Shop Windows to the Universe

Our Glaciers: Then and Now activity kit helps you see the changes taking place in glaciers around the world. See all our activity kits and classroom activities.
In 1991 the Galileo spacecraft photographed the asteroid, Gaspra. This picture shows the asteroid in false color. Gaspra circles the Sun between Mars and Jupiter.
Click on image for full size
NASA/JPL

Japan And U.S. Join Together for Asteroid Expedition
News story originally written on June 20, 1997

The first asteroid collection mission has been set. Japan and the United States will put joint efforts into the MUSES-C mission to be launched in January 2002 from Kagoshima Space Center, Japan. This will allow the spacecraft to arrive at the NEREUS asteroid in September 2003.

Nereus is a small asteroid approximately one mile in diameter. It was discovered in 1982. At its closest point to the Sun, its orbit takes it just inside the orbit of the Earth.

The MUSES-C spacecraft contains a miniature robotic rover that will conduct surface measurements of the rocky asteroid. The rover weighs less than 2.2 pounds. It is to date the smallest ever flown in space. Asteroid samples will also be taken during the mission and will be returned in January 2006 by a parachute-borne recovery capsule.

This mission is extremely important. If successful, it will grant Earth-bound scientists first-hand information about the materials that helped form the inner, rocky planets more than four billion years ago. Isotopic measurements of the asteroid samples may even unlock information about cosmological beginnings.

Dr. Jurgen Rahe, director of Solar System Exploration at NASA headquarters expressed excitement about the mission by saying, "This ambitious mission is an opportunity for two spacefaring nations to combine their expertise and achieve something truly fantastic."

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, as well as books on science education!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

1999--A Year in Review...

It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more

STS-95 Launch: "Let the wings of Discovery lift us on to the future."

The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center at 2:19 p.m. EST, October 29th. The sky was clear and the weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit for the Unitied...more

Moon Found Orbiting Asteroid

A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more

U.S. is Fed Up with Russia

Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials are demanding an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting...more

More on Recent Coronal Mass Ejection

During a period of about two days in early May, 1998, the ACE spacecraft was immersed in plasma associated with a coronal mass ejection (CME). The SWICS instrument on ACE, which determines unambiguously...more

Mother Nature's Air Conditioning

J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service has referred to forests as the "heart and lungs of the world." Forests reduce soil erosion, maintain water quality, contribute to atmospheric humidity and cloud...more

Planetary Alignment 2002

In late April through mid-May 2002, all five naked-eye planets are visible simultaneously in the night sky! This is includes Mercury which is generally very hard to see because of its proximity to the...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA