Robots Beyond Earth Orbit

(Planetary Blogs) – Emily Lakdawalla:

What’s ahead for our intrepid space explorers in 2017? It is with great sadness that I write that this year will be the last for Cassini. But the Saturn orbiter will be sending back spectacular ring science between now and its September end. Also in September, OSIRIS-REx will return to Earth for a flyby, enjoying the opportunity to test out its science suite on our home planet and Moon while getting an assist on to asteroid Bennu. At the end of the year, Chang’e 5 is expected to launch to the Moon to perform a robotic sample return, and there might be a Google Lunar XPRIZE launch or a few. Meanwhile, a ton of other missions continue exploring the solar system from Venus to the Kuiper belt, returning routine science or cruising to new destinations. For a rundown of what’s happening closer to home, read Jason Davis’ post. …

emily-lakdawalla 2016/12301014

Solar System missions 2017-01

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