NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has delivered view of Saturn, taken while the spacecraft was in Saturn’s shadow. The cameras were turned toward Saturn and the sun so that the planet and rings are backlit. This special, very-high-phase viewing geometry lets scientists study ring and atmosphere phenomena not easily seen at a lower phase. Since images like this can only be taken while the sun is behind the planet, this beautiful view is all the more precious for its rarity. The last time Cassini captured a view like this was in Sept. 2006, when it captured a mosaic processed to look like natural color.
Apophis previously known as 2004 MN4, a member of the Aten group of near-Earth asteroids which had been estimated by NASA as having a 1 in 5500 chance of striking the Earth in 2029. Concealing the energy of 65,000 atomic bombs asteroid Apophis with a mass of 50 million tonnes and a diameter of 320 meters will cross the orbit of the moon and rush to the Earth with a speed of 45 thousand miles per hour. In a collision of Apophis might do unseen troubles.
NASA’s NuSTAR mission (a mission to search for black holes in the universe.) is scheduled to launch from Kwajalein Atoll in the central Pacific Ocean on June 13, no earlier than 8:30 a.m. PDT (11:30 a.m. EDT). The observatory, which will hunt for black holes and other exotic objects using specialized X-ray eyes, will be launched from a Pegasus XL rocket carried by an Orbital Science Corporation L-1011 “Stargazer” plane. The plane will take off from Kwajalein Atoll an hour before launch, flying out over the Pacific Ocean.
NASA has narrowed the target for its most advanced Mars rover, Curiosity, which will land on the Red Planet in August. The car-sized rover will arrive closer to its ultimate destination for science operations, but also closer to the foot of a mountain slope that poses a landing hazard. It was possible to adjust landing plans because of increased confidence in precision landing technology aboard the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft, which is carrying the Curiosity rover.
According to state media reports and the country’s human spaceflight agency China will launch its manned mission to an orbiting space laboratory in mid-June. A Long March 2F rocket will launch three astronauts aboard a Shenzhou 9 capsule for China’s first manned space docking at the mini-space station Tiangong-1. The space lab module has been circling Earth unmanned since its launch last year. China’s Shenzhou 9 mission will mark the fourth human spaceflight for the country, which has been making steady advances since the launch of Chinese astronaut Yang Liwei in 2003 on Shenzhou 5, the country’s first human spaceflight.
The American SpaceX company’s Dragon cargo capsule is heading back to Earth having spent a week attached to the International Space Station (ISS). Built by commercial company Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX), the Dragon capsule was detached from the space station by astronauts using the outpost’s robotic arm, which officially released the spacecraft at 5:49 a.m. EDT (0949 GMT). Dragon is the first private spacecraft ever to visit the $100 billion space station.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket roars into space and delivered a Dragon cargo capsule into orbit on May 22, 2012. The launch began an ambitious mission to show that the company is ready to deliver cargo to the International Space Station. As said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden the significance of this day cannot be overstated. While there is a lot of work ahead to successfully complete this mission, the start is good.
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft made its closest approach to Saturn’s tiny moon Methone as part of a trajectory that will take it on a close flyby of another of Saturn’s moons, Titan. The Titan flyby will put the spacecraft in an orbit around Saturn that is inclined, or tilted, relative to the plane of the planet’s equator. The flyby of Methone took place on May 20 at a distance of about 1,200 miles (1,900 kilometers).
An American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts arrived at the International Space Station early on May 17, kicking off a four-month stay aboard the orbiting laboratory. A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying NASA astronaut Joe Acaba and cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin docked with the space station at 12:36 a.m. EDT (0436 GMT) Thursday as the two spacecraft soared 249 miles above the border between Mongolia and Kazakhstan.