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Blog Archive

 

Two epic photos of Earth -- but which one is truer?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/12/29 05:19 CST | 1 comments

Two images of Earth taken from different spacecraft at the same time illustrate differences in "true" color imaging among spacecraft.

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ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli lander travel safely to Baikonur

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/12/28 03:14 CST | 3 comments

Europe's second mission to Mars has begun its journey from its birthplace in Cannes to its planned arrival at Mars on October 19. Since December 17 we've been able to watch every step of its journey via Twitter.

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Pretty Pictures of the Cosmos: Distant Galaxies

Posted by Adam Block on 2015/12/24 01:24 CST

Astrophotographer Adam Block shares stunning his images of far-away spiral galaxies.

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InSight's Problems: Possible Impacts

Posted by Van Kane on 2015/12/23 08:57 CST | 4 comments

Van Kane details the potential repercussions of the launch delay of InSight Mars lander on the rest of NASA's Discovery mission program.

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For the first time ever, a Curiosity Mastcam self-portrait from Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/12/22 06:17 CST | 1 comments

In a remarkable and wholly unexpected gift to Curiosity fans, the rover has just taken the first-ever color Mastcam self-portrait from Mars.

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NASA's Next Mars Mission Delayed for Two Years
One of its main scientific instruments could not maintain a vacuum

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2015/12/22 04:46 CST | 1 comments

A problem with the French space agency's seismometer instrument will delay NASA's InSight Mars lander by two years.

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December solstice: Viewing Earth's seasonal shifts from space

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/12/22 10:12 CST | 2 comments

It's fun to watch the seasons shift from space, and as of this year we have new ways to do that.

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SpaceX Falcon 9 Returns to Flight, Sticks Landing at Cape Canaveral

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/12/21 08:43 CST | 2 comments

SpaceX returned its Falcon 9 rocket to flight with flair tonight, successfully deploying 11 communications satellites after returning the rocket's first stage to Cape Canaveral for an upright landing.

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Pluto updates from AGU and DPS: Pretty pictures from a confusing world

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/12/21 05:38 CST | 7 comments

Pluto is reluctant to give up its secrets. Last week at the American Geophysical Union meeting I attended sessions featuring results from the New Horizons mission, and most of the presentations could be summed up thusly: the data sets are terrific, but there are still a lot of Pluto features that have scientists scratching their heads.

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Spacewalkers Unstick Cart ahead of Cargo Ship Arrival

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/12/21 12:05 CST

NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra successfully completed a spacewalk to free a stuck Mobile Transporter cart outside the International Space Station.

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Curiosity stories from AGU: The fortuitous find of a puzzling mineral on Mars, and a gap in Gale's history

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/12/18 05:51 CST | 1 comments

Yesterday at the American Geophysical Union meeting, the Curiosity science team announced the discovery of a mineral never before found on Mars. The finding was the result of a fortuitous series of events, but as long as Curiosity's instruments continue to function well, it's the kind of discovery that Curiosity should now be able to repeat.

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Rail-riding ISS Cart Jams, Prompting Contingency Spacewalk Plans

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/12/18 12:07 CST

A rail-riding cart weighing nearly a metric ton jammed while moving along the International Space Station's exterior yesterday, prompting ground controllers in Houston to prepare for an unscheduled spacewalk.

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OSIRIS-REx Completes Mechanical Environmental Testing

Posted by Dante Lauretta on 2015/12/18 08:03 CST | 2 comments

The OSIRIS-REx team successfully and safely completed sine vibration (sine vibe) testing on the spacecraft prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. The sine vibe tests are designed to verify the system performs as expected after being exposed to flight-like low frequency vibration input.

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[Updated] An Extraordinary Budget for NASA in 2016
Congressional omnibus increases the space agency's budget by $1.3 billion

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2015/12/18 08:00 CST | 14 comments

Congress's plan to fund the U.S. government in 2016 includes a stellar $1.3 billion increase for NASA over last year, nearly $730 million above the President's request.

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LightSail Program Wraps Busy Year with Test Readiness Review

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/12/17 11:52 CST

On Monday, LightSail engineers and mission managers met at The Planetary Society's Pasadena, California headquarters to prepare for a rigorous suite of spacecraft tests that are expected to begin in January.

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Our Global Volunteers: December 2015 Update

Posted by Kate Howells on 2015/12/17 08:03 CST | 2 comments

As 2015 wraps up, The Planetary Society celebrates yet another year of public outreach.

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Worth the wait: First public release of Rosetta science camera images of comet 67P

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/12/17 12:30 CST | 4 comments

Finally! It has been a long wait, but so worth it: the Rosetta OSIRIS science camera team has delivered the first pile of data from the rendezvous with comet 67P to ESA's Planetary Science Archive. I have spent a good chunk of the last three days playing with the data, and it's spectacular.

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New Crew Arrives at ISS following Docking Drama

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/12/15 07:41 CST | 1 comments

Following a picture-perfect launch and some last minute docking drama, Tim Kopra, Tim Peake and Yuri Malenchenko arrived safely to the International Space Station today.

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Planetary Deep Drill Field Test: Road Trip

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2015/12/14 11:32 CST

The Planetary Deep Drill is being tested in a California gypsum mine. Several Planetary Society staff took a road trip to visit the ongoing Honeybee Robotics test of this prototype robotic drill that could one day drill hundreds of meters into planetary ices.

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A Rosetta OSIRIS picture of comet 67P that's only hours old

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/12/11 10:22 CST | 2 comments

ESA announced today a new website at which the OSIRIS team will now be releasing images on a regular basis -- at least one per week -- and they will be recent. Even better news, all OSIRIS data taken through September 16, 2014 has been handed to ESA and its release is expected next week.

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