Solar System Exploration Division (690) Press Releases & Feature Stories Archive

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NASA's OSIRIS-REx Completes Final Tour of Asteroid Bennu

Early this morning, April 7, 2021, NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission completed its last flyover of near-Earth asteroid Bennu. OSIRIS-REx, with its pristine and precious asteroid sample cargo, will remain in the vicinity of Bennu until May 10, when it will fire its thrusters and begin its two-year cruise home.

NASA's Lucy Stretches Its Wings in Successful Solar Panel Deployment Test

NASA???s Lucy spacecraft has successfully completed thermal vacuum testing of both solar panels, the final step in checking out these critical spacecraft components in preparation for launch this fall. Once the Lucy spacecraft???s solar panels attached and fully extended, they could cover a five-story building.

NASA's Curiosity Team Names Martian Hill That Serves as Mission 'Gateway'

The team of scientists and engineers behind NASA's Curiosity rover named a hill along the rover's path on Mars in honor of a recently deceased mission scientist.

NASA OSIRIS-REx's Final Asteroid Observation Run

On Apr. 7, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will get one last close encounter with Bennu as it performs a final flyover to capture images of the asteroid's surface.

NASA's Lucy Spacecraft Gets a Lift

Seen in the photo, the nearly fully assembled, the 13-foot tall Lucy spacecraft is lifted back to its dolly as the Lockheed Martin team in Denver, Colorado, continues production.

Newly Named Asteroids Reflect Contributions of Pioneering Astronauts

Twenty-seven asteroids have been named in honor of African American, Hispanic, and Native American astronauts, and one cosmonaut, who have helped expand our horizons beyond Earth and to inspire the next generation of space explorers.

Serendipitous Juno Spacecraft Detections Shatter Ideas About Origin of Zodiacal Light

A team of Juno scientists argues that Mars may be the source of the dust behind the zodiacal light.

How Were the Trojan Asteroids Discovered and Named?

On Feb. 22, 1906, German astrophotographer Max Wolf helped reshape our understanding of the solar system. He discovered the first of a small body of asteroids trapped in Jupiter's orbit. No spacecraft has ever been to this population of small bodies, called the Trojan asteroids. The Lucy mission, launching this year, will be the first.

Teaching an Old Spacecraft New Tricks to Continue Exploring the Moon

In the Spring of 2018, a critical sensor on LRO used to help point the spacecraft’s instruments was powered off to preserve its remaining life after exhibiting signs of decline due to natural aging in the harsh environment of space. This limited the ability to reorient (slew) the spacecraft for science purposes. To get LRO slewing again, NASA engineers developed a new algorithm that can estimate LRO’s speed of rotation by fusing star-tracker measurements together with other information available from LRO’s flight computer.

NASA Study: To Find an Extraterrestrial Civilization, Pollution Could Be the Solution

If there's an advanced extraterrestrial civilization inhabiting a nearby star system, we might be able to detect it using its own atmospheric pollution, according to new NASA research.

NASA's First Mission to the Trojan Asteroids Installs its Final Scientific Instrument

With less than a year to launch, NASA's Lucy mission's third and final scientific instrument has been integrated onto the spacecraft.

NASA's OSIRIS-REx to Fly a Farewell Tour of Bennu

On April 7, NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission will give asteroid Bennu one last glance before saying farewell.

Could the Surface of Phobos Reveal Secrets of the Martian Past?

Martian ions have been smashing into the surface of Phobos and could be preserved in its uppermost layer, according to scientists.

NASA's MAVEN Continues to Advance Mars Science and Telecommunications Relay Efforts

MAVEN is ready to provide support for the arriving Perseverance rover and continue studying the Martian atmosphere.

NASA's Artemis Base Camp on the Moon Will Need Light, Water, Elevation

Scientists and engineers are helping NASA pick the precise location of the Artemis Base Camp.

NASA's Artemis Base Camp on the Moon Will Need Light, Water, Elevation

Scientists and engineers are helping NASA pick the precise location of the Artemis Base Camp.

The Naming of Tooley Crater

Tooley crater is a 7 km crater in a permanently shadowed region of Shoemaker crater near the lunar south pole.

NASA's OSIRIS-REx Mission Plans for May Asteroid Departure

On May 10, NASA???s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft will say farewell to asteroid Bennu and begin its journey back to Earth.

Heliophysics Hackweek 2020 Coronal Holes Team Publishes Results at NeurIPS 2020

Helio Hackweek 2020 “Coronal Holes” team members and other hackweek participants continued their collaboration and published a paper and poster of their results at the 34th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems. “SEARCH: SEgmentation of polAR Coronal Holes,” was published at the Machine Learning and the Physical Sciences Workshop.

NASA's First Mission to the Trojan Asteroids Integrates its Second Scientific Instrument

NASA's Lucy mission is one step closer to launch as LTES, the Lucy Thermal Emission Spectrometer, has been successfully integrated on to the spacecraft.

NASA Discoveries, R&D, Moon to Mars Exploration Plans Persevere in 2020

"NASA has impressed the nation with our resilience and persistence during the pandemic," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

NASA Highlights New Findings, Upcoming Missions at Virtual AGU Meeting

ASA and researchers from around the world will present new findings on a wide range of Earth and space science topics at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), Dec. 1-17, held virtually this year.

NASA Goddard’s AI Center of Excellence Connects Scientists and Engineers to the Latest Advances in Artificial Intelligence

The mission of the AI Center of Excellence is to enable new AI techniques for scientific discovery, providing scientists within NASA Goddard and their partners beyond NASA with resources for increased collaboration, innovation, and co-learning.

Key Building Block for Organic Molecules Discovered in Meteorites

Scientists from Japan and NASA have confirmed the presence in meteorites of a key organic molecule which may have been used to build other organic molecules, including some used by life. The discovery validates theories of the formation of organic compounds in extraterrestrial environments.

Dark Storm on Neptune Reverses Direction, Possibly Shedding a Fragment

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope watched a mysterious dark vortex on Neptune abruptly steer away from a likely death on the giant blue planet.

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