The successor to the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM)
, the NASA/JAXA Global Precipitation Measurement
) spacecraft is preparing for launch at the Japanese Tanegashima Space Center
. GPM will be the newest international Precipitation Measurement Mission and will be the core observatory of the GPM Constellation.
The two sensors
on-board GPM are the GPM Microwave Imager (GMI)
and the Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR)
. The GPM/DPR team has produced a fantastic anime about the DPR instrument
. [more inside]
35 years ago today, Voyager 1 transmitted three images which NASA processed into a single frame of Earth and its moon
. [more inside]
NASA's Juno spacecraft
launched this morning and is en route to Jupiter (launch video)
. Equipped with microwave, ultraviolet, infrared, and visible light detectors
Juno will investigate the origins, atmosphere, and magnetosphere
of the Solar System's largest planets over one year beginning with its arrival in 2016. Using its awesome solar
technology Juno will show Jupiter's magnetic field in detail never before seen
. We probably won't hear much from Juno again until 2013
, when it makes a fly-by of Earth. You can follow Juno on Twitter
, so if it types out its scream, someone will hear it. Also
traveling aboard Juno are three very special LEGO mini-figurines
Dawn spacecraft now orbits asteroid Vesta
- After almost 4 years of space travel, the Dawn spacecraft successfully entered orbit around Vesta, an Arizona sized rock. Dawn tweets
, takes pictures
, and there is a Vesta Fiesta party
to celebrate. After hanging out at Vesta for a year, Dawn will head off to visit the Ceres asteroid next, a three year trip. Amazing achievement of engineering, innovation and accuracy.
Emily Lakdawalla has published
the first 42 of 99 Voyager Mission Status Bulletins
(thanks to space fan Tom Faber). Before the days of the internet, updates on space missions were distributed via newsletter. From 1977-1990 NASA published these Voyager newsletters to update scientists and enthusiasts. Both Voyager I and Voyager II
are still out there, hurtling toward the stars. Voyager I and II weekly status updates from 1995-present
are currently available online. Lakdawalla will be publishing the rest of the bulletins after she indexes them.
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
has returned its first images of the Apollo moon landing sites
. The spacecraft’s onboard camera
photographed Lunar Module descent stages at five of the six Apollo sites—11
, and 17
. The Apollo 12 site will be photographed in coming weeks. [more inside]
has just made another
flyover of Mercury, revealing hidden features. Watch the animation to see the blue volcanoes.
NASA is baffled by unexplained discrepancies
in the velocities of some of its spacecraft. Dubbed the Pioneer Effect
, it has been observed before but has now been discovered in more probes. Many theories
have been put forward, many disproved, and some are wondering if our understanding of gravity
is correct. [more inside]
The Golden Record
: Hear what the aliens will hear.
30 years ago today, a collection of images
and sound recordings
engraved on a record
was launched toward the stars.
covers an amazing collection of music, and has been called the Mix Tape of the Gods
Move over X-Prize
- in order to win the next big space prize($50 million) one will have to build a spacecraft capable of taking a crew of no fewer than five people to an altitude of 400 kilometers and complete two orbits of the Earth at that altitude. Then they have to repeat that accomplishment within 60 days.
NASA's Official 'Galileo Dies' Page.
Galileo is set to crash into Jupiter on Sunday. Responsible for many great images
and tons of information, Galileo served well. Find a complete history of the Galileo mission here
. Also, don't forget to watch the End of Mission webcast this Sunday at approx. 2 PM EST here
Swan song for a great explorer.
Tomorow, the Galileo explorer will make a flyby of Jovian moon Amalthea
ending pehaps the geatest unmanned mission in NASA history. Galileo telemetry may not survive the flyby having already receieved much more radiation than it was designed for. Even if it does survive, this will be its final orbit scheduled to crash into Jupiter in September of next year. In spite of antenna difficulties, the spacecraft returned many beautiful images
of Jupiter's moons, along with coverage of the Shoemaker-Levy collision
and the first atmospheric probe to decend into Jupiter's weather.
Since 1965, the Pioneer 6 space probe has quietly maintained its orbit around the sun between Earth and Venus. This week, in commemoration of the anniversary of its launch, NASA will attempt to re-establish contact
with the oldest surviving spacecraft.