Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A computer-generated image depicting the Dawn spacecraft's current position above asteroid Vesta.
NASA / JPL - Gregory J. Whiffen

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Just thought I’d provide this sort-of-brief status update on two intriguing robotic missions flying out in deep space. The Dawn spacecraft is only 121 miles above asteroid Vesta...having entered this very low orbit (also known as a Low Altitude Mapping Orbit, or LAMO, in NASA parlance) around the rocky, 330-mile-in-diameter body on December 12. The Curiosity Mars rover is now 5.5 million miles (8.9 million kilometers) from Earth, and 97.2 million miles (156.3 million kilometers) from the Red Planet...having traveled 53.1 million miles (85.4 million kilometers) through space since its launch on November 26. Curiosity—cocooned inside the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft—is cruising at a speed of 71,213 mph (114,582 kph). It still has 296.3 million miles (477 million kilometers) to go before arriving at the Red Planet on the night of August 5, 2012 (Pacific Daylight Time).

Just thought I’d share a bunch of random numbers with ya.

A computer-generated image depicting the Curiosity Mars rover's current position out in deep space.
NASA / JPL - Solar System Simulator v4.0

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