On Dec. 3, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency successfully launched its Hayabusa2 mission to rendezvous with an asteroid, land a small probe plus three mini rovers on its surface, and then return samples to Earth. NASA and JAXA are cooperating on the science of the mission.
Autumn Statement: response from the Royal Astronomical Society www.ras.org.uk The UK Government yesterday published its Autumn Statement, which sets out public sector spending plans and expected economic performance. In science, new announcements included an additional commitment of £55m for the European Space Agency, to suppo
At a recent meeting ESO’s main governing body, the Council, gave the green light  for the construction of the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) in two phases. Spending of around one billion euros has been authorised for the first phase, which will cover the construction costs of a fully working telescope with a suite of powerful instruments and first light targeted in ten years time. It will enable tremendous scientific discoveries in the fields of exoplanets, the stellar composition of nearby galaxies and the deep Universe. The largest ESO contract ever, for the telescope dome and main structure, will be placed within the next year.