It looks like ARCA, the Romanian entrant in the Google X-Prize Lunar Lander challenge, will make the first flight to space. Lofted to 18k by balloon, a mock up of the European Lunar Lander the team proposes to use will be taken the rest of the way to space by a booster. The team is looking to make the effort in the next three months.
Also newsworthy: four new entrants into the challenge have been announced.
NASA's image of the day is of the Phoenix Mars Lander settled near the northern pole, four days into its mission.
Having discovered in 2002 large amounts of subsurface water ice in this area, the lander will dig beneath the surface to retrieve soil and water ice for on-board analysis.
The disk in the picture contains the names of a quarter million people.
GLAST has a launch date of next Tuesday, June 2. The telescope is now on the launch pad atop a Delta II rocket. The space-borne observatory
"will open a wide window on the universe through the study of Gamma rays, the highest-energy form of light. GLAST data will enable scientists to answer persistent questions across a broad range of topics, including supermassive black-hole systems, pulsars, the origin of cosmic rays, and searches for signals of new physics."
GLAST could help scientists get closer to answering what Dark Matter is made of. A more complete list of the science that this instrument will undertake is here.
Above right, workers add the payload fairing around the observatory in preparation for launch.
Photo credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann
The Delphi CubeSat project has posted a couple of recent videos, one of the satellite assembly and one of the first signals received from its successful launch. The video of the cube's assembly is below.
All of the videos from Delphi can be seen on its YouTube channel. Thanks Tyler for passing them a long!
Space Prizes provides a list of Google X-Prize videos on YouTube that haven't shown up on the official X-Prize Foundation web site.
[Cross-posted from the IdeaFestival weblog] Beginning late last month, a collection of truly stunning images from the doughty spacecraft Cassini went on display at the American Museum of Natural History.
Saturn and Dione are pictured above. For much different look at the same two bodies, check out this image.
Aside from dropping titan-sized hints about the relative prevalence about organics in our solar system and elsewhere - as well as leaving a treasure trove of images, of course - the mission has been ho-hum.
Image credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute