This Day in Space History: One Small Step

Note: This is an updated article from 2012. “That’s one small step for a man… one giant leap for mankind.” I’m not sure what else need be said about the significance of what happened on this day in 1969 other than it was a shining moment in human history, and will be — should be…

Here’s What It Would Look Like to Land on Pluto’s Heart

What would it look like to approach Pluto for a landing? Perhaps some day in the future a robotic mission will do exactly that and we’ll know for sure, but for now we have to use our imaginations…luckily we do have some incredible images of Pluto to help with the details, thanks to NASA’s New…

SpaceX Nails Another Landing at Sea—This Time in the Pacific!

  Today, January 14, 2017, SpaceX achieved another commercial launch success with the delivery of ten Iridium satellites to orbit—the first of 70 that will comprise the next generation IridiumNext constellation—as well as a new milestone in its ongoing trek toward reusable launch capability: the first successful landing of a Falcon 9 first-stage booster on…

Revisit Our First (and Only) Landing on Titan

When you think of spacecraft landings on other worlds, you probably first think of Mars, the Moon, Venus, and comet 67P (if you’ve been following along over the past couple of years.) But—in addition to the asteroid Eros and hard impacts on a comet and Mercury—Saturn’s moon Titan was also visited by an alien (i.e.,…

NASA Astronaut Returns to Earth After Historic “Year in Space”

With a smile and an energetic thumbs-up, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly exited the Soyuz TMA-18M capsule shortly after landing on the remote steppe of Kazakhstan at 10:26 p.m. Central time March 1, 2016. It was the return of the Expedition 46 crew, which included Russian cosmonauts Sergey Volkov and Mikhail Kornienko, the latter of whom shared…

Space Is Hard, and So Are the Decks of Drone Ships

On Tuesday, April 14, SpaceX launched its Dragon cargo vehicle aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, sending over two tons of supplies up to the crew of the ISS. While the launch was a success and everything went smoothly for Dragon’s CRS-6 mission (despite a single day’s launch delay due to weather) the…

Remembering Huygens’ Titan Landing, Ten Years Later

This incredible image was captured ten years ago today, on January 14, 2005. It shows the murky surface of Saturn’s moon Titan as seen by the European Space Agency’s Huygens probe after it made its historic descent through the moon’s thick haze and clouds and landed in a frozen plain of crusty methane mud and icy pebbles….

Seven Days Out: ESA’s Historic Landing on a Comet is Just a Week Away

In less than a week, on November 12, 2014, the Philae lander will separate from ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft and descend several kilometers down to the dark, dusty and frozen surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Its three spindly legs and rocket-powered harpoon are all that will keep the 100-kilogram spacecraft from crashing or bouncing hopelessly back out…

Happy First Year on Mars, Curiosity!

Sol 669 is here (well, there… on Mars that is…) and that marks the one full year anniversary of Curiosity’s mission exploring Gale Crater! Wait, you say, didn’t Curiosity land on Mars in August of 2012? Shouldn’t we still be approaching the TWO-year anniversary of the MSL mission? Well, yes, here on Earth, but on…

This Day in Space History: One Small Step

Note: Reposted/updated article from 2012. “That’s one small step for a man… one giant leap for mankind.” I’m not sure what else need be said about the significance of what happened on this day in 1969, 44 years ago… it was a shining moment in human history, and will be — should be — remembered…

Curiosity’s Landing Video in Mind-Blowing HD

This is awesome! The full-resolution images taken by Curiosity’s Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) instrument have been downloaded and assembled into a high-def video of the rover’s descent and landing on Mars. From the heat shield falling away to the final, dust-blown touchdown in Gale Crater via sky crane, we finally get a good look at…