The Philae landing craft touched down on comet on 12 November 2014. It has now been found: it is not located at the convenient site originally selected for its landing, but rather – following a series of three bounces – in a grim and dark environment.
A network of huge fractures covers Utopia Planitia – a buried impact basin measuring 2000 kilometres in the Martian Northern Lowlands, which was the destination of the United States Viking 2 lander in 1976. These surface structures, which are referred to as polygons, would suggest that there was once an ocean here.
The comet lander Philae has been found. The OSIRIS camera on board the Rosetta orbiter took the revealing images of the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 2 September 2016. They show the landing craft lying sideways in a crevasse. Two of the three landing legs are clearly visible.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has finally confirmed the new launch date for the InSight mission, with the first launch opportunity to the Red Planet set for 5 May 2018. The mission was in fact scheduled for launch in March 2016, and land on Mars six months later.
These images, acquired by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC), on board the European Mars Express spacecraft, operated by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), show part of the Meridiani Planum region.
It's hard to say what surprised scientists and engineers the most during the Rosetta mission: the unusual form of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko that earned it the nickname 'Rubber Duck'? The bizarre, unexpectedly varied landscape with fissures, terraces, crevasses, steep cliffs and even dune-like structures?
Space travel is no easy task – first comes the stressful launch with vibrations, then the long flight through the bitter cold and the vacuum. The Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) has been travelling on board the Japanese Hayabusa2 spacecraft for the last one-and-a-half years, and is currently at approximately 65 million kilometres from Earth.
With a length of 600 kilometres and a depth of up to two kilometres, Mawrth Vallis is one of the biggest valleys on Mars and a possible landing site for the ESA ExoMars and NASA Mars 2020 missions. It is entrenched in the Arabia Terra highland, which is more than four billion years old, and ends in the great Chryse Planitia lowland region.
The small containers that are currently being disassembled at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) are rather inconspicuous, yet they may contain organisms that have endured the conditions of space for over 530 days.
On 22 June 2016 at 05:55 CEST, the BIROS (Bi-Spectral Infrared Optical System) microsatellite was successfully launched into space from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in India on board a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).