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What's up in planetary missions in 2014

Emily Lakdawalla • December 31, 2013 • 4

With the New Year upon us, what can we look forward to in 2014? For me, the main event of 2014 is that ESA's Rosetta mission finally -- finally! -- catches up to the comet it has been chasing for a decade. We will lose LADEE, gain two Mars orbiters, and launch Hayabusa2. The year begins with an amazing 24 spacecraft exploring or cruising toward various planetary destinations.

2013: An OSIRIS-REx Retrospective

Dante Lauretta • December 31, 2013

2013 is drawing to a close, providing a nice opportunity to reflect on the outgoing year and look back at some of the highlights that we have experienced. Here are my top-20 OSIRIS-REx moments of this past year.

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spies Chang'e 3 and Yutu

Emily Lakdawalla • December 30, 2013 • 4

As promised, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's sharp eyes spotted the Chang'e 3 lander and Yutu rover on the lunar surface on December 25. The hardware shows up as a few bright pixels throwing long, dark shadows, clearly visible in a before-and-after comparison.

The Mercury Transit You Probably Missed

Karl Battams • December 30, 2013 • 2

Planetary transits of the Sun by Mercury and Venus don't come along very often, and when they do we make a big deal of it because, well, it's really cool!

Snow balls in space

Mike Brown • December 29, 2013 • 4

I don’t get much snow in southern California, but I do spend a lot of my time thinking about college snowball experiences and about the snowball fights that have made the objects of the outer solar system.

NASA’s New Planetary Mission Woes

Van Kane • December 27, 2013 • 2

NASA’s planetary science program depends on regular missions to solar system bodies to gather data. A combination of budget cuts and previous commitments to develop missions currently in the pipeline means that development of follow on missions may slow to a crawl. Van Kane looks at the current situation and NASA’s plans and then look at options the agency may consider if budgets remain tight into the next decade.

Hangout on Air Friday, December 27 14:00 UT: Student Astronaut 10th Reunion

Emily Lakdawalla • December 27, 2013

When Spirit and Opportunity landed in 2004, I was with the science team in charge of a group of high-school students called the Red Rover Goes to Mars Student Astronauts. We're coming up on the 10th anniversary of the landings -- what have those "kids" grown up into?

Asteroid Minerva finds its magical weapons in the sky

Franck Marchis • December 26, 2013

The International Astronomical Union has chosen the names Aegis and Gorgoneion for the two moons of the asteroid (93) Minerva. We decided to crowd-source the names, catching the attention of the public. Over the following year, I received a lot of emails with suggestions

Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 9: The Lives of the Stars

Casey Dreier • December 24, 2013 • 3

This episode highlights the other big idea in Cosmos: that we are profoundly connected with the universe around us. Our constituent parts are forged in the bellies of massive stars; we exist through their deaths.

Planetary Radio: Ten Years A Roving: The Mars Exploration Rovers

Mat Kaplan • December 24, 2013

This week's show looks back over ten years of exploration by Spirit and Opportunity. Writer A.J.S. Rayl recounts the challenges encountered early in the mission, and how an outstanding team triumphed.

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