Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Tagged: Jet Propulsion Laboratory

  • Cassini to conduct last, closest flyby of Titan

    Laurel KornfeldApril 21st, 2017

    As NASA's Cassini spacecraft moves toward its Grand Finale, it will conduct its final and closest flyby of Saturn's moon Titan on April 22, 2017. This last visit is a targeted flyby, meaning Cassini will use either its rocket engine or thrusters to alter its course.

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

    Jim SharkeyApril 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.

  • Cassini prepares for ‘grand finale’

    Paul KnightlyApril 8th, 2017

    On Wednesday, April 26, 2017, NASA's Cassini spacecraft will conduct the first in a series of 22 dives between Saturn's atmosphere and the gas giant's rings as a part of the mission's “grand finale”. It will conclude a mission that has spent almost 13 years exploring the Saturnian system.

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

    Jim SharkeyMarch 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.

  • Wheel treads break on Curiosity rover

    Paul KnightlyMarch 23rd, 2017

    At nearly five years old, NASA's Curiosity Mars rover is starting to show signs of its age following a routine inspection of the rover's six wheels that revealed two small breaks in the treads on the middle left wheel.

  • GRACE mission reaches 15-year mark

    Jim SharkeyMarch 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.

  • Nitrogen in Titan’s lakes may cause them to fizz

    Laurel KornfeldMarch 18th, 2017

    The hydrocarbon lakes of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, may contain nitrogen that, at times, causes them to bubble and fizz, according to a NASA study that simulated conditions on Titan's surface.

  • SHERLOC could solve the mystery of life on Mars

    Tomasz NowakowskiMarch 17th, 2017

    Just like Sherlock Holmes solved complicated criminal cases, a scientific instrument named SHERLOC is being prepared to investigate one of the most fundamental mysteries of the Red Planet. The tool will be one of the most important instruments of NASA’s Mars 2020 rover, which is slated to study the possibility of past life on Mars.

  • NASA’s Jupiter moon mission named ‘Europa Clipper’

    Jim SharkeyMarch 12th, 2017

    NASA announced on Thursday, March 9, that the space agency's upcoming mission to study the habitability of Jupiter's frozen moon Europa will be named the "Europa Clipper". The name harkens back to the wooden clipper ships that sailed Earth's oceans in the 19th century.

  • MAVEN avoids crashing into Mars’ moon Phobos

    Derek RichardsonMarch 3rd, 2017

    NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN, or MAVEN, spacecraft just avoided colliding with Phobos, one of Mars’ two moons. An avoidance maneuver was performed on Feb. 28, 2017, to safely alter the trajectory of the orbiter.

  • Cassini images Saturn’s polar hexagon

    Paul KnightlyMarch 1st, 2017

    On Dec. 2, 2016, NASA's Cassini spacecraft imaged Saturn's north polar region. Prominently centered around the north pole is the famous hexagonal cloud that is formed as the result of jet stream interactions in Saturn's atmosphere. A similar hexagon does not exist at Saturn's south pole.

  • Cassini’s first close flyby of Enceladus led to discovery of its subsurface ocean

    Laurel KornfeldFebruary 21st, 2017

    An unexpected finding during Cassini's first close flyby of Saturn's moon Enceladus led to the discovery of its subsurface ocean, which could, possibly, host microbial life.

  • MRO data utilized for Mars 2020 landing-site selection

    Paul KnightlyFebruary 11th, 2017

    NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) is providing the basis for evaluating eight prospective landing sites for the Mars 2020 rover mission.

  • Curiosity rover findings raise new questions about ancient environment on Mars

    Jim SharkeyFebruary 8th, 2017

    While NASA's "Curiosity" Mars rover has discovered considerable evidence that there was once liquid water on the Red Planet's surface, a recent study has posed a new question: How was the surface of Mars warm enough to keep the water unfrozen?

  • NASA developing AI for future exploration of extraterrestrial subsurface oceans

    Tomasz NowakowskiJanuary 29th, 2017

    NASA is developing technology that could enable autonomous navigation for future underwater drones studying subsurface oceans on icy moons like Jupiter’s Europa. The agency is working on artificial intelligence (AI) that would allow submersibles to make their own decisions during exploration of extraterrestrial water worlds.