Mars rovers, helicopters, and sunsets

ESA and NASA will team up for the next Mars rover. The Rosalind Franklin rover is set to be Europe’s first on Mars, but it has been stalled ever since a collaboration with Russia fell apart following the invasion of Ukraine. Now, NASA has agreed to pick up the slack by providing launch capabilities and components of the spacecraft’s landing and heating systems. Planned to touch down in 2029, Rosalind Franklin will drill deep into the Martian soil to look for signs of past life. Image credit: ESA.


After 60 years, NASA’s first Black astronaut candidate has finally made it to space. Ed Dwight, an Air Force pilot who was recommended — but passed over — for NASA’s astronaut corps in the 1960s, reached space at last as a passenger on a private mission instead. Blue Origin’s New Shephard spacecraft took Dwight and five others on the suborbital flight. Along the way, Dwight broke William Shatner’s record as the oldest person ever to visit space.

India’s next Mars mission could feature a helicopter. Officials from the country’s space agency have revealed that Mangalyaan-2 will not only aim to land on Mars, but also deploy a rover and a helicopter. This combination echoes NASA’s Mars 2020 mission, which brought both the Perseverance rover and the Ingenuity helicopter to the red planet. Mangalyaan-2 currently lacks a launch date, but if successful, the mission would make India the fourth country to ever soft-land on Mars.


The Artemis Accords have expanded to 40 countries. First established in 2020, the statement of principles regarding space exploration has rapidly been taken up by a broad coalition of international partners.

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