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…

Seven minutes of terror: Not long to wait!

An artist’s impression of Curosity rover on the surface of Mars (image: NASA) In just over five days time NASA will attempt to land the Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars. Weighing in at nearly 900 kg, and with a size similar to a Mini cooper, Curiosity is significantly larger than either of the…