Tag Archives: CubeSats

This Engine Could One Day Save Us From Planetary Disaster

by Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics

Didymos, a 2,650-foot-wide asteroid, has an atypical cosmic companion— a 535 foot-wide satellite named Didymoon (10). These new two celestial bodies are not making a dangerous rendezvous with Earth, but they do provide an interesting opportunity for an apocalyptic dress rehearsal.

NASA and ESA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) will head to Didymos, to knock Didymoon off course. Along with its six picture-snapping Italian Space Agency cubesats, the mission will also send a follow-up ESA spacecraft named Hera to definitively answer if we can manipulate the trajectory of Earth-bound asteroids.

Continue reading This Engine Could One Day Save Us From Planetary Disaster

These two tiny spacecraft will help pave the way for astronauts to return to the moon

by Elizabeth Howell, Space.com

If NASA astronauts land on the moon as planned in 2024, they’ll have an advantage their Apollo predecessors lacked: insights gathered by tiny robotic spacecraft that visit the moon before them.

NASA has announced the first two such projects selected to fly as part of the Artemis program to land astronauts on the moon: Lunar Flashlight and the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE). The missions represent the next step for the small spacecraft, known as cubesats, which became available for Earth orbit in the 1990s as electronics and sensors shrank to allow bread-box-sized (or slightly larger) satellites to perform scientific work. Since then, cubesats have become so powerful that they are used regularly for Earth observations. And the first interplanetary cubesats successfully flew to Mars in 2018 with the NASA InSight mission, so the spacecraft are becoming hardy enough for deep-space missions.

Continue reading These two tiny spacecraft will help pave the way for astronauts to return to the moon