NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity Concludes a 15-Year Mission

For the scientists, that ends a mission of unexpected endurance. The rover was designed to last only three months. Opportunity provided scientists a close-up view of Mars that they had never seen: finely layered rocks that preserved ripples of flowing water several billion years ago, a prerequisite for life.

Source: NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity Concludes a 15-Year Mission – The New York Times

NASA’s New Horizons Mission Reveals Entirely New Kind of World

“New Horizons is like a time machine, taking us back to the birth of the solar system. We are seeing a physical representation of the beginning of planetary formation, frozen in time,” said Jeff Moore, New Horizons Geology and Geophysics team lead. “Studying Ultima Thule is helping us understand how planets form — both those in our own solar system and those orbiting other stars in our galaxy.”

Source: New Horizons: News Article?page=20190102

A Bright Green ‘Christmas Comet’ Will Fly the Closest to Earth in Centuries

Those who live in areas with low levels of light pollution will most likely be able to see the comet with the naked eye. People who live in cities may need binoculars or a telescope to get a glimpse. Online charts can help pinpoint its location.

Source: A Bright Green ‘Christmas Comet’ Will Fly the Closest to Earth in Centuries – The New York Times

Watch This Net Capture Orbital Space Debris for the First Time in History

The RemoveDEBRIS satellite consists of a large, 220-pound main satellite that carries two smaller cubesats and a net. The mission involves deploying these cubesats as artificial space junk and them capturing them to demonstrate the effectiveness debris removal technology. The first cubesat was successfully captured on Sunday evening with a net after six years of testing the technology on Earth.

Source: Watch This Net Capture Orbital Space Debris for the First Time in History – Motherboard

Going up! Japan to test mini ‘space elevator’

The test involves a miniature elevator stand-in—a box just six centimetres (2.4 inches) long, three centimetres wide, and three centimetres high.

If all goes well, it will provide proof of concept by moving along a 10-metre cable suspended in space between two that will keep it taut.

Source: Going up! Japan to test mini ‘space elevator’

NASA’s newest spacecraft will fly through the Sun’s scorching hot atmosphere

Plans to send a probe into the Sun’s corona date back to 1958 and the very start of NASA. At the space agency’s inception, a special committee listed 14 different missions that NASA should pursue, including visiting all the planets of the Solar System. All 14 missions have been accomplished in some form apart from one: a probe to visit near the Sun.

Source: NASA’s newest spacecraft will fly through the Sun’s scorching hot atmosphere – The Verge

Why selling off the International Space Station would be a tricky mission for the U.S.

The Trump administration’s proposed 2019 budget says the U.S. will end its funding of the International Space Station by 2025. The news led to speculation the goal is to simply sell off the ISS to private enterprise. But experts say it’s not so simple.

Source: Why selling off the International Space Station would be a tricky mission for the U.S.

“There is a democratization of space going on … that you could never imagine 10 years ago.”

Blast off! Rocket Lab successfully reaches orbit on second attempt

Following successful first and second-stage burns, Electron reached orbit and deployed customer payloads at 8 minutes and 31 seconds after lift-off.

“Rocket Lab was founded on the principle of opening access to space to better understand our planet and improve life on it.

Source: Blast off! Rocket Lab successfully reaches orbit on second attempt

The Search for Aliens Starts Now—in Antarctica

Like many subsea drones, the 10-foot-long Icefin is shaped like a torpedo. It made headlines in 2014 as one of the prototype drones that plumbed the Antarctic as part of a NASA program to test the technology. Now, a new program called the Ross Ice Shelf and Europa Underwater Probe (RISE UP), NASA is funding three expeditions to put an upgraded Icefin under the ice. This was its first deployment..

Source: The Search for Aliens Starts Now—in Antarctica

When Icefin dove to the sea floor it found odd, feathery creatures waiting for them. “My favorite moments from the seafloor were our visits by crinoids…it was incredible to behold,” she says, referring to the to the odd, feathery dwellers that call Antarctica home.