A space control center in the UK has been used to test-drive a prototype Mars rover thousands of miles away in Chile’s Atacama desert. Experts at the European Space Agency’s centre in Oxfordshire completed a series of tests across nearly 11,000 km in order to see how the Mars rover reacts to commands across large distances.
During 14 years of intrepid exploration across Mars, it advanced human knowledge by confirming that water once flowed on the red planet - but NASA's Opportunity rover has analyzed its last soil sample. The robot has been missing since the US space agency lost contact during a dust storm in June last year and was declared officially dead on Wednesday, ending one of the most fruitful missions in the history of space exploration.
An international space venture called Satellogic says it will have 90 satellites launched by a Chinese company to create an Earth-observing constellation. The first launch by the China Great Wall Industry Corp. under the newly announced deal, scheduled for later this year, will deliver 13 satellites to low Earth orbit on China’s Long March 6 rocket, Satellogic announced in a news release.
Argentina is launching a new microwave imaging satellite to monitor natural disasters and soil moisture, in a long-term bid to bolster the farm sector, an industry that has historically been the backbone of the country’s economy.
India announced it expected to spend less than 100 billion rupees (US$1.43 billion) on its first manned space mission to be launched by 2022, suggesting it is likely to be cheaper than similar projects by the United States and China.
Scientists have shown through direct satellite observations of the ozone hole that levels of ozone-destroying chlorine are declining. Measurements show that the decline in chlorine, resulting from an international ban on chlorine-containing man-made chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), has resulted in about 20% less ozone depletion during the Antarctic winter than there was in 2005, the first year that measurements of chlorine and ozone during the Antarctic winter were made by NASA's Aura satellite.
Chile has won its bid for the world’s largest telescope to be constructed on its shores. The 42-metre European Extremely Large Telescope will be built in Chile’s north—3,060 meters above sea level on a mountain known as Armazonas.
Many of the world’s largest investments in the field of astronomy can be found in Chile for the same reasons that Cerro Armazones, in the Antofagasta region, may become home to a new telescope that would produce images 15 times shaper than the Hubble telescope.