"Spirit, the untiring robotic "wonder child" sent by NASA to explore the eerily earthlike fourth planet from the sun, has completed one martian year--that's almost two Earth years--on Mars. Designed to last only 90 martian days (sols), the six-wheeled marvel the size of a golf cart has pursued a steady course of solar-driven geologic fieldwork, bringing back some 70,000 images and a new understanding of Mars as a potential habitat."
Space & Planetary Science: November 2005 Archives
"Hayabusa - Japan's asteroid explorer - didn't quite land on Itokawa this weekend, failing in its first attempt to touch down and snatch a sample. But it did successfully deliver a target marker to the surface of the asteroid. Even though the team still doesnt know exactly why their "falcon" did not land on the surface, they are vowing to give it another go in coming days."
Editor's note: Emily Lakdawalla at the Planetary Society is blogging on the progress of Japan's Hayabusa spacecraft as it tries to land on an asteroid today. The mission seems to have run into some problems.
"The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) is charging the Boeing Co. with circumventing critical safety regulations in an attempt to meet launch deadlines for NASA's plutonium powered New Horizons mission. The Machinists Union represents striking technicians at Boeing's launch facility at Cape Canaveral, FL."
"During a visit to LSU earlier this month, Charles Elachi, director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, announced that an asteroid had been named for O'Keefe, putting him on a list that includes the likes of Connery, Beethoven and the others. He also presented O'Keefe with a plaque signifying the official designation of Asteroid 78905 as Asteroid Seanokeefe."
NASA Ames will head up robotic moon missions, SJ Mercury News
"Ames will take charge of an orbiter and lander that are under construction at other centers, as well as two to three future missions whose details have not been determined, said Christopher McKay, the program scientist at Ames. Although the budget for these programs totals about $400 million a year, he said, much of that money will be handed out to other centers that are building the hardware, and Ames will initially gain only about a dozen jobs."
"Preliminary indications pointed to a problem with the delicate maneuvers behind MINERVA's deployment."
NASA downsizes, slows Dawn mission to near halt, Pasadena Star News
"Chris Russell, the mission's principal investigator and a professor of geophysics at UCLA, said he was shocked by NASA's recent request that Dawn "stand down." "They basically said that we should slow down or almost stop the development while they decide to take a look at it and make an investigation," Russell said. "They got concerned by the number of problems that they saw that we were having."
"At 07:00 CET Monday, the Venus Express mission clock began ticking down to Wednesday's launch. The excitement at ESOC and particularly in the Main Control Room is palpable as launch preparations get under way."
"Participation is open to all scientists/engineers involved in Mars exploration, including international colleagues. Since this is a 'working' meeting, it is not open to members of the press, however, if there is interest we can make people available for interviews afterwards."
Editor's note: Once again, NASA's Mars community is (apparently) afraid to hold its meeting in full view of the public.
"Using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to view the ninth planet in our solar system, astronomers discovered Pluto may have not one, but three moons."