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

  • Juno spacecraft makes fifth science pass of Jupiter

    May 24th, 2017

    NASA's Juno mission made a close flyby of the planet Jupiter on May 19, successfully completing the spacecraft's fifth science orbit of the gas giant. JunoCam and all of the spacecraft's science instruments were operating during the flyby. Juno's next close flyby, which will take it over Jupiter's Great Red Spot, will take place on July 11, 2017.

  • NASA’s Opportunity Mars rover begins study of ‘Perseverance Valley’

    May 19th, 2017

    NASA's Opportunity Mars rover has reached the main objective of its current two-year extended mission – an ancient fluid-carved ravine, called "Perseverance Valley", on the western rim of Endeavour Crater.

  • NASA receives proposals for future New Frontiers mission

    May 12th, 2017

    NASA has received and is currently reviewing 12 proposals for a future robotic Solar System exploration mission. The mission proposals, submitted to the space agency's New Frontiers Program, will undergo technical and scientific review over the next seven months. The goal is to select a mission in about two years, with a launch in the mid-2020s.

  • NASA’s Curiosity rover samples linear active dune on Mars

    May 8th, 2017

    As NASA's Curiosity Mars rover travels uphill from a band of rippled sand dunes, it carries with it a sample of dark sand for later analysis that will complete the rover's examination of those dunes. The rover studied four sites near a linear dune from early February until early April to compare those to what it had found during its examination of crescent-shaped dunes in late 2015 and early 2016.

  • NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope completes testing at Goddard

    May 5th, 2017

    NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) successfully completed the center of curvature test, a crucial optical measurement of the telescope's primary mirror prior to cryogenic testing, and the final test at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

  • Space exploration takes center stage at Silicon Valley Comic Con 2017

    May 1st, 2017

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — This year's Silicon Valley Comic Con (SVCC), held on April 21–23 at the San Jose Convention Center, added space exploration to the event's mix of pop culture and technology.

  • NASA’s Dawn spacecraft experiences reaction wheel malfunction

    April 28th, 2017

    During preparations for observing Ceres' Occator Crater, NASA's Dawn spacecraft's remaining reaction wheels stopped functioning. The probe controls its orientation in space by changing the speed these gyroscope-like devices spin.

  • Opportunity Mars rover leaves ‘Tribulation’ for ‘Perseverance’

    April 23rd, 2017

    NASA's Opportunity Mars rover is leaving "Cape Tribulation" – the crater-rim segment it has investigated since late 2014 – and driving south toward its next destination, "Perseverance Valley". The rover team plans to explore the valley to determine what type of activity carved it billions of years ago: water, wind, or flowing debris carried by water.

  • NASA approves instruments for ESA’s ‘JUICE’ mission

    April 21st, 2017

    NASA's contributions to an upcoming European Space Agency mission have been moved from preliminary design to implementation phase. The "JUICE" mission is scheduled to launch in 2022 and arrive at Jupiter in Oct. 2029. JUICE will spend nearly four years investigating Jupiter's environment and its icy Galilean moons.

  • Planets orbiting double-star systems could support life, study suggests

    April 16th, 2017

    When NASA's Kepler spacecraft first discovered a planet that orbited two stars, comparisons were made to Luke Skywalker's desert home planet Tatooine in the "Star Wars" movies.

  • MAVEN finds metal in Mars’ atmosphere

    April 13th, 2017

    NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN) spacecraft has discovered electrically charged metal atoms (ions) high in the atmosphere of Mars. The metal ions help provide clues about previously invisible activity with Mars' electrically charged upper atmosphere (ionosphere).

  • Most of Mars’ atmosphere lost to space, scientists say

    April 1st, 2017

    According to a new study by scientists working with NASA's MAVEN spacecraft, the Martian atmosphere was mostly stripped away by solar wind and radiation, changing Mars from a world that could have supported life billions of years ago into the frigid desert planet it is today.

  • NASA goes for the GUSTO to study Milky Way

    March 27th, 2017

    NASA has selected a new science mission to measure emissions of the cosmic material found between stars, known as the interstellar medium. This data will aid researchers in determining the life cycle of interstellar gas in our galaxy, known as the Milky Way, observing the formation and destruction of star-forming clouds, and understanding the dynamics and gas flow near the center of our galaxy.

  • PUFFER: An origami-inspired robot may go places rovers can’t

    March 24th, 2017

    JPL is developing a small, origami-inspired robot that may serve as a scout for the next rovers to explore another planet. The new design could revolutionize the manner in which future space exploration missions are carried out.

  • GRACE mission reaches 15-year mark

    March 20th, 2017

    The twin satellites of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission have been collecting data about how water moves and is stored around Earth 15 years – three times longer than originally planned. GRACE, a joint effort between NASA and two German agencies, was launched on March 17, 2002.