Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Author: Jim Sharkey

Jim Sharkey is a lab assistant, writer and general science enthusiast who grew up in Enid, Oklahoma, the hometown of Skylab and Shuttle astronaut Owen K. Garriott. As a young Star Trek fan he participated in the letter-writing campaign which resulted in the space shuttle prototype being named Enterprise. While his academic studies have ranged from psychology and archaeology to biology, he has never lost his passion for space exploration. Jim began blogging about science, science fiction and futurism in 2004. Jim resides in the San Francisco Bay area and has attended NASA Socials for the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover landing and the NASA LADEE lunar orbiter launch.

Articles By Jim Sharkey

  • NASA’s Curiosity rover studies possible mud cracks

    January 19th, 2017

    Researchers with NASA's "Curiosity" mission have recently been using the Mars rover to study slabs of rock cross-hatched with shallow ridges that may have begun as cracks in drying mud more than 3 billion years ago.

  • NASA delays contract awards for asteroid mission spacecraft

    January 17th, 2017

    NASA is delaying contracts and other awards for its Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), originally planned for early this year, by a few months because of uncertainty about the space agency's budget.

  • Two 2017 NASA missions set to study edge of space

    December 30th, 2016

    Above Earth's atmosphere is a layer of charged particles that have been split into positive and negative ions by the Sun's harsh ultraviolet radiation. This area is called the ionosphere. In 2017, NASA plans to launch two satellites to study this region: the Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) and the Global Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD).

  • NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is driving again, drill is still out of action

    December 24th, 2016

    NASA's "Curiosity" Mars rover drove, on Dec. 18, for about 10 meters from the spot where it had been stopped by ground engineers in order to determine the cause of its faulty drill.

  • Curiosity rover detects boron, more evidence of past habitability on Mars

    December 15th, 2016

    As NASA's "Curiosity" Mars rover climbs the slopes of Mount Sharp, the layered mountain at the center of Gale crater, it is finding patterns of change in rock composition in the mountain's higher, younger layers. The rover has also detected the chemical element Boron for the first time on the surface of Mars.

  • Curiosity rover team troubleshoots drill problem

    December 10th, 2016

    NASA's Curiosity rover is currently studying its surroundings and monitoring the Martian environment, but not driving or using its arm for science, while the rover team investigates an issue with a motor that moves the rover's drill.

  • JPL uses metallic glass to make better robot gears

    December 2nd, 2016

    JPL is developing a metallic glass alloy, for use on deep space probes and rovers, that is resistant to the extreme cold temperatures encountered in space.

  • Virgin Galactic conducts captive carry flight of SpaceShipTwo

    December 1st, 2016

    On Wednesday, Nov. 30, Virgin Galactic conducted the fourth test flight of its SpaceShipTwo rocket plane VSS Unity. The carrier aircraft, WhiteKnightTwo VMS Eve, took off with VSS Unity from the runway of Mojave Air and Spaceport at 2:07 p.m. PST (22:07 GMT).

  • Martian ice deposit contains as much water as Lake Superior

    November 25th, 2016

    Scientists using data from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) have discovered a layer of water ice beneath a region of cracked and pitted plains on Mars that holds about as much water as what is in Lake Superior, largest of the Great Lakes.

  • New analysis yields clues to fate of Beagle 2

    November 18th, 2016

    Scientists have discovered new clues about the fate of the British-made Beagle 2 Mars lander, thanks to a new research technique. The probe was discovered on the surface of Mars in November 2014 using images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), but questions remained about what had caused its failure to contact Earth.

  • WorldView-4 successfully launches atop Atlas V

    November 11th, 2016

    VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — WorldView-4, the newest member of commercial satellite company DigitalGlobe's constellation of high-resolution satellites, was successfully launched into orbit atop a ULA Atlas V 401 booster. The rocket lifted off from SLC-3 at 10:30 a.m. PST (18:30 GMT) on Friday. The launch was ULA's ninth for the year and the 112th overall since the company was founded in 2006.

  • NASA small satellites poised to take a new view of Earth

    November 9th, 2016

    This month, NASA will launch the first of a suite of six next-generation, Earth-observing small satellite missions to demonstrate innovative new methods for studying our changing planet. These small satellites range in size from a loaf of bread to a small washing machine with a mass of just a few pounds to 400 pounds (180 kilograms).

  • Curiosity rover spies odd-looking metal meteorite on Mars

    November 7th, 2016

    NASA's "Curiosity" Mars rover recently examined an odd-looking golf-ball-sized rock on the Martian surface, confirming that it is an iron-nickel meteorite. This type of space rock is commonly found on Earth and previous examples have been seen on Mars, but this is the first one to be studied using Curiosity's laser-firing Chemistry and Camera instrument (ChemCam).

  • Final layer of sunshield completed for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

    November 2nd, 2016

    NASA recently announced the completion of the fifth and final sunshield layer responsible for protecting the instruments and optics of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The sunshield, designed by Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, California, will prevent heat from the Sun from interfering with the telescope's infrared sensors.

  • Uranus may have two tiny undiscovered moons

    October 26th, 2016

    Launched in 1977, NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft is still yielding new discoveries. Scientists using data collected by the spacecraft when it flew by Uranus 30 years ago have found evidence that there may be two tiny, previously undiscovered moonlets orbiting near two of the planet's rings.