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Mars 2020 rover on track for launch next July

31 July 2019 Stephen Clark

The launch of NASA’s Mars 2020 rover is less than a year away, and the steady pace of work inside the craft’s pristine assembly hall in California is keeping the mission on schedule for liftoff from Cape Canaveral next July, despite growing costs, according to mission managers.

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Japanese spacecraft snags second sample from asteroid

11 July 2019 Stephen Clark

Scientists celebrated another success with Japan’s Hayabusa 2 spacecraft late Wednesday (U.S. time), when the robot explorer accomplished a second pinpoint touch-and-go landing on asteroid Ryugu, this time to collect a sample of pristine dust and rock excavated by an explosive impactor earlier this year.

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Hayabusa 2 cleared for second touchdown on asteroid

5 July 2019 Stephen Clark

Ground teams have approved plans for Japan’s Hayabusa 2 sample return mission to briefly land on asteroid Ryugu for the second time on 11 July, aiming for a targeted touch-and-go to gather material exposed by an explosive impactor released by the robot explorer in April.

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Japanese probe lands on asteroid to capture sample

24 February 2019 Stephen Clark

Japan’s Hayabusa 2 spacecraft briefly landed on an asteroid Thursday more than 200 million miles from Earth and fired a bullet to scoop up a rocky sample, successfully accomplishing one of the mission’s most challenging manoeuvres before returning the asteroid specimen to scientists on the ground in December 2020.

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Live coverage: New Horizons returns first close-up image

30 December 2018 Stephen Clark

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft made a historic New Year’s encounter with an object nicknamed Ultima Thule in the Kuiper Belt a billion miles beyond Pluto. The probe passed around 3,500 kilometres from the mysterious object at 0533 GMT on New Year’s Day, making it the most distant Solar System body ever explored up close.