Ion drive space engine used on aircraft for first time

Imagine an aircraft engine that has no moving parts, produces no harmful exhaust and makes no noise. That's what researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US have created by adapting a technology ...

Image: SMART-1's crash site

This greyscale, mottled image shows a patch of the moon's surface, and features an intriguing shape towards the top of the frame. This was actually made by a spacecraft – it marks the final resting place of ESA's SMART-1 ...

Dawn mission to gather more data in home stretch

As NASA's Dawn spacecraft prepares to wrap up its groundbreaking 11-year mission, which has included two successful extended missions at Ceres, it will continue to explore—collecting images and other data.

Ion propulsion—the key to deep space exploration

When we think of space travel, we tend to picture a massive rocket blasting off from Earth, with huge blast streams of fire and smoke coming out the bottom, as the enormous machine struggles to escape Earth's gravity. Rockets ...

Dawn holding in second mapping orbit

NASA's Dawn spacecraft is healthy and stable, after experiencing an anomaly in the system that controls its orientation. It is still in its second mapping orbit 2,700 miles (4,400 kilometers) above dwarf planet Ceres.

The revolutionary ion engine that took spacecraft to Ceres

The NASA spacecraft Dawn has spent more than seven years travelling across the Solar System to intercept the asteroid Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres. Now in orbit around Ceres, the probe has returned the first images and ...

NASA spacecraft nears historic dwarf planet arrival

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has returned new images captured on approach to its historic orbit insertion at the dwarf planet Ceres. Dawn will be the first mission to successfully visit a dwarf planet when it enters orbit around ...

Dawn spacecraft begins approach to dwarf planet Ceres

(Phys.org)—NASA's Dawn spacecraft has entered an approach phase in which it will continue to close in on Ceres, a Texas-sized dwarf planet never before visited by a spacecraft. Dawn launched in 2007 and is scheduled to ...

Dawn operating normally after safe mode triggered

(Phys.org) —The Dawn spacecraft has resumed normal ion thrusting after the thrusting unexpectedly stopped and the spacecraft entered safe mode on September 11. That anomaly occurred shortly before a planned communication ...

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