PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Dawn, Mars Science Laboratory and MESSENGER missions have earned recognition from Popular Science magazine as innovations worthy of the publication's "Best of What's New" Award in the aviation and space category.
Dawn and Mars Science Laboratory are managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Dawn is currently orbiting and exploring the massive main-belt asteroid Vesta. The Mars Science Laboratory and its Curiosity rover launched on Nov. 26 on a journey to the Red Planet, where the rover will look for signs of past or present habitability.
The MESSENGER mission is currently orbiting Mercury.
More information on the award winners is online at: http://www.popsci.com/bown/2011/category/aviation-amp-space .
JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages Dawn and Mars Science Laboratory for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Dawn is a project of the directorate's Discovery Program, managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. UCLA is responsible for overall Dawn mission science. Orbital Sciences Corp. in Dulles, Va., designed and built the spacecraft. The German Aerospace Center, the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, the Italian Space Agency and the Italian National Astrophysical Institute are international partners on the mission team.
Sean Solomon, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, leads the MESSENGER mission as principal investigator. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory built and operates the MESSENGER spacecraft for NASA.