Tiny Helicopter To Mars In 2020

Time to spread those little wings and fly! NASA will send a helicopter to Mars in just three years as part of the agency’s Mars 2020 rover mission. They call it a helicopter but to my eye it looks and acts much like a drone. The small, autonomous rotor-craft is scheduled to launch in July 2020 to…
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InSight Mission Blasts Off To Mars / Chance For Weekend Auroras

We’re headed back to Mars! NASA’s Mars InSight mission lifted off at 6:05 a.m. (Central Time) this morning from the West Coast en route to the Red Planet. After a 6½ month journey, it will arrive and set up camp on Nov. 26. The landing site is Elysium Planitia, a broad, smooth plain just north…
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Voyager 1 Fires Thrusters After 37 Years, Gets New Lease On Life

If you tried to start a car that’s been sitting in a garage for a couple years, you’d have to clean and replace parts then hope.  But a set of thrusters aboard the Voyager 1 spacecraft successfully fired up after 37 years in the deep chill of interstellar space.  In that same time interval, I’ve…
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