In the hopes of tracking the water on our planet, NASA has successfully launched two satellites into orbit. The twin spacecraft, called GRACE-FO, lifted off on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from California last night. NASA has confirmed that the satellites are now at an altitude of about 305 miles, travelling at 16,800 miles/hour, meaning they circle Earth once every 90 minutes. Thomas Zurbuchen, who worked on the launch, said: “GRACE-FO will provide unique insights into how our complex planet operates. “Just as important, because the mission monitors many key aspects of the Earth’s water cycle, GRACE-FO data will be used throughout the world to improve people’s lives – from better predictions of drought impacts to higher quality information on use and management of water from underground aquifers.” GRACE-FO will orbit Earth for five years, during which time it will monitor the movement of mass around our planet by measuring how the moving mass … [Read more...] about NASA launches two satellites into space on a mission to weigh Earth’s water
Mission to planet earth
MANKIND's fastest spacecraft is reaching the final stages of its five-year 445 million-mile flight to Jupiter.On Monday, the unmanned Juno will hit the brakes at 150,000mph and slow to 1,200mph, shifting into position above the planet's radioactive clouds.From there it will transmit data and pictures back to Earth.Here, GRANT ROLLINGS explains how the mission could help uncover the secrets of how our solar system formed.Launched on an Atlas V rocket from the US on August 5, 2011Will have travelled 1.7 billion miles to get to Jupiter (445 million miles away at launch) as it needed to orbit the sun and Earth on first legIf Juno flew at the speed of a passenger jet (600 mph) it would take 342 years to complete the missionOnce June arrives at Jupiter, it will travel 348 million miles and orbit the planet at 130,000 mph - the fastest spacecraft to enter orbit around a planetIt is the first mission to fly as close as 2,600 miles to Jupiter's cloud tops and will be able to look below its … [Read more...] about How much Juno about the ‘Lego’ mission to Jupiter?
NASA is preparing to launch a mission to explore a mysterious "metal world" which was formed during the turbulent birth of our solar system.The massive object is called 16 Pysche and is believed to made of iron and nickel."Psyche is by far the largest metal object in the solar system," Benjamin Weiss, professor of planetary sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told The Sunday Times."Psyche would be the first and only metal world to be visited by humanity. This is true exploration."The metal asteroid is likely to be a leftover from the tumultuous early days of our star system, when planets formed before being smashed apart."Often large things blew apart into small again," said Linda Elkins-Tanton, director of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University."Planets could be built, torn asunder and rebuilt in 10 million years or less."Now scientists want to work out if the asteroid has a magnetic field like Earth's, which would suggest … [Read more...] about NASA prepares for mission to mysterious ‘metal world’ made of iron and nickel
It all comes down to a precision brake procedure. If things go well, NASA's Juno spacecraft will get sucked into Jupiter's orbit by the planet's gravity. "Jupiter's got a really interesting system," astronomer and Nobel Laureate Brian Schmidt told DW. "It's a mini-star, it's got Europa - it's got all this action going on with its moons - so it's an interesting place in the solar system." It's an interesting place about which we know relatively little. And if Juno fails to make Jupiter's orbit, this five year, billion dollar mission could end in a simple fly by. The basic facts about the Juno mission The Juno mission was launched on August 5, 2011. At the time of launch, the distance from Earth to Jupiter was 716 million kilometers (445 million miles). The mission costs about 1.13 billion dollars (1 billion euros) in total, including, among other things, spacecraft development, science instruments, science data processing and relay support for 78 months. Officially, the mission … [Read more...] about What good is the Juno mission to Jupiter?
NASA's next mission to Mars has been grounded, the US space agency announced on Tuesday. The space agency has said they are suspending the March 2016 launch of its InSight mission to Mars because of problems with a scientific instrument. The faulty instrument is a seismometer and is tasked with measuring ground movements on the Red Planet. It has been experiencing multiple leaks, and most recently failed during a vacuum test on Monday in extreme cold temperatures. "We're close enough to launch but unfortunately we don't have enough time to try to identify the leak, fix it and recover and still make it to the launch pad in March," said John Grunsfeld, NASA's science mission chief. NASA managers said a redesign of the part could take up to five years. Months of analysis is expected before they decide on how to proceed. Insight, which stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, is the spacecraft due to be launched. The spacecraft is designed to help scientists … [Read more...] about NASA suspends InSight mission to Mars