National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Lunar and Planetary Science

What's New in Lunar & Planetary Science

China launched the Queqiao lunar relay satellite and two microsatellites on 21 May at 5:28 a.m. local China Standard Time (20 May, 21:28 UTC, 5:28 p.m. EDT). Queqiao will go into a halo orbit around the L2 Earth-Moon Lagrange point and act as a relay for the Chang'e 4 lunar farside lander.

The Mars InSight lander launched on 5 May at 11:05 UT (7:05 a.m. EDT, 4:05 a.m. PDT). InSight will land on Mars on 26 November 2018 and make surface measurements for one martian year. For more, see the 5 May 2018 NASA Press Release.

Pluto's largest moon, Charon, has been given is first official IAU feature names, honoring real and fictitious explorers and visionaries. The features were identified in images returned by the New Horizons spacecraft. For more, see the 11 April New Horizons news release.

Launch of the Chandrayaan 2 mission to the Moon has been delayed until the first week of October to allow time to complete mission tests. Launch of the orbiter, lander, and a six-wheeled lunar rover from Satish Dhawan Space Center in India was originally scheduled for April 23.

This Day in Planetary and Lunar Exploration History

July 22

Venera 8 lands on Venus and transmits data back to Earth.
The last fragment of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 collides with Jupiter.

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