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Waspie_Dwarf

Interplanetary CubeSats Are Go!

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Waspie_Dwarf

Interplanetary CubeSats Are Go!

NASA’s latest Mars probe has a couple of very special hitchhikers

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With a launch window opening in May 2018 the robotic InSight probe is nearly on its way to Mars. If all goes well, in late November 2018 the lander will touchdown on the western side of Elysium Planitia, a broad plane sitting across the martian equator. This spot is about 600 kilometers north of where the Curiosity rover is roaming, and almost due south of the much more northerly location of the 42-year-old Viking 2 lander.

Read More: Scientific American

 

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Waspie_Dwarf

NASA Engineers Dream Big with Small Spacecraft

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Many of NASA's most iconic spacecraft towered over the engineers who built them: think Voyagers 1 and 2, Cassini or Galileo -- all large machines that could measure up to a school bus.

But in the past two decades, mini-satellites called CubeSats have made space accessible to a new generation. These briefcase-sized boxes are more focused in their abilities and have a fraction of the mass -- and cost -- of some past titans of space.

In May, engineers will be watching closely as NASA launches its first pair of CubeSats designed for deep space. The twin spacecraft are called Mars Cube One, or MarCO, and were built at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Read More: NASA

 

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