Missions to Moon, Mars, Mercury & More Set for 2018

This artist’s concept shows the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft passing by Earth. (Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/University of Arizona)

Updated with SpaceX’s Red Tesla launch.

An international fleet of spacecraft will be launched in 2018 to explore the Moon, Mars, Mercury and the Sun. Two sample-return spacecraft will enter orbit around asteroids while a third spacecraft will be launched to search for asteroids that contain water that can be mined.

NASA will also launch its next exoplanet hunting spacecraft in March. And the space agency will ring in 2019 with the first ever flyby of a Kuiper Belt object.

And, oh yes, Elon Musk is launching his car in the direction of Mars.
(more…)

Space Weather Blackout Could Cost U.S. $40 Billion Per Day

Artist illustration of events on the sun changing the conditions in Near-Earth space. A new study finds daily U.S. economic cost from solar storm-induced electricity blackouts could be in the tens of billions of dollars. (Credit: NASA)
Artist illustration of events on the sun changing the conditions in Near-Earth space. A new study finds daily U.S. economic cost from solar storm-induced electricity blackouts could be in the tens of billions of dollars. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON, DC (AGU PR) — The daily U.S. economic cost from solar storm-induced electricity blackouts could be in the tens of billions of dollars, with more than half the loss from indirect costs outside the blackout zone, according to a new study.

(more…)

Russia to Build India’s Lunar Lander/Rover; ISRO Aims for Mars, Sun

After the Moon, ISRO Aims for the Sun
ITExaminer.com

Riding high on the success of Chandrayaan-I, ISRO plans to launch Chandrayaan-2 in 2012. Chandrayaan-2 will be launched on India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV). The mission has been allocated a budget of $86.6 million (Rs 425 crore). Chandrayaan-2 will comprise a lander and a robotic rover, which will soft land on the moon. The robot will take samples from the lunar surface for analysis and will transmit the data back to the earth.  ISRO has already signed a pact with the Russian federal space agency (Roskosmos) for the mission. According to the pact, Roskosmos will be responsible for the Lander/Rover.

(more…)