From an article published on September 30, 2015 at www.space.com:
Colorful new maps of Ceres, charted by NASA’s Dawn space probe, have been unveiled at the European Planetary Science Conference in France. The maps highlight the dwarf planet’s topography and composition, as well as a pyramid-shaped mountain and the Occator crater, where many mysterious bright spots can be found.
Dawn scientists are also discussing three bursts of energetic electrons that have them puzzled. As Dawn principal investigator Chris Russell put it, “Ceres continues to amaze”.
To learn more about the outer Solar System, see Chapter 8 of The Cosmos.
Link to the full article on www.space.com
From a New Scientist article, May 16, 2015:
The United Arab Emirates has announced details of its uncrewed Mars probe, which it plans to launch in 2020 to monitor the planet’s atmosphere from orbit. The spacecraft, named Hope, will be a big step up from the country’s previous space activities as it attempts to compete with other emerging space powers like India and China.
Credit: © Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre
The Mars probe will carry spectrometers for analysing infrared and ultraviolet signals, along with a digital camera. These will measure water, dust and other molecules in the planet’s atmosphere, in an attempt to learn how Mars transitioned from a wet, warm world to the dry, dusty one we see today.
The science goals are similar and complementary to those of MAVEN and MOM, two Mars probes launched last year by NASA and the Indian space agency ISRO.
Link: New Scientist article.
From a news report on Phys.org, April 20, 2015:
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has unveiled the plan for a Moon lander. If successful, Japan will be the fourth country to send an unmanned probe to the moon after Russia, the United States, and China.
JAXA plans to launch the mission as early as 2018, with a development cost estimated at up to 15 billion yen ($126 million). The probe, named SLIM (Smart Lander for Investigating Moon), will be carried by the nation’s solid-fuel “Epsilon” rocket.
Link: Phys.org article.
An uncrewed Chinese lunar probe was launched on October 23, 2014, to fly around the Moon and back to Earth, in an 8-day mission. Called Chang’e 5-T1, it was a test mission in advance of the Chinese 2017 Chang’e 5 mission that is planned to return lunar rocks and soil to Earth. The return capsule of Chang’e 5-T1 landed in Inner Mongolia, on October 31, 2014.
Like its predecessors, the spacecraft is named after the Chinese Moon goddess Chang’e.