China will check out uncharted area on the moon

China will check out uncharted area on the moon

China is about to make space history. In December, the country will launch the first spacecraft ever to land on the farside of the moon. Another craft, slated for takeoff in 2019, will be the first to bring lunar rocks back to Earth since 1976. These two missions — the latest in China’s lunar exploration…
Dawn, the very first spacecraft to orbit 2 alien worlds, has actually gone quiet

Dawn, the very first spacecraft to orbit 2 alien worlds, has...

It’s dusk for Dawn. The NASA spacecraft that was the first to orbit two worlds in one mission has sent its final messages back to Earth, mission managers announced November 1. The spacecraft missed two check-ins with NASA’s Deep Space Network on October 31 and November 1, scientists say. That silence likely means Dawn ran…
Saturn’s moon Dione has stripes like no others in the planetary system

Saturn’s moon Dione has stripes like no others in the planetary...

Saturn’s moon Dione is streaked with long bright stripes, and no one knows how they got there. Planetary scientists first noticed the stripes in pictures taken with NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which orbited Saturn from 2004 to 2017 (SN: 4/14/18, p. 6). Found near the moon’s equator, the long, thin, bright lines run surprisingly parallel to…
Spiky ice spires might stud the equator of Jupiter’s moon Europa

Spiky ice spires might stud the equator of Jupiter’s moon Europa

Europa’s frozen landscape could be treacherous territory for future lunar landers. Jagged spires of ice may stud the Jovian moon’s equator, researchers report October 8 in Nature Geosciences. These structures, called penitentes, could reach heights of 15 meters and occur roughly every 7.5 meters, computer simulations show, potentially rendering parts the moon unnavigable in future…
The very first rovers to check out an asteroid simply sent out images house

The very first rovers to check out an asteroid simply sent...

The first rovers to explore the surface of an asteroid have landed. After touching down September 21, the vehicles took pictures of asteroid Ryugu and at least one hopped around. Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft, which arrived at the near-Earth asteroid on June 27 after a journey of more than three years, released the MINERVA-II1 container from…
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