CivilDeep Space

NASA Extends New Horizons Through Late 2020s

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, hurtling through space in the outer solar system, just got a new lease on life. The agency announced Friday that it will be extending the mission until the late 2020s. “The New Horizons mission has a unique position in our solar system to answer important questions about our heliosphere and provide […]

CivilDeep Space

Independent Review Board Finds Mars Sample Return Unrealistic

On Thursday, an independent review board at NASA deemed the Mars Sample Return (MSR) program ineffectively designed and managed, problems that will force the ambitious mission to miss its budget and schedule targets.  Down to Earth: NASA’s plan to return samples from the Red Planet for analysis on Earth is already underway. The agency’s Perseverance […]

Deep SpaceInternational

ESA Livestreams from Mars

20 years after launch, ESA’s Mars Express orbiter is still notching new achievements. On Friday, the spacecraft broadcast the first ever livestream from Mars. Previous space missions—including Neil Armstrong’s step seen ’round the world during Apollo, and last year’s DART mission to bump an asteroid off its course—have provided the public with live imagery from […]

Deep Space

The Emirates Mission to the Asteroid Belt

The UAE unveiled plans on Sunday to send a spacecraft to explore the asteroid belt by 2028, a follow-on to the emerging space nation’s ambitious Mars mission currently orbiting the Red Planet.  The Emirates Mission to the Asteroid Belt, or EMA, will study six asteroids before reaching its final destination: a mysterious red asteroid that […]

Deep Space

Payload Presents: Mars Madness

In March Madness, your bracket can be busted by an unexpected upset, leaving your dream of predicting the perfect outcome in shambles. On expeditions to Mars, outcomes are equally unpredictable, with a mission’s fate resting on anything from a software glitch to a cosmic dust storm to a mix-up between metric and imperial units.  Today, […]

CivilDeep SpaceMilitary

Unpacking NASA, Pentagon Space FY 24 Budget Requests

As we noted last Friday, the White House has requested $27.2B for NASA next year. That’d represent a 7%—or $1.8B—increase over the 2023 enacted level.  Updated timetable: The agency’s FY 2024 Budget Request presentation gives top billing to the agency’s presence in LEO, from the ISS through CLD; establishing a “sustainable” lunar presence; and further […]

CivilDeep Space

NASA Enters the Metaverse

Last week, NASA released a new crowdsourcing competition to build out a virtual reality (VR) Mars simulator. The agency would be able to use the simulator to prepare astronauts for the various scenarios they may encounter on a mission to the Red Planet. The competition: Participants are given access to a pre-constructed digital world that […]

Deep SpaceMoonScience

Blue Origin Plans Interplanetary Initiatives

Blue Origin is opening up about some of its latest interplanetary work. Last week, the Washington company announced two science initiatives supporting humanity’s efforts to push outward into the cosmos. On Thursday, NASA awarded Blue Origin a contract to provide launch services for the ESCAPADE mission to study the magnetosphere of Mars. And on Friday, […]