Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Tagged: Jet Propulsion Laboratory

  • NASA performs first test of Mars 2020 rover supersonic parachute

    Jim SharkeyNovember 16th, 2017

    On October 4, 2017, NASA completed the first supersonic parachute test in preparation for the space agency's Mars 2020 rover mission. A 58-foot (17.7-meter) Black Brandt IX sounding rocket launched the Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment (ASPIRE) payload from NASA's Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia.

  • Cassini data proposes new explanation for Enceladus’ active ocean

    Laurel KornfeldNovember 7th, 2017

    A new study that incorporates various findings by NASA's Cassini mission regarding Saturn's moon Enceladus proposes that the moon has a porous core in which rocks flex and rub together, producing sufficient heat via friction to power its global subsurface ocean.

  • NASA’s Mars 2020 rover to be equipped with 23 ‘eyes’

    Ocean McIntyreNovember 4th, 2017

    One of the key instruments that has accompanied every rover since Pathfinder became the first rover to land on the surface of Mars in 1997 are imagers – cameras. NASA’s newest rover continues this trend. In addition, it continues the trend of increased visible acuity that accompanies the increased instrument performance and improved technology.

  • What’s inside Ceres? Dawn mission finds possible ancient ocean remnants

    Ryan ChylinskiOctober 29th, 2017

    Orbiting since March of 2015, NASA's Dawn spacecraft continues to provide exciting science from Ceres – a dwarf planet and the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Two studies, part of the Dawn mission's second extension, are using new data to shed light on a possible liquid past.

  • Going out with ‘GRACE’ – long-lived U.S./German mission draws to a close

    Jason RhianOctober 27th, 2017

    The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission has come to an end after more than 15 years in Earth orbit. The twin satellites chronicled the changes of the Earth's water, ice, and land since the spacecraft were launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on March 17, 2002, on a mission that was originally only slated to last some five years.

  • Pan-STARRS-1 discovers interstellar object has entered our Solar System

    Laurel KornfeldOctober 27th, 2017

    An asteroid (or comet) recently discovered in an extreme orbit originated beyond the Solar System in interstellar space, astronomers noted in a recent report. Initially discovered with the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope at the University of Hawaii on October 19, the object is the first such detected by scientists.

  • Curiosity team working to resume drilling

    Jim SharkeyOctober 25th, 2017

    Engineers with NASA's Curiosity Mars rover team are working to restore the rover's sample-drilling capability by using new techniques. Use of the drill has been suspended due to a mechanical problem with the arm that first occurred late last year.

  • Reconstructing Cassini’s final moments

    Jim SharkeyOctober 21st, 2017

    During the Cassini spacecraft's final plunge into Saturn's upper atmosphere on Sept.15, 2017, the spacecraft live-streamed data from eight of its science instruments, providing readings from a variety of engineering systems. While it will take time to analyze all of the data from its plunge, engineers with the Cassini team already have a pretty clear understanding of how the spacecraft behaved as it went in.

  • Debris disks may be signposts of giant exoplanets

    Ocean McIntyreOctober 17th, 2017

    Observations of star systems by an international group of researchers suggest that debris disks around stars may be indicative of giant exoplanets.

  • Close approach of asteroid 2012 TC4 poses no danger to Earth

    Tomasz NowakowskiOctober 11th, 2017

    The house-sized asteroid 2012 TC4 is slated to give Earth a close shave on Thursday, October 12, 2017, at 05:42 UTC (1:42 a.m. EDT), swooshing by our planet at a distance of about 31,161 miles (50,150 kilometers). Although there were some worries that this rocky object could hit the Earth, latest observations confirm that it poses no danger to our home planet at all.

  • Our SpaceFlight Heritage: The decade of Dawn

    Ocean McIntyreSeptember 27th, 2017

    When the Dawn mission finally launched on September 27, 2007, many saw it as practically miraculous. The spacecraft had survived numerous cancellations and delays, and it was only with concerted effort that the mission was reinstated. Dawn had an audacious mandate, to do something that hadn't been attempted before – to travel to one body and then depart and head to another.

  • Cassini: The legend and legacy of one of NASA’s most prolific missions

    Ocean McIntyreSeptember 17th, 2017

    PASADENA, Calif. — Just one month shy of twenty years in space, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft dramatically ended its mission in the early morning hours at approximately 4:55 a.m. PDT (7:55 a.m. EDT / 11:55 GMT) Earth-Received Time (ERT) on Friday, September 15, 2017.

  • Curiosity rover begins climb of ‘Vera Rubin Ridge’

    Jim SharkeySeptember 17th, 2017

    NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has started the steep climb of an iron-oxide bearing ridge on the northwestern flank of Mount Sharp that has long been of interest to researchers. "Vera Rubin Ridge", also known as "Hematite Ridge", was informally named in early 2017 in memory of pioneering astrophysicist Vera Cooper Rubin, whose research provided evidence for the existence of dark matter.

  • Gallery: Controllers receive last signals before Cassini spacecraft demise

    Derek RichardsonSeptember 15th, 2017

    PASADENA, Calif. — With its fuel nearly depleted, Cassini made a final plunge toward Saturn to get as much science as possible before burning up in the planet's atmosphere. Flight controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) lost telemetry with the spacecraft, as expected, at about 7:55 a.m. EDT (11:55 GMT) Sept. 15, 2017.

  • LIVE: Cassini spacecraft ends its mission at Saturn

    Derek RichardsonSeptember 15th, 2017

    NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is making a final plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere to end its mission some 13 years after reaching the ringed world. Flight controllers at NASA are receiving the probe’s final data before it burns up in the planet’s atmosphere.