NASA’s Dragonfly: A Quadcopter on Titan

A couple posts ago, I reviewed a book about an expedition to Titan---arguably the most interesting celestial body in the Solar System---and I'd like to continue in that theme this week, turning my attention to a real, official Titan exploration project under development at NASA: the Dragonfly mission. Dragonfly will be a quadcopter aircraft sent... Continue Reading →

By Fusion Drive to Pluto

Oddball mission studies are my jam. Sometimes, they are NASA's jam, too---the agency is not afraid to occasionally explore the more speculative topics, spacecraft which rely on advanced technologies and are many decades away from ever seeing implementation. I stumbled across one such study when I was doing some reading on Pluto the other day.... Continue Reading →

The New Antarctica

Somewhere between the current human presence in the space—zilch, save for three people aboard the ISS—and the most ambitious, wide-eyed, optimistic visions for colonization—Musk's million people on Mars, Bezos' trillions throughout the solar system—there's a middle ground where we work on and explore other planets, but inhabit them only in the same sense that we... Continue Reading →

Space History: The Lunar Orbiters

Post by Nic Quattromani: The Apollo missions, as intrepid as they were, did not venture into wholly uncharted territory. By the time Neil Armstrong famously planted his boots in the lunar soil, a whole fleet of US spacecraft had already explored and mapped out the globe of the Moon in meticulous detail. There were the... Continue Reading →

An Obituary for Kepler

Post by Nic Quattromani: I’ve got some tragic news to share today: NASA’s Kepler space telescope, formerly our premier planet-hunter floating in the sky, has ceased operations. This was not due to any technical failure aboard the craft. Rather, it simply ran out of fuel, rendering it unable to conduct stationkeeping or even orient itself... Continue Reading →

Space News: ICESat-2

Post by Nic Quattromani: You know it’s a breathtaking time to be alive when you can Google “space news” and count on dozens of fascinating results instantly flowing into your browser. One such news story, which escaped my attention because Earth science escapes everybody’s attention, is the recent launch of NASA’s Ice, Cloud, and land... Continue Reading →

The Parker Solar Probe

Post by Nic Quattromani: Well, here’s an interesting bit of space news: the Parker Solar Probe is scheduled to launch tomorrow, on August 11. Thus our brave little space probe shall begin its journey to the hottest place within light-years of here. You see, while previous solar observation probes like Ulysses have been content to... Continue Reading →

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