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How things will hopefully go down for the Schiaparelli lander on October 19th. Image: ESA

A joint mission led by the European Space Agency and Roscosmos arrives at Mars next week, and its first order of business will be to make history. If all goes well, NASA is about to lose its bragging rights as the only space agency to successfully land probes on the Red Planet.

ExoMars, an astrobiology mission designed to hunt for signs of geologic and biological activity on Mars, is on track to reach orbit on October 19th. When it arrives, the mission’s… Continue reading

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Eric berger, writing for ArsTechnica: As part of a plan to help NASA "modernize" its desktop and laptop computers, the space agency signed a $2.5 billion services contract with HP Enterprise Services in 2011. According to HP (now HPE), part of the Agency Consolidated End-User Service (ACES) program the computing company would "modernize NASA’s entire end-user infrastructure by delivering a full range of personal computing services and devices to more than 60,000 users." HPE also said the program would "allow (NASA) employees to more easily collaborate in a secure computing environment." The services contract, alas, hasn’t gone quite… Continue reading

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Get Software for Designing Rockets and Piloting Drones, Free From NASA

You can get over 1,000 free programs from NASA, thanks to the second release of NASA’s online software catalog, which debuted last year. The catalogue includes every piece of software that NASA built for itself, ranging from project management and inventory programs to design software for rockets and crewed spacecraft.

“This is all stuff from the past four to five years. A lot of it’s new,” Dan Lockney, program executive for Technology Transfer at NASA, told Gizmodo. “This isn’t like, Apollo guidance systems, that you go ‘Oh, neat, look at the stuff that NASA did! How… Continue reading

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NASA pegs Europa moon lander's mission objectives

With potential oceans flowing below its icy surface, NASA thinks Jupiter’s Europa moon is promising candidate to harbor organic life. As such, the space agency and its JPL laboratory are looking to send a lander there within a decade, and have detailed what it wants it to explore in a new paper. Key goals include measuring the organic content of surface and near-surface chemistry, exploring mineralogy, measuring the thickness and salinity of the oceans and ice, imaging surface formations and looking at microscopic ice and non-ice grains. Researchers also looked at potential landing sites, and were… Continue reading