Related topics: nasa · international space station · mars · earth · space

Things are stacking up for NASA's Mars 2020 spacecraft

For the past few months, the clean room floor in High Bay 1 at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, has been covered in parts, components and test equipment for the Mars 2020 spacecraft, scheduled for ...

Earth vs. asteroids: humans strike back

Incoming asteroids have been scarring our home planet for billions of years. This month humankind left our own mark on an asteroid for the first time: Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft dropped a copper projectile at very high ...

Spacecraft

A spacecraft is a craft or machine designed for spaceflight. On a sub-orbital spaceflight, a spacecraft enters space then returns to the Earth. For an orbital spaceflight, a spacecraft enters a closed orbit around the planetary body. Spacecraft used for human spaceflight carry people on board as crew or passengers. Spacecraft used for robotic space missions operate either autonomously or telerobotically. Robotic spacecraft that leave the vicinity of the planetary body are space probes. Robotic spacecraft that remain in orbit around the planetary body are artificial satellites. Starships, which are built for interstellar travel, are so far a theoretical concept only (aside from a handful of interstellar probes such as Pioneer 10 and 11, Voyager, and New Horizons).

Spacecraft are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, earth observation, meteorology, navigation, planetary exploration and space tourism. Spacecraft and space travel are common themes in works of science fiction.

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