The Science of Pluto: Great Expectations (Part 3)

An artist’s rendering of Pluto’s surface, with Charon looming large on the horizon. The double-planet Pluto-Charon system, represent the last unexplored frontier of the Solar System, which will be unveiled in all its glory in just a few days from now. Image Credit: National Space Society

“We are living through a remarkably privileged […]

Pluto Comes Into Focus in Latest Images as New Horizons Approaches Ever Closer

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft took a series of images of Pluto in 8-12 May from a decreasing distance of 110 million to 75 million km away, which provide fascinating new views of the distant planet’s largely varied surface topography. Compared to images taken one month earlier, Pluto appears to get larger as the […]

NASA's New Horizons Spacecraft Awakens for the Final Time, Gets Ready for Pluto Encounter

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft was awakened from its electronic hibernation earlier this week, in order to begin final preparations for the start of its historic long-range Pluto encounter operations in January 2015. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

Everything has to come to an end eventually—as the saying goes—and that […]

A Risky Rendezvous: 25 Years Since Voyager 2's Mission to Neptune (Part 2)

High-altitude clouds of Neptune, as seen by Voyager 2. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years ago, this week, humanity braced itself for its last, first-time, close-up glimpse of a new planet in the 20th century. NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft, launched in August 1977, had already conducted a breathtaking exploration of Jupiter and Saturn—together with […]

A Gigantic Radio Ear: 25 Years Since Voyager 2's Mission to Neptune (Part 1)

In spite of its immense distance from the Sun, Neptune proved a surprise in terms of the dynamism of its atmosphere. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years ago, this week, humanity braced itself for its last, first-time, close-up glimpse of a new planet in the 20th century. NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft, launched in August […]

Happy Birthday, DSN: NASA's Iconic Deep Space Communication Network Turns 50

The 70-meter antenna at Goldstone, Calif., one of the Deep Space Network facilities. The DSN celebrates, this month, its 50th anniversary of history-making operations. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The history of spaceflight is full of missions that have celebrated important milestones in space during Christmas Eve—from Apollo 8’s manned flight into lunar orbit in […]

Countdown Underway for India's First Mission to Mars

Fully encapsulated within its bulbous payload shroud, India’s first mission to Mars awaits its date with destiny. Liftoff is scheduled for 2:38 p.m. IST (4:08 a.m. EST) Tuesday, 5 November. Photo Credit: ISRO

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) began a 56.5-hour countdown to the launch of its first mission to Mars on […]

In Aftermath of Cyclone Phailin, India Monitors the Weather Ahead of First Mars Mission

India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft, also known as “Mangalyaan” (Hindi for “Mars Craft”), is loaded into the Large Space Simulation Chamber for thermovacuum tests. Photo Credit: ISRO

Only days remain before the opening of the next “launch window” to the Red Planet, with NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission scheduled […]

NASA Will Support India's Mars Mission, Despite Government Shutdown

With NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN) providing communications and navigation assistance, India stands ready to stage its first mission to the Red Planet on 28 October. Image Credit: ISRO

Less than three weeks remain until the scheduled 28 October launch of India’s first mission to Mars, and NASA assured the Indian Space Research […]