The Lonely Spacecraft: Beagle 2 found

Can a spacecraft be lonely? Probably not. And yet there is something very poignant about the images of Beagle 2 on the surface of Mars that were released on Friday. It seems to have landed in the right place, an amazing feat in itself. The solar panels appear to have partially opened, so it was…

Blind Date – Rosetta closes in

Recently the Rosetta spacecraft sent back some rather disturbing images of its target, the almost impossible to pronounce, comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Instead of the nice “potato shape” that was expected, the Open University’s Dr Andrew Morse describes the comet as looking more like a rubber duck. The European Space Agency has released an animation of the…

You Cannot be Serious

At the recent European Lunar Symposium in London there was a formal presentation of NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM). The NASA engineer who gave the talk stressed that ARM is currently at a relatively early planning stage, so might of course never come to anything. The idea it seems is to “capture” a small near-Earth…

Farewell, My Lovely

Asteroid 4 Vesta and the NASA Dawn spacecraft, an artist’s impression (image: NASA) The NASA Dawn spacecraft will leave the asteroid 4 Vesta on September 4 and head off to study the dwarf planet Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt. But don’t hold your breath, the journey to Ceres will take approximately two-and-a…