NASA has narrowed its choices for a new billion-dollar robotic space mission: A nuclear-powered quadcopter to explore the hazy landscape of Saturn’s largest moon Titan, or a probe to scoop up a piece of a comet and return it to Earth.
The James Webb Space Telescope should start returning its first scientific results by the end of 2019, and scientists recently announced a slate of observations selected to whet the appetites of astronomers who will use the multibillion-dollar facility well into the 2020s.
Two days before its final plunge into Saturn, the Cassini spacecraft turned its camera toward the ringed world to take a series of images for a colour mosaic, capturing a last evocative close-up until a new mission reaches the planet.
NASA announced Thursday it will fund development of a scientific instrument that will fly on Japan’s Martian Moons Exploration mission, a robotic probe set for launch in 2024 to bring back the first samples from Mars’ largest moon Phobos.
Engineers have started testing a new way to use the Curiosity rover’s drill to bore into Martian rocks after a motor in the device stalled late last year, but ground teams are still months away from the first chance to resume drilling operations.