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Hayabusa 2 successfully launched on December 3, 2014 at 04:22 UTC, and embarked on its interplanetary journey about two hours later. During the launch, cameras captured video of the spacecraft fairing separation.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2014/12/03 12:13 CST
Last month, the Earth's longest-lived and most traveled robot on another planet drove into a network of fractures the likes of which the scientists had never seen before on Mars and wound up working there through the end of the month – and then something not completely unexpected happened.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/12/02 10:54 CST
Hayabusa 2's H-IIA rocket has just reached its launchpad! Japan's next asteroid sample return mission was supposed to launch this weekend, but weather has not been good at the Tanegashima launch site and it has been delayed four days already. If the weather holds, it will launch December 3 at 04:22 UT (13:22 JST, or December 2 at 20:22, PT). UPDATED to add links to live webcasts.
Posted by Van Kane on 2014/12/01 07:39 CST
With the release of the official Announcement of Opportunity (AO) early in November, NASA has officially begun the competition to select its next low cost ($450M) Discovery program planetary mission. Because planetary scientists are free to propose missions to any destination in the solar system other than the sun and Earth, these competitions bring out the creativity in the planetary science program.
Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2014/12/01 02:14 CST
Mat Kaplan gives his take on the stunningly beautiful short film that's been making the rounds on the internet, "Wanderers," by Erik Wernquist.