1999 JU3: It doesn't sound like a very noteworthy name. It's just one of more than 5,000 Apollo-class asteroids. But 1999 JU3 could become a household name if Japan succeeds in mining it—a mission that JAXA has struggled with for decades, often disastrously. And on Sunday, it revealed the probe that could redeem it.
The worst part of going to the doctor's is being poked and prodded with any number of terrifying probes and needles, but you probably haven't seen many of the really scary implements that are out there. Here are 16 crazy ones you probably don't want anywhere near you.
Space buffs take note: A science project called MAPPER is seeking citizen researchers to help aide in the search for off-world life on planets like our close neighbor, Mars.
History, made: The unmanned Dawn spacecraft has successfully entered orbit around Vesta, a massive asteroid some 117 million miles from our planet. This is the first spacecraft to orbit and object in our solar system's asteroid belt. [MSNBC]
Designer Chris Abbas collected a ton of Cassini photography from the Saturn mission and made this video. It is at times simultaneously eerie and awe-inspiring. This is not your father's NASA highlight reel.
It's official: NASA and the ESA will be sending specialized probes to the Jupiter moon Europa to further investigate that icy, ocean-y place for signs of life. In 2020. Patience!
In November, the Cassini probe got very, very close to Hyperion, one of Saturns many moons. These 61 frames comprise a fly-by movie of the moon. Defrost the thing and add some sour cream and it's good enough to eat!
Fact: Space is a freak show. But that link goes to a post about deep space, beyond our solar system. Thanks to the IBEX probe, however, we're quickly learning that our own backyard is rife with the freaky-deaky too.
See that? It might be a dust particle from an asteroid! Or it might be a flake of dried skin from a man in the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency factory that built the Hayabusa probe. No one knows yet.
NASA captured the re-entry of Japan's troubled but still successful Hayabusa probe early this morning over Australia. The payload reportedly ejected without incident and parachuted to earth. What you see here is everything else going to hell (by design):
Martian rovers with wheels are so 2009, man. And they get stuck in the sand way too easily. What we need is an army of tumbleweed beach ball robots surveying hundreds of miles of Martian surface. NASA's on the case.
So that anticlimactic moon bombing NASA attempted the other day may have kicked up a little dust, instead of absolutely nothing as once feared.
Most missions through space are lonely. Solitary probes arc through the solar system, charming us with their photos and data, and eventually—quietly—fade into disrepair, or out of range. But witnessed together, they form something sublime.
Ready for some mystery? The answer is... we don't know!
When the Mars Phoenix Lander touched down on the Martian soil, discovered water ice and microbe-friendly
acidic alkaline soil last month, it was quite a feat-for a human-controlled robot. But what if the robots sent to distant worlds could think for themselves, a la Wall-E and his Apple-esque main squeeze, EVE? NASA's…