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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about MAVEN's launch and mission

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/15 08:11 CST | 13 comments

MAVEN is just about to launch! The mission has just released their launch press kit. This post summarizes the press kit's high points, and hopefully answers most of your questions about NASA's next Mars orbiter, scheduled for liftoff Monday at 10:28 PT / 13:28 ET / 18:28 UT.

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Features at both rover field sites on Mars named for Bruce Murray

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/14 11:51 CST

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced today that the geologists on both Mars rover teams -- Opportunity and Curiosity -- have named landmarks at their field sites after the late Bruce Murray.

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Curiosity Update: A stop at Cooperstown and a warm reset, sols 433-451

Posted by Ken Herkenhoff on 2013/11/14 01:56 CST

Having racked up several kilometers in the drive to Mount Sharp, Curiosity paused for a second science stop at an outcrop called "Cooperstown." While there, the rover performed a software upgrade and then lost a few days to a software anomaly. The rover has now resumed normal science operations.

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ARTEMIS Mission Update

Posted by Jasper S. Halekas on 2013/11/14 12:27 CST

ARTEMIS is a mission that retasked two probes from the 5-spacecraft Heliophysics constellation THEMIS to study the interaction of the Moon with the space plasma environment.

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Just what is going on in that magnificent Cassini image of Saturn?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/13 03:58 CST | 7 comments

It took months of work (and no wonder) but the wait was worth it: here is Cassini's spectacular view of Saturn, captured on July 19, 2013, as Cassini passed through Saturn's shadow. If you're a little confused by the image, I'm here to help: I've posted a video explainer.

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Reviews of space-themed books for children

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/13 10:50 CST

It's time for my annual roundup of reviews of space-themed books for children! I have lots of fiction and nonfiction books to recommend, for toddlers to teens.

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Video: Comet ISON: Super Bright or Super Lame?

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/11/12 02:47 CST | 2 comments

Comet ISON (C/2012 S1) was touted months ago by media as the possible comet of the century. Will it be that, or a cosmic dud? Find out the basics about the in this short video.

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Will We Lose Cassini’s "New" Mission at Saturn to Budget Cuts?

Posted by Van Kane on 2013/11/12 06:26 CST | 5 comments

NASA’s shrinking budgets for planetary exploration may force it to decide between continued funding for the Saturn Cassini mission and the continued funding for its Mars missions.

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Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 5: Blues for a Red Planet
Where Mars stubbornly refuses to be what we desire

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/11/12 02:24 CST | 12 comments

Episode 5 focuses on Mars, the planet that has stubbornly refused to conform to the wishes of humanity for hundreds of years, from Lowell to Sagan. Grab your cosmo and join our discussion of 'Blues for a Red Planet.'

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Mars Orbiter Mission Update: Supplemental burn planned for today

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/11 10:09 CST | 25 comments

Yesterday, the Mars Orbiter Mission was commanded to perform a rocket burn that would have raised the apogee of its orbit around Earth. The spacecraft began its burn, but underperformed. ISRO has planned a supplemental burn for November 12 at 05:00 IST (today at 15:30 PT / 23:30 UT) in order to make up the deficit.

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Science Against the Storm

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2013/11/11 09:07 CST

In the face of disaster, the search for answers and ways to help continues, on the ground and in space.

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A hiccup in the orbital maneuvers for Mars Orbiter Mission

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/10 10:06 CST | 7 comments

The Mars Orbiter Mission completed its first, second, and third of six planned maneuvers in Earth orbit successfully last week. However, the fourth maneuver, conducted on Sunday at 12:36 PST / 20:36 UTC / Monday 02:06 IST, failed to lift the apogee of the orbit as high as planned.

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We Need You to Stand Up for Planetary Exploration
Right now is a crucial time for future funding

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/11/08 12:39 CST | 1 comments

Congress and the White House are making decisions that impact funding for NASA's Planetary Exploration missions. We need to tell them that YES we are paying attention and care about the future of exploration.

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MAVEN has arrived at the launch pad

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/08 12:14 CST | 3 comments

As India's Mars Orbiter Mission continues to pump up the altitude of its orbit around Earth, NASA's MAVEN is making final preparations for its direct-to-Mars launch. All is proceeding acccording to schedule toward its November 18 launch at 1:28 EST / 10:28 PST / 18:28 UTC.

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"How do I get that lovely pin?" you may ask...

Posted by Bill Nye on 2013/11/07 05:57 CST | 5 comments

Tonight, I'm on The Big Bang Theory with Bob Newhart. I hope you watch closely enough to notice the pin in my lapel. It's our pin, The Planetary Society logo pin. It's the coolest logo pin ever. So, you're probably wondering how to get one. Join The Planetary Society by November 15, and we'll send you a pin.

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Neptune: The new amateur boundary?

Posted by Christophe Pellier on 2013/11/07 05:39 CST | 3 comments

Can features on Neptune be observed by amateur astronomers? For years, the Hubble Space Telescope and some professional terrestrial observatories have been revealing incomplete belts and spots on the surface of Neptune. Now, spots have been imaged by amateurs.

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Europe Bypasses Solar System for Upcoming Science Missions

Posted by Van Kane on 2013/11/06 08:44 CST | 3 comments

The European Space Agency has selected two astrophysics observatories as its next large science missions, overlooking every proposed planetary mission. ESA's current selection of planetary missions, however, means it will still be a major player in solar system exploration for the next two decades.

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Mars Orbiter Mission update: first apogee-raising burn completed

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/06 02:11 CST | 15 comments

When the Mars Orbiter Mission launched yesterday, it launched into Earth orbit. The Mars Orbiter Mission must perform several rocket burns in order to increase its orbital altitude before departing for Mars. The first burn was completed successfully just minutes ago.

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The solar eclipse in Africa seen from space

Posted by Vitaliy Egorov on 2013/11/05 11:35 CST

On Sunday, the shadow of the Moon passed across Africa and the Atlantic Ocean. This was the last solar eclipse of the year. The Elektro-L satellite was able to observe the eclipse, and we can see the darkness of the lunar shadow covering Africa.

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Planetary Radio: Looking for Intelligence in a Flash
The All-Sky OSETI Search Gets Even Better

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/11/05 10:58 CST | 1 comments

An update on the Planetary Society's improved Optical SETI search, with Harvard's Paul Horowitz and Curtis Mead.

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