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Historic Landing Timeline: Crosshairs on a Comet

  The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft is set to deploy its Philae lander for a first-time touchdown on a comet. On November 11-12, Philae is set to separate from Rosetta at 09:03 GMT (10:03 CET) and touch down on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko at about 16:02 GMT (17:02 CET). A timeline of the most crucial activities [...]

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Drop Zone! Crosshairs on a Comet

Europe’s Rosetta mission to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is nearing a nail-biting moment – when the Philae lander is to be unleashed for a touchdown on the celestial wanderer. The primary landing site is landing site “J” – a spot that has relatively flat terrain and good solar illumination. There is a detailed timetable for the descent [...]

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Book Review: Why Mars – NASA and the Politics of Space Exploration

Why Mars – NASA and the Politics of Space Exploration by W. Henry Lambright; Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland; $49.95 (hardcover); 2014. Wondering when humans will set boot on Mars? Author W. Henry Lambright has written an absorbing and detailed look at the long trail of robotic Mars exploration program from its origins to [...]

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Name ExoWorlds Contest: Details Released

For the first time in history the public will be able to vote for the official name of stars and planets. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) is inviting all public organizations with an interest in astronomy to register on the IAU Directory for World Astronomy website for the NameExoWorlds contest. Those participating can in early [...]

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Glug, Glug, Bubble, Bubble: Diving into Outer Space

It’s called a “science splashdown.” The undersea environment is the closest analogue on Earth to a gravity-weak environment like that of asteroids, the moons of Mars or Mars itself. Therefore, other than being in outer space, going to inner-space is the best place to test relevant exploration concepts. The NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations, known [...]

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