Lunar and Planetary Science at the NSSDCA

Lunar and Planetary Science

What’s New in Lunar & Planetary Science

mission made its first sampling test run (the “checkpoint rehearsal) on April 14, drifting down
within 65-75 meters of asteroid Bennu before backing off to its 100 km orbit.

The ESA BepiColombo
Mercury mission made a flyby of Earth on 10 April. It used this opportunity to make observations of the
Earth-facing side of the Moon. Closest approach was at 04:25 UT at an altitude of about 12,700 km.

The European Space Agency has announced that, in part due to effects of the COVID19 pandemic,
the launch of the ExoMars 2020 mission – now designated
ExoMars 2022 –
will be delayed until the next Mars launch opportunity in 2022.

Four proposals have been selected as finalists for the next one, or possibly two, Discovery missions:
DAVINCI+, a Venus atmospheric probe; IVO, the Io Volcano Observer; TRIDENT, a Triton flyby; and

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Planetary Science Institute

funky science story hour 2

PSI Senior Scientist David Grinspoon is offering kids stuck at home and unable to attend school due to COVID-19 a weekly chance to learn about science – while having fun. 

Grinspoon, also known as Doctor FunkySpoon, is offering his Funky Science Story Hour live on Wednesdays at 3 p.m. on Grinspoon’s Facebook page at  For more information on Funky Science Story Hour visit 

The Science Hour, designed for cool kids and immature parents, allows participants to pose questions ahead of time that Grinspoon answers. 

Participants can ask Grinspoon anything about science, and some of the queries have been very interesting. 

“Kids ask the best questions, and over time I try to show how all the answers are connected,” Grinspoon said. “On the first episode one kid asked why the sky is blue, so I riffed a little about the nature of light, and how the air is made

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