June 20, 2013 |
NASA has signed on to a mission to explore Mercury, the closest planet to the sun. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden inked the agreement to join the BepiColombo mission Thursday in Rome. The mission is already being built and tested by the European Space Agency. Enrico Saggese, president of the Italian Space Agency, also signed the memorandum of understanding. As currently designed, BepiColombo will include two spacecraft that will orbit Mercury and map the planet at multiple wavelengths.
November 29, 2011 |
Russia's space program has a bad case of the Red Planet blues. As the NASA rover Curiosity, launched Saturday from Cape Canaveral, Fla., streaks toward Mars, Russia's Phobos-Ground probe is marooned in near-Earth orbit and largely unresponsive to commands from ground controllers. Russian officials acknowledge that the narrow ballistic window for the spacecraft to reach Mars has closed, making it another in a series of failures for the country's space research. Since the retirement of the last space shuttle in July, U.S. astronauts heading to the International Space Station need to hitch a ride with the Russians, but officials say Russia's space program is suffering from worn-out equipment, a graying workforce and inability to attract a new generation of young specialists.
May 17, 2008 |
The Russian and European space agencies agreed jointly to build a vehicle for six-person flights around the moon, where only the U.S. has landed. Roscosmos and the European Space Agency chose a conical rather than winged design for the planned spacecraft after six months of study, Roscosmos said this week. The vehicle is to be used in near-Earth and low-lunar orbits. Roscosmos agreed to prepare a delivery rocket for testing by 2015, with people expected to begin flying three years later.
February 23, 2008 |
Ulysses, the mission to study the sun's poles and the influence of our star on surrounding space, is coming to an end. After more than 17 years in space -- almost four times its originally expected lifetime -- the mission is succumbing to its harsh environment and is likely to finish sometime in the next month or two, astronomers said Friday. A joint mission of the European Space Agency and NASA, Ulysses was launched in 1990 from a space shuttle. Ulysses is in a six-year orbit around the sun. Its long path through space carries it out to Jupiter's orbit and back again.
February 12, 2008 |
Europe's shiny new $2-billion science laboratory, Columbus, was anchored to the International Space Station on Monday by a team of astronauts laboring inside and out. "A great day for Europe," said the European Space Agency's station program manager, Alan Thirkettle. "She looks just beautiful." French astronaut Leopold Eyharts announced its arrival. Installation was an exhausting daylong affair that took more time than expected.
November 29, 2007 |
Venus became the solar system's baking hellhole by making a classic real estate mistake: building in the wrong neighborhood, according to research released Wednesday presenting the first comprehensive findings from Europe's Venus Express spacecraft. Instruments aboard the craft, which has been orbiting the haze-shrouded planet for almost 20 months, show that Venus and Earth are not just sister planets, but are nearly twins in important ways.