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  NASA’s Osiris-Rex space probe has arrived at the asteroid Bennu.  Around 500m wide, Bennu looks sort of like a barbecue briquet floating in space.  In July 2020, Osiris-Rex will bounce off the surface of Bennu to take a sample of the asteroid and return the...

  The mission control engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California cheered when the latest Mars rover landed safely on the red plant.  The robot vehicle is named InSight - a greatly needed abbreviation for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport.   The...

A joint project of Europe’s ESA and Japan’s JAXA, the BepiColombo mission launched on October 19 aboard an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana. The payload will reach Mercury in December 2025, and two units will separate to complete different tasks. The European Mercury Planetary Orbiter...

A Russian Soyuz rocket with American astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin aborted launch two or three minutes after blasting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan when the booster rocket segment failed. Both crewmen survived a 6.7G emergency re-entry without a serious...

Last weekend, the Japanese space agency JAXA’s MINERVA-II1 rover pair separated from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft and landed on an asteroid named Ryugu. The Rover1A and Rover1B autonomous robots are the world’s first mobile exploration rovers to land on an asteroid. The pair took selfies as they...

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine has advised the space agency to build its brand image by selling naming rights to spacecraft and featuring active astronauts in TV advertisements – as if they are celebrities. Bridenstine hopes this branding opportunity can help offset some of the space agency's...

NASA is expected to launch the Parker robotic space exploration craft from Cape Canaveral base in Florida on Saturday morning US time. The spacecraft will skim the surface of the sun, coming closer than any other probe sent on previous missions. Over seven years, the probe...

The CSIRO has announced it is launching a new helium-filled balloon into the Earth’s atmosphere in collaboration with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The space balloon has the capability to reach altitudes of 40km, extending above 99% of the Earth’s atmosphere. Taking off from the...

Space start-up Rocket Lab has launched its first rocket into orbit from New Zealand. The launch, aimed at bringing small devices to space, combines carbon fibre components with 3D-printed engines and costs about US$5m per launch at the company’s own launch pad in the Mahai...

From space, national boundaries vanish. The conflicts that divide people become less important, and the wonder of our 'pale blue dot', and the greater universe increases. In September, audiences in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne will hear more from the perspective of those who have ventured,...

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