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 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.

  • GRACE-FO uses ‘Range Finder’ to see mountain effects

    June 18th, 2018

    NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission has successfully completed its first mission phase and demonstrated the performance of the precise microwave ranging system that allows it to measure how mass migrates around the Earth. GRACE-FO is a successor to the original GRACE mission, which began orbiting the Earth on March 17, 2002.

  • Tiny asteroid disintegrates hours after being discovered

    June 7th, 2018

    On Saturday, June 1 a boulder-sized asteroid designated 2018 LA was discovered and determined to be on a collision course with Earth, with impact predicted to be just a few hours later. The event proved that Earth is still in the cosmic shooting gallery and could be struck with little-to-no notice.

  • ExoMars rover will search for evidence of life on Mars

    June 4th, 2018

    Could the Red Planet be a bastion for life (either now or in the past)? ESA and NASA are preparing to send a mission to find out.

  • Update: Curiosity rover successfully drills hole in ‘Duluth’

    May 23rd, 2018

    NASA's Curiosity rover has successfully tested a new method of drilling rocks on Mars. On Sunday, May 20, the rover drilled a hole about 2 inches (50 millimeters) into a target rock named "Duluth." It was the first rock sample acquired by Curiosity in more than a year.

  • NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover tests new drilling method

    May 23rd, 2018

    NASA's Curiosity Mars rover may soon be back to drilling rocks on the Red Planet. Engineers with the rover team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have been working for the past year to restore the rover's full drilling capabilities, which were hampered by a mechanical problem in 2016.

  • Fly the (red) skies: Helicopter to fly on NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission

    May 16th, 2018

    In over five decades of robotic exploration, NASA has sent  orbiters, landers, rovers and even Cubesats to Mars. The space agency announced on Friday, May 11, 2018 that their next robotic mission to the Red Planet will carry a helicopter. The Mars Helicopter, a small autonomous rotorcraft, will travel with NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission, […]

  • NASA satellite spots Kilauea fissures

    May 11th, 2018

    The May 3, 2018, eruption of Kilauea Volcano on the island of Hawaii created a number of gas-spewing and lava-oozing fissures in the volcano's East Rift Zone. Lava flows and high levels of sulfur dioxide gas prompted evacuations in the area, including the Leilani Estates subdivision near the town of Pahoa.

  • Marsbound!: NASA InSight lander launches toward Red Planet

    May 5th, 2018

    LOMPOC, Calif. — Initially flying through early-morning fog, a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air force Base's Space Launch Complex 3 to send NASA's Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander on a six-month journey to Mars.