Lunar dust mission still chasing mystery of ‘horizon glow’

Lunar dust mission still chasing mystery of 'horizon glow'

NASA is preparing one last blast for its expired Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft — a controlled crash into the Moon’s surface, probably on 21 April. But before it goes, LADEE will take a final shot at unraveling one of the top mysteries it went to the Moon to uncover.  Read more

NASA’s Deep Impact spacecraft is spinning out of control

NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft is spinning out of control

NASA’s Deep Impact spacecraft is in deep trouble. The craft, famous for blasting a projectile into the Comet Tempel 1 in 2005, lost contact with Earth sometime between 11 August and 14 August. Recent commands to put the craft in hibernation, or safe mode, were unsuccessful and Deep Impact is now spinning out of control, says principal investigator Michael A’Hearn of the University of Maryland in College Park. The mission was renamed Epoxi when it was extended to observe comets and stars with transiting exoplanets.  Read more

Europe launches massive laser communications satellite

Europe launches massive laser communications satellite

On Thursday Europe launched into orbit the most massive telecommunications satellite ever built on the continent. Managed by the European Space Agency and commercial operator Inmarsat, the 6.6-tonne Alphasat will relay data between different spots on the globe—using radio waves in the already crowded L-band frequency range. But it will also test out a laser communication device that could give a boost to space communications.  Read more

Europe picks a neutrino machine

According to a new prioritization, the Neutrino Factory, a proposed multi-billion euro facility, is the best long-term European option for testing whether neutrinos and antineutrinos behave differently, a step toward understanding why the universe contains primarily matter instead of antimatter.  Read more

Dragon soars then stumbles

Dragon soars then stumbles

On Friday at 10:10 a.m. Eastern time, a Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida, the fifth successful launch of this model by SpaceX. Riding the rocket was an unmanned Dragon capsule that detached about ten minutes after liftoff and entered orbit, heading toward the International Space Station (ISS).  Read more