astronomy

With Dusty Solar Panels, InSight's Days on Mars Are Numbered

With Dusty Solar Panels, InSight’s Days on Mars Are Numbered

While InSight’s pair of solar panels, each one shaped like a decagonal (10-sided) pie, efficiently provide solar power to the lander, dust has always been its Achilles’ heel. While dust storms come by frequently—though not as intensely as portrayed in The Martian—they emerge more often during the summer, says Raymond Arvidson, a planetary scientist at …

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NASA's Psyche Spacecraft Heads to Cape Canaveral

NASA’s Psyche Spacecraft Heads to Cape Canaveral

In 2011, Lindy Elkins-Tanton and a couple of colleagues wrote a paper exploring ideas about how tiny would-be planets called planetesimals might have formed billions of years ago, and speculated about whether their remnants might still orbit in the asteroid belt. Afterwards, officials at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California approached her. “Would you …

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