Scientists from the Space Sciences Department at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science take you "behind the stories," using the best images and animation available to help understand the latest developments.
November 2018 - Steve Lee is our presenter this month. His first story is an in-depth look at the recent landing of NASA spacecraft InSight.
InSight, short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, is a Mars lander designed to study the "inner space" of Mars: its crust, mantle, and core.
The lander launched from Vandenburg AFB on May 5, 2018. After nearly seven-months the spacecraft landed on Mars on Nov. 26, 2018 at 11:52:59 a.m. PT. The entry, descent, and landing (EDL) phase began when the spacecraft reached the Martian atmosphere, about 80 miles (about 128 kilometers) above the surface, and ended with the lander safe and sound on the surface of Mars six minutes later.
Steve's second story for November is a look at the end of two iconic NASA missions: On Oct. 30, 2018, NASA announced the Kepler Space Telescope had run out of fuel after 9 years in deep space.
Data collected during that time revealed our night sky to be filled with billions of hidden planets - more planets even than stars.
Two days later, NASA announced that the Dawn Spacecraft had gone silent. Mission managers concluded that the spacecraft had run out of the hydrazine fuel that allowed it to control its pointing so it could communicate with Earth.
The Dawn spacecraft launched 11 years ago to visit the two largest objects in the main asteroid belt. Currently, it's in orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres, where it will remain for decades.
Steve Lee - Mars InSight Entry, Descent and Landing
Runtime - 44:31
Steve Lee - end of Kepler and Dawn missions
Runtime - 7:12
Links to Steve's stories:
NASA Mars InSight Mission
NASA Retires Kepler Space Telescope
NASA's Dawn Mission to Asteroid Belt Comes to End
To view past 60 Minutes in Space videos visit our YouTube playlist.