February 13, 2001 |
Defying tremendous odds, scientists yesterday landed a spacecraft without legs on the surface of an asteroid 196 million miles from Earth and got it to send a beacon home. The spacecraft took close-up pictures of the boulder-strewn surface of Eros 433 as it floated gently down. Cheers rose from the hundreds of people gathered at the site of mission control, the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, when the radio beacon got through. "This is the first time a spacecraft has landed on a small body," said Robert Farquhar, the mission director.
January 19, 1986 |
It has a crude computer that was built before the Apple II. It has one dead radio receiver and one crippled one. It was built to last four to six years, but now it's nine years later and it's chugging along, the little spacecraft that could. It has been modified and coaxed, cajoled and babied, and it has responded, a proud dowager ready for her next performance before the public. That performance will take place later this week, as Voyager 2, which already has visited Jupiter and Saturn, becomes the first spacecraft to fly by Uranus, the seventh planet from the sun and more than 1.8 billion miles from Earth.
October 5, 1997 |
NASA's next mission promises to be more than just a journey to Saturn. Cassini, a $3.4 billion spacecraft to be launched Oct. 13, will make a four-year tour through the hundreds of intricate rings and 18 mysterious moons that surround the distant planet. When it arrives in 2004, the spacecraft will drop a probe onto one of Saturn's moons, Titan, revealing for the first time the surface of this smog-shrouded world, which may harbor volcanoes, oceans, and even the starting materials for life.
August 25, 2004
An Aug. 5 editorial on NASA's Messenger space probe misstated the function of the "gravity assist" the satellite will use on its approach to the planet Mercury. In Messenger's case, the gravity assist is used to slow the spacecraft down.
April 15, 1999 |
Without fanfare, NASA's Terra satellite will roll out of Building 100 of the Lockheed Martin plant in Valley Forge tonight. The NASA spacecraft, flagship of the Earth Observing System project, will be the last to be built at the plant and will send back to scientists the most complete information about Earth yet collected. Its departure will mark the end of an era in the Philadelphia area, once on the cutting edge of aerospace design, since Lockheed Martin has moved its Missiles and Space division to Sunnyvale, Calif.
November 10, 2011 |
MOSCOW - A Russian spacecraft on its way to Mars with 12 tons of toxic fuel is stuck circling the wrong planet: ours. And it could come crashing back to Earth in a couple of weeks if engineers can't coax it back on track. Space experts were hopeful yesterday that the space probe's silent engines can be fired to send it off to Mars. If not, it will plummet to Earth. But most U.S. space debris experts think that the fuel on board would explode harmlessly in the upper atmosphere and never reach the ground.
July 18, 2012 |
Los Angeles Times PASADENA, Calif. - Three weeks from Sunday night, an amiable, whip-smart engineer named Ray Baker will be staring into his computer screen at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, hopeful and helpless - or, as he puts it, "sweating blood. " The night will have been 10 years and $2.5 billion in the making, incorporating the work of 5,000 people in 37 states. And then, 154 million miles from home, the fate of the most ambitious machine humans have sent to another planet will rest on a seven-minute landing sequence so far-fetched it looks like something Wile E. Coyote devised to catch the Road Runner.
September 27, 1999 |
NASA lost a spacecraft last week, but administrator Daniel Goldin will be emphasizing the positive on Wednesday when he speaks at the Franklin Institute on NASA's accomplishments. NASA, under Goldin, has flown some spectacular successes - the repair of the Hubble Space Telescope, the newly launched Chandra X-ray satellite, the Galileo mission to Jupiter, and the Mars Pathfinder and Global Surveyor spacecraft, to name just a few. And there are many more to come, including another Mars landing this December.
August 27, 1989 |
Voyager 2 came as close to Philadelphia yesterday as the Franklin Institute could manage. Using cuts from nine hours of film footage of the spacecraft's approach to Neptune and its moon Triton last week, the Institute's astronomy and education specialists pieced together a 40-minute program that clearly wowed the audience. "When it was launched in 1977, you didn't think much of it," said Otis Davis, 60, a space buff from the city's East Oak Lane neighborhood. "This is only the third time since I was in school that I have visited (the Institute)
September 29, 1991 |
October is Stamp Collecting Month, and the U.S. Postal Service is joining the celebration with a promotion of its own - a booklet of 29-cent commemoratives depicting the universe and spacecraft. The $5.80 booklet of two panes of 10 stamps each will augment this year's theme of "Journey to a New Frontier - Collect Stamps. " First-day ceremonies will be held Tuesday at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. The booklet of stamps features the moon and the nine planets.