Latest Lander Stories

2007-07-10 20:29:50

CAMDEN, Ark. (AP) - Two students and a teacher from Camden Fairview High School will be one of 13 teams from around the country to study with scientists during NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander expedition. Students Katie de France, 16, and Buck Lucas, 17, along with biology teacher Pam Vaughan, were selected to participate in the Phoenix Student Intern Program and help determine the best location for the robot to land and find water. Scientists hope to gain insight into whether Mars ever sustained...

2007-07-09 16:50:28

WASHINGTON - NASA's next Mars mission will look beneath a frigid arctic landscape for conditions favorable to past or present life. Instead of roving to hills or craters, NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander will claw down into the icy soil of the Red Planet's northern plains. The robot will investigate whether frozen water near the Martian surface might periodically melt enough to sustain a livable environment for microbes. To accomplish that and other key goals, Phoenix will carry a set of advanced...

2007-07-04 00:00:00

LOS ANGELES -- NASA said Tuesday it is recycling two used spacecraft to lead new robotic missions to study comets and planets around other stars. The encore performances of the Deep Impact and Stardust probes allow the space agency to further its solar system exploration for a fraction of the cost it would take to start a mission from scratch. Both spacecraft successfully completed their primary missions to two different comets and their discoveries have helped scientists understand how the...

2007-06-20 08:53:11

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Gusting winds and the pulsating exhaust plumes from the Phoenix spacecraft's landing engines could complicate NASA's efforts to sample frozen soil from the surface of Mars, according to University of Michigan atmospheric scientist Nilton Renno. Set to launch Aug. 3 from Florida, the $414 million Phoenix Mars Lander will use descent engines to touch down on the northern plains, where vast stores of ice have been detected just below the surface. A robotic arm will scoop...

2007-02-01 17:55:00

By ALICIA CHANG LOS ANGELES (AP) - Scientists are scrambling to find an alternative landing site for a long-armed robot set to launch this summer on a mission to dig into Mars' icy north pole to search for signs of primitive life. The original landing spot was nixed after images beamed back by the eagle-eyed Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter unexpectedly showed scores of bus-sized boulders littered over old crater rims on flat plains. The gigantic rocks pose a danger to NASA's Phoenix Mars lander,...

2006-12-04 19:15:00

New images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show three additional NASA spacecraft that have landed on Mars: the Spirit rover active on the surface since January 2004 and the two Viking landers that successfully reached the surface in 1976. The orbiter's high-resolution camera took a dramatic photograph of Spirit's twin rover, Opportunity, at the edge of a Martian crater two months ago. Besides providing new portraits of these robotic emissaries, the images provide scientists valuable...

2006-11-29 15:30:00

This month the team working on ESA's Rosetta mission have been particularly busy. Activities are underway to set the spacecraft's trajectory and prepare the on-board instruments ready for the next major mission milestone: the swing-by of planet Mars in February 2007. Since its launch in March 2004, Rosetta has been bouncing around the inner solar system on a trajectory that will eventually lead it to its final destination in the first half of 2014 "“ comet 67P...

2006-10-18 08:35:00

Could all of the asteroids, comets, and planets in our Milky Way galaxy be made of a similar mix of dusty components? After analyzing the dust particles of a variety of comets with NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, the Deep Impact spacecraft, and the internationally funded Infrared Space Observatory, Dr. Carey Lisse, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., suspects that the answer is yes. "Comets are the stepping stones to planets," said Lisse. "With these...

2006-07-25 12:46:55

An unexpected radio reflection from the surface of Titan has allowed ESA scientists to deduce the average size of stones and pebbles close to the Huygens' landing site. The technique could be used on other lander missions to analyse planetary surfaces for free. When Huygens came to rest on the surface of Titan on 14 January 2005, it survived the impact and continued to transmit to the Cassini mothership, orbiting above. Part of that radio signal 'leaked' downwards and hit the surface of Titan...

2006-07-24 16:20:13

The answer to the question about life on Mars may very well come from analyzing an unsuspecting source - the soil, specifically the icy layer of soil underneath the red planet's surface. By analyzing the properties of Mars frozen layer of soil during NASA s next lander mission, scientists will be able to better understand and theorize about life on Mars. A synopsis of the project was presented by Douglas R. Cobos on Monday, July 10, 2006, during the 18th World Congress of Soil Science in...

Word of the Day
  • A 'bachelor seal'; a young male seal which is prevented from mating by its herd's older males (mated bulls defending their territory).
This comes from the Russian word for 'bachelors.'