InSight lander’s final selfie on Mars shows why its mission is ending

The stationary spacecraft captured the image on April 24 using its robotic arm, which will soon be placed into a final resting position called “retirement pose” this month. In order to take a selfie, the arm has to move several times, and that won’t be possible anymore. “Before losing more solar energy, I took some … Read more

Dust-covered solar panels mean NASA Mars lander’s mission is ending

Due to a decreasing power supply, the mission will cease scientific operations by the end of late summer, said Kathya Zamora Garcia, InSight deputy project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, during a news conference Tuesday. InSight’s solar panels have been increasingly covered in red Martian dust, despite creative efforts by the … Read more

Lunar Landers Could Blast Deposit Instant Landing Pads as They Arrive at the Moon

Artist depiction of a lunar lander utilizes the FAST landing pad deposition technology. Credit: Masten Space Systems Space exploration requires all kinds of interesting solutions to complex problems. There is a branch of NASA designed to support the innovators trying to solve those problems – the Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC). They occasionally hand out … Read more

NASA awards five contracts for lunar landers to follow SpaceX demonstration

Enlarge / A Lockheed Martin concept for a lunar lander. Lockheed Martin NASA is moving ahead with plans to bring competition into the development of landers for its Artemis Moon program. This week, the space agency said it had selected five US companies to conduct additional work toward refining lunar lander concepts to take astronauts … Read more

Lunar Landers Could Spray Instant Landing Pads as They Arrive at the Moon

Space exploration requires all kinds of interesting solutions to complex problems.  There is a branch of NASA designed to support the innovators trying to solve those problems – the Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC).  They occasionally hand out grant funding to worthy projects trying to tackle some of these challenges.  The results from one of … Read more

FAST lets lunar landers make their own landing pads pre-touchdown

Masten Space Systems is working on a way to protect future lunar landers from the regolith thrown up by their engines as they land, by injecting alumina ceramic particles into the rocket engine plume to glue together lunar dust and create their own landing pads just before touchdown. NASA’s goal of returning to the Moon … Read more

China Rover ‘Zhurong’s’ Huge Hole Due to Mars Landing Hints Safety Issue for Big Landers, Scientist Says

The huge hole that the China Rover “Zhurong” bore in Mars after its successful landing hints an alarming safety issue that enormous landers should watch out for. On June 12, a scientist warned that due to the soft composition of the red planet, catastrophic events could occur. (Photo : by NASA via Getty Images)JEZERO CRATER, … Read more