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

  • Cassini’s final close orbits of Saturn providing new data on ringed world

    October 15th, 2018

    More than a year after it concluded its 20 year voyage of discovery, the Cassini mission is still providing details about Saturn.

  • Juno spacecraft snaps stunning image of Jovian swirls

    October 10th, 2018

    Juno has discovered stunning patterns in Jupiter's cloud tops - as well as some unusual and hard to find features.

  • Opportunity spotted as dust settles on Mars

    September 27th, 2018

    NASA's Mars Exploration Rover, Opportunity, has been seen from high on orbit - but the rover still isn't responding.

  • NASA’s planet-hunting TESS mission shares ‘1st-light’ image

    September 23rd, 2018

    Scientists with NASA's planet-hunting Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission recently released images from the spacecraft's first science orbit. The mission's "first light" image was a detailed picture of the southern sky taken with all four of the spacecraft's wide-field cameras.

  • Going out in style: Delta II completes its final mission with launch of ICESat-2

    September 15th, 2018

    NASA's ICESat-2 thundered into orbit atop a ULA Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, ending the 30-year career of the venerable booster.

  • As ICESat-2 set to open new era of Earth observation, era of Delta II poised to close

    September 13th, 2018

    While the new ICESat-2 mission will help us gain a better understanding of the dynamics of our home world - it will also mark the end of the Delta II rocket's long history.

  • Ice confirmed at the Moon’s poles

    August 28th, 2018

    A team of researchers using data collected by NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper instrument have directly observed definitive evidence of water ice at the Moon's poles. While most of the ice at the southern pole is concentrated in lunar craters, the substance is more widely, but sparsely distributed, at the northern pole.

  • Ultrahot Jupiters destroy water

    August 15th, 2018

    "Ultrahot Jupiters" are a class of incredibly hot giant exoplanets that orbit their star more closely than Mercury orbits the Sun. These worlds, such as Wasp-121b, are tidally locked, meaning one side of the planet permanently faces its star. But what separates this world from others?

  • NASA’s Parker Solar Probe attached to Delta IV Heavy rocket

    August 2nd, 2018

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- A spacecraft that has been designed and built to "touch the Sun" has completed two critical milestones that place it one step closer to flight.

  • NASA Ames hosts event focusing on research and innovations

    July 20th, 2018

    MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. — NASA's Ames Research Center recently hosted a public event, titled "Silicon Valley Innovations: From the Earth to the moon and Mars," that focused on the center's research contributions to the space agency's exploration missions.

  • Trio of observatories reveal rare double asteroid

    July 16th, 2018

    Observations by three of the world's largest radio telescopes have revealed that a near-Earth asteroid discovered in 2017 is actually two objects, each about 3,000 feet (900 meters) in size, orbiting each other. The two bodies are nearly equal in mass and not touching each other.

  • Running on Empty: NASA’s Kepler spacecraft pauses observations

    July 9th, 2018

    The Kepler mission team recently received an indication that the spacecraft is running very low on fuel. The team has paused the spacecraft's planet-hunting science observations and placed it in a hibernation-like state to prepare to download the science data collected during its most recent observation campaign. Once the data is downloaded, the team expects to begin a new observation campaign with the spacecraft's remaining fuel.

  • NASA tests solar sail for Exploration Mission 1’S NEA Scout

    July 5th, 2018

    On June 28, 2018 NASA conducted a successful deployment test of the solar sail for the space agency's Near-Earth Asteroid Scout (NEA Scout) CubeSat mission. NEA Scout is a small satellite designed to study asteroids close to the Earth and is scheduled to launch on Exploratory Mission-1 (EM-1). The test was conducted inside a clean room at the NeXolve facility in Huntsville, Alabama. 

  • Hayabusa 2 arrives at asteroid Ryugu

    June 29th, 2018

    After a journey of about 2 million miles (3.2 billion kilometers), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's (JAXA)  Haybusa 2 spacecraft rendezvoused with its target, the asteroid Ryugu. This latest milestone marked a critical point in a mission designed to investigate these tiny remnants of the formation of our solar system.

  • Trump calls for creation of ‘Space Force’

    June 22nd, 2018

    During a meeting of the National Space Council at the White House on June 18, 2018, President Donald Trump announced he was ordering the creation of a sixth branch of the U.S. military - to focus on space.